Good Citizens and the Common Good: Expectations, Everyday Efforts and Scopes of Responsibility

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 20:30
Oral Presentation
Claudia VORHEYER, University of Zurich, Switzerland
The presentation is based on a survey focusing on the common good, which took place in Switzerland in 2015 and 2017 and consists of a representative sample. As a central part of the study, the respondents evaluate - from their own perpective and experience - national and international operating companies, governmental as well as civil society organisations regarding their public value, meaning their contributions to the greater good. Amongst others, the population is also asked about their own possibility of contributing to the society as a whole. As a matter of fact, 95 of 100 respondents believe that the citizens can make significant contributions to the good for all through their behavior. The qualitative part of the data – in form of a substantial amount of often even extended and detailed comments made in response to an open question – reveals that people are not only convinced they are able to, but also, more in-depth, how they put effort into it in everyday life. Moreover, in the light of the statements it becomes apparent which role the citizens ascribe to themselves as well as to other social actors and sectors in society, such as the economy and the state, and who they account responsible for what. Their comments express, explicitly as well as implicity, the ways in which people interviewed understand themselves as citizens in the 21st century, what does it mean to them to be a «good» citizen, and last but not least, what is the sense of their social and political membership and feeling of belonging in a globalised world.