Methodological aspects of research on the determinants of citizens’ attitudes towards state power


The article examines sociological perspectives of the study of the factors of citizens’ attitudes towards the state power. Attitudes towards state power are defined as the reactions of individuals to the activities of various authorities, which are contingent on their political, economic and socio-cultural preferences as a consequence of social stratification in a particular society. The analysis of theoretical approaches to the determination of citizens’ attitudes towards power institutions has identified socioeconomic, structural and value-ideological factors. The impact of these determinants depends on the scope of authority. Structural and value-ideological factors play a key role in dealing with central authorities. Attitudes towards local authorities are more determined by socioeconomic motives, since people are mostly rational in their assessment of the activities of mayors, local councils, local administrations. Declining support for incumbent government is exacerbated by the emergence of alternative political forces in the mass consciousness that embody solutions to socio-economic problems or profess close values and political aspirations. The experience of empirical studies on the perception of political institutions by Ukrainians shows that social transformations in their temporal gravity have caused different configurations of the determinants of attitudes to state power. At the initial stage of social transformation in Ukraine, an ideological factor was crucial when attitudes towards power institutions were driven by support for market reforms or the pursuit of state paternalism. At the same time, the influence of structural factors – regional distribution, ethno-cultural and geopolitical orientations – became evident, which in the subsequent stages became more decisive. Repeated or monitoring studies reveal both the specific bursts of certain factors in certain years and the persistence and reproducibility of the determinants of attitudes toward government.

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