British Journal of Political Science


Personal and Political Sources of Political Alienation

Jack Citrin, Herbert Mcclosky, J. Merrill Shanks and Paul M. Sniderman*

This paper began by reviewing several major conceptual and methodological difficulties surrounding the measurement of political alienation/allegiance and proceeded to describe the level and the sources of alienation (as measured by our preliminary indicator, the PAI) within the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Area. We defined political alienation as a relatively enduring sense of estrangement from or rejection of the prevailing political system and emphasized the importance of distinguishing this attitude from disapproval of incumbent officeholders.


* Survey Research Center, University of California, Berkeley. This paper is a report on research in progress within the Political Alienation section of the Survey Research Center's social indicators program. This work is supported by the National Science Foundation, NSF GS–31812. A preliminary version was delivered at the 1973 annual meeting of the American Political Science Association. We are heavily indebted to Richard Gunther, W. Russell Neuman, Robert Stumpf, and Chuck Bann for their tireless and creative assistance during the preparation of this paper, and to the professional staff of the Survey Research Center for their advice and skill in survey design, data collection, and manuscript preparation.