Exploring Political Interest as a Multidimensional Concept
Riddle, George Isaac
A politically interested citizenry is vital to a healthy democracy and an informed society. Political interest is highly correlated with important expressions of political engagement, such as voting or taking part in a political discussion, as well as seeking out knowledge about politics. Despite these vital linkages, scholars disagree over what actually constitutes political interest. Scholars have variously defined political interest as one’s attentiveness to political matters, an intrinsic motivation, a feeling of concern or curiosity, or treat political interest synonymously with political involvement. Unsurprisingly, these disparate definitions have produced a diverse array of operations to measure the concept. This study argues that political interest is a multi-dimensional concept and employs a multi-method approach to investigate those dimensions. The results indicate political interest is an umbrella term with two distinct dimensions: enjoyment and motivation. The thesis concludes by discussing implications for future political science research.
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