, Volume 32, Issue 3, pp 124-160

Democracy in Spain: Legitimacy, discontent, and disaffection

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Abstract

This article examines changes in perceptions of democracy in Spain over the last two decades. A variety of empirical indicators gleaned from numerous surveys are used to distinguish between democratic legitimacy and political discontent, as well as between this (which includes the well-known indicator of dissatisfaction with the way democracy works) and political disaffection. The article traces the different ways in which these attitudes have evolved in Spain over the last twenty years, and demonstrates that they belong to different dimensions. It also includes the results of two tests showing that these two sets of attitudes are conceptually and empirically distinct: a factor analysis confirms the distinct clustering of the indicators at the, individual level, whilst cohort analysis identifies different patterns of continuity and change across generations.

José Ramón Montero is Professor of Political Science at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. He obtained his doctorate in Law at the Universidad de Santiago and has taught, at the Universities of Granada, Santiago, Zaragoza, Cádiz and the Universidad Complutense de Madrid. He has been Visiting Professor at the Universities of Harvard, California at Berkeley, and Ohio State University, as well as Secretary and Dean of the School of Law, Universidad de Cádiz, and Deputy Director of the Centro de Investigaciones Sociológicas.
Richard Gunther is Professor of Political Science at Ohio State University. He has a Ph.D. in Political Science from the University of California at Berkeley, and is co-Chair of the Subcommittee on Southern Europe of the Social Science Research Council.
Mariano Torcal is Assistant Professor of Political Science at the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid. He holds a doctorate from the Universidad Autónoma de Madrid and a Ph.D candidacy in Political Science from the Ohio State University. He has been a Visiting Professor in the Department of Political Science at the Univeristy of Michigan, and Visiting Fellow at the Kellogg Institute for International Studies, Notre Dame University.