From the Folk Theory to Symbolic Politics: Toward a More Realistic Understanding of Voter Behavior

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations

Abstract

Christopher Achen and Larry Bartels’s Democracy for Realists makes a persuasive case that standard theories of democracy rest on shaky empirical ground, and that optimistically interpreted empirical findings about public competence do not save the day. However, I argue that the solution does not lie with theories of elite competition or accountability to other institutions. Instead, I turn to theories of symbolic politics. These theories capture the empirical reality of how voters engage with politics and make decisions. While they tend to emphasize human irrationality, they also contain the potential for a symbolic kind of rationality that could provide a solid foundation for democratic politics.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)107-118
Number of pages12
JournalCritical Review
Volume30
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 3 2018

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Political Science and International Relations
  • Literature and Literary Theory

Keywords

  • Christopher Achen
  • group identity
  • Larry Bartels
  • Murray Edelman
  • social identity
  • symbolic politics

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'From the Folk Theory to Symbolic Politics: Toward a More Realistic Understanding of Voter Behavior'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this