'Everybody's entitled to their own opinion': Ideological dilemmas of liberal individualism and active citizenship

Susan Condor*, Stephen Gibson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

56 Citations (Scopus)


Conversational interview accounts were used to explore everyday understandings of political participation on the part of young white adults in England, Analysis focussed on dilemmatic tensions within respondents' accounts between values of active citizenship and norms of liberal individualism. Respondents could represent community membership as engendering rights to political participation, whilst also arguing that identification with local or national community militates against the formulation of genuine personal attitudes and rational political judgement. Respondents could represent political participation as a civic responsibility, whilst also casting political campaigning as an illegitimate attempt to impose personal opinions on to others. Formal citizenship education did not appear to promote norms of political engagement but rather lent substance to the argument that political decision-making should be based on the rational application of technical knowledge rather than on public opinion or moral principle. In conclusion we question whether everyday understandings of responsible citizenship necessarily entail injunctions to political action.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-140
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Community and Applied Social Psychology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2007


  • Citizenship
  • Ideological dilemmas
  • National identity
  • Political expertise
  • Political participation
  • Public opinion
  • Voting

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Social Psychology
  • Sociology and Political Science


Dive into the research topics of ''Everybody's entitled to their own opinion': Ideological dilemmas of liberal individualism and active citizenship'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this