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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:A Focus Group Assessment of Political Attitudes in Zambia
Authors:Bratton, Michael
Liatto-Katundu, Beatrice
Year:1994
Periodical:African affairs: the journal of the Royal African Society
Volume:93
Issue:373
Period:October
Pages:535-563
Language:English
Geographic term:Zambia
Subjects:political attitudes
democracy
Politics and Government
Link:https://www.jstor.org/stable/723666
Abstract:This article presents an exploratory description of the political attitudes of selected groups of citizens in a newly democratizing African country. It focuses on Zambia, and pays particular attention to popular knowledge of, and attachment to, democratic values. Research was conducted some 18 months after the country's multiparty election of 31 October 1991. As a first step, the authors convened 12 so-called 'focus groups' - an interview technique for small groups based on natural conversation - involving a total of 116 persons from four districts. After a summary of how focus group participants viewed recent political events and democratic reforms in Zambia, three main areas of the participants' political knowledge are discussed, viz. constitutional rights, political representation, and policy reform. Other items for focus group discussion included political trust, interpersonal trust, trust in government institutions, trust in NGOs, political tolerance, political competence, political participation, and civic education needs. The focus groups revealed notable shortcomings in political knowledge and political attitudes shaped by entrenched cultural values. Thus although ordinary people played major roles as protesters and voters in ejecting President Kaunda from office, there is reason to doubt that they will play ongoing roles as active and well-informed citizens. Notes, ref.
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