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Maatschappelijk onbehagen en burgerlijke boosheid

Tijdschrift Bestuurskunde, Aflevering 4 2017
Trefwoorden societal unease, pessimism, political discontent, angry citizens, emotions
Auteurs Prof. dr. Paul Dekker
Samenvatting

    In recent narratives about the negative mood of the Dutch, ‘societal unease’ and ‘angry citizens’ seem to be concepts that are directly linked: angry behaviour is the manifestation of deep feelings of unease. Is it that simple? In this contribution, I use the Citizens’ Outlook Barometer (COB) to investigate unease and anger, and their relationship. The spread of unease in today’s Netherlands is outlined quantitatively using indicators for strong societal pessimism and political discontent (a complex of negative attitudes towards national politics and globalization). The approach to anger is more exploratory. Anger is definitely not the most dominant feeling that pessimists are aware of, but their explanations of why the country is heading in the wrong direction do often reveal anger. Interviewing ‘angry citizens’ suggests that they are not ‘angry people’ in general, but that their anger is limited to politics and social issues, and is sometimes instrumental (‘you have to express yourself angrily to be heard’). This civic anger can be important both in addressing injustice in politics and as a source of action. It is better to approach anger as a topic in its own right rather than to frame it as an expression of unease.


Prof. dr. Paul Dekker
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