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When Perceived Official Terror Drives People out of Politics: A Systemic Analysis of Political Alienation in the Context of Authoritarian Democracy

The paradox of political alienation as a social and scientific phenomenon is that, if on the social level it has remained a topical subject, perceptible through many citizens’ non-participation in formalized political activities, on the scientific level, on the other hand, it has experienced a long period of hibernation over several decades. Despite the recent revival of academic interest in this construct, methodological and theoretical gaps are perceptible. These relate respectively to the absence of a standardized instrument allowing it to be evaluated and to the fact that the data available until then, and which underlie the theoretical propositions on this construct, have been exclusively collected in democratic contexts, excluding authoritarian contexts, within which citizens’ disaffection for political activities is nevertheless a remarkable fact. This research aims to fill these gaps, through two studies carried out in Cameroon; an authoritarian democracy where institutional authoritarianism generates, among populations, a model of behavior consistent with the manifestations of political alienation. Study 1 (N= 1184) proposes a psychometric measure to assess individuals’ tendencies towards political alienation. The data collected provide satisfactory empirical evidence of its factorial and confirmatory structure, internal consistency, as well as convergent and discriminant validity. Study 2 (N= 513) focuses on the link between perceived official terror and political alienation. It provides support for the hypothesis that perceived official terror generates political alienation in the context of authoritarian democracy. The theoretical and empirical implications of political alienation in the context of authoritarian democracy are discussed.

Political Alienation, Political Inefficacy, Political Distrust, Authoritarian Democracy, Perceived Official Terror, Cameroon

Achille Vicky Dzuetso Mouafo, Willy Taffo Nemboué, Gustave Adolphe Messanga. (2023). When Perceived Official Terror Drives People out of Politics: A Systemic Analysis of Political Alienation in the Context of Authoritarian Democracy. Psychology and Behavioral Sciences, 12(6), 88-98.

Copyright © 2023 Authors retain the copyright of this article.
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