Comparative Politics

Evaluations and Perceptions of political incivility



Incivility in public discourse has become a central concern. This research develops an approach based on citizens' perceptions of incivility in order to assess predictors of such perceptions. Starting from an articulation of the concept that can be easily translated into operational terms, we identified five types of incivility (discursive, vulgar, informative, violent and discriminatory) that together constitute political incivility in a multidimensional sense. Through a survey of a representative sample of the Italian population, we found that citizens' perception of incivility is not uniform, but varies depending on the context and individual characteristics (socio-demographic variables, news consumption and relationship with politics). On the whole, the importance of disentangling the concept into different types has emerged, because continuing to speak of “incivility” in a broad sense does not help to clarify the nature of the phenomenon nor to identify the consequences reflected on the front of citizens' relationship with politics.


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