Channelling discontent? Non-voters, populist party voters, and their meaningful political agency
This article assesses the assumption that populist parties form an efficacious exhaust valve for voters, the channelling discontent thesis, as it is termed here. Drawing on in-depth interviews with Dutch PVV voters and (deliberate) non-voters, I assess this thesis in a comparison between them. This analysis shows that non-voters do not lack political fulfilment on two of the three dimensions of efficacy I distinguish. On the third, it is not electoral participation, but respondents’ perceptions of the locus of political power that explains differences in what I term ‘meaningful’ political agency. This inductively generated power-orientation theory contextualises the channelling discontent thesis, demonstrating that it only effectively applies to those citizens who share the definition of the situation the thesis assumes. I argue that these findings highlight an institutional blind spot in the study of populism and political discontents, and make a case for a cultural-sociological perspective.
|Keywords||Cultural sociology, in-depth interviews, political discontents, political efficacy, political participation, populism|
|Persistent URL||dx.doi.org/10.1080/23254823.2017.1339203, hdl.handle.net/1765/109661|
|Journal||European Journal of Cultural and Political Sociology|
Kemmers, R. (2017). Channelling discontent? Non-voters, populist party voters, and their meaningful political agency. European Journal of Cultural and Political Sociology, 4(4), 381–406. doi:10.1080/23254823.2017.1339203