Popular Understandings of Politics in Britain, 1937-2015


The Good Politician: Folk Theories, Political Interaction, and the Rise of Anti-Politics

By Nicholas Clarke |

Today, our new book is published by Cambridge University Press (see www.cambridge.org/9781108459815).

The Good Politician

Here is the blurb from the back cover:

Surveys show a lack of trust in political actors and institutions across much of the democratic world. Populist politicians and parties attempt to capitalise on this political disaffection. Commentators worry about our current ‘age of anti-politics’. Focusing on the United Kingdom, using responses to public opinion surveys alongside diaries and letters collected by Mass Observation, this book takes a long view of anti-politics going back to the 1940s. This historical perspective reveals how anti-politics has grown in scope and intensity over the last half-century. Such growth is explained by citizens’ changing images of ‘the good politician’ and changing modes of political interaction between politicians and citizens. Current efforts to reform and improve democracy will benefit greatly from the new evidence and conceptual framework set out in this important study.

Many thanks to Colin Hay for this endorsement:

“It is not at all easy to write an important book on such an important topic. But that is precisely what we have here – and, reassuringly, it is both an optimistic book and one strongly grounded in the empirical evidence. It should be required reading for all politicians – good and not so good alike – and for all of us invited periodically to choose between the good and the not so good amongst them.”


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