Anxious Politics

Anxious Politics: Democratic Citizenship in a Threatening World 

Co-Winner, 2016 Robert E. Lane Award for best book in political psychology, American Political Science Association

Emotions matter in politics – enthusiastic supporters return politicians to office, angry citizens march in the streets, a fearful public demands protection from the government. Anxious Politics explores the emotional life of politics, with particular emphasis on how political anxieties affect public life. When the world is scary, when politics is passionate, when the citizenry is anxious, does this politics resemble politics under more serene conditions? If politicians use threatening appeals to persuade citizens, how does the public respond? Anxious Politics argues that political anxiety triggers engagement in politics in ways that are potentially both promising and damaging for democracy. Using four substantive policy areas (public health, immigration, terrorism, and climate change), the book seeks to demonstrate that anxiety affects how we consume political news, who we trust, and what politics we support. Anxiety about politics triggers coping strategies in the political world, where these strategies are often shaped by partisan agendas.

  • The authors use multiple experiments to test the effects of anxiety on politics so the reader sees a variety of approaches
  • Using studies that rely on threatening campaign ads and threatening news articles or broadcasts, the book shows how anxiety operates in these contexts
  • The research is carried out across four policy areas: immigration, public health, terrorism and climate change and presents a set of issues that appeals to a variety of readers

Anxious Politics has been written about in The Washington Post’s Monkey Cage Blog, El Pais, Slate, Syracuse Post-Standard, Huffington Post, La Tercera and more.