In this chapter, I explore twelve explanations for the growth in disenchantment with the way that politics is practised in democracies (see Table 3.1). The first common way of explaining the rise of disenchantment is based on the idea that there has been some sort of structural shift in societies that in turn has impacted on the processes of politics. Three variations around this theme are examined. The first is premised on the idea that societies have got thinner or weaker in terms of their civic organizations and sense of togetherness as citizens have withdrawn to their homes, their TVs and new technology. The second is similar in its concerns but looks to the rise of the consumer society as the main factor in explaining a lost capacity for citizenship. The third variation in this group takes a rather different line and focuses on how increased inequality in societal income, education and wealth has led to the increased exclusion of groups from the political process.
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