Next Article in Journal
Piracy and the Politics of Social Media
Previous Article in Journal
Strategies for Combating Islamic State
Article Menu

Export Article

Open AccessArticle
Soc. Sci. 2016, 5(3), 40;

Engaging Citizen Participation—A Result of Trusting Governmental Institutions and Politicians in the Portuguese Democracy

Faculty of Sciences and Technology, New University of Lisbon (FCT-UNL), Quinta da Torre, Campus Universitário, 2829-516 Caparica, Portugal
Geographical Institute of Lisbon, Rua da Artilharia, 1099-052 Lisboa, Portugal
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Martin J. Bull
Received: 8 May 2016 / Revised: 26 July 2016 / Accepted: 27 July 2016 / Published: 5 August 2016
View Full-Text   |   Download PDF [388 KB, uploaded 5 August 2016]   |  


Public participation is a mainstay of democracy. However, the ways in which it can be understood inevitably influence the achievement of the goals that preside over any public policy. Literature argues that the drawbacks of citizen participation are directly related to the level of trust in governmental institutions and in politicians. The present study was carried out on a sample of 250 individuals and aimed to (1) describe citizens’ opinions and trust in politicians and government institutions; and (2) demonstrate that healthy levels of citizen engagement in politics may be upheld as long as citizens trust their political institutions and leaders, through a case study of Portugal’s democratic system. The current study found no statistically significant association between political participation and the study participant’s perception that government representatives heard (p = 0.769) or considered (p = 0.810) their opinions. Similarities were found between the participants’ assessments of the quality of life brought about by the decisions of those in power and the levels of citizen participation around land planning and land management (p = 0.011). Also, citizen assessments of life quality were influenced by their understanding of political decisions (p = 0.014). Effective communication between citizens and politicians will allow both to better understand the aims of political policy. When citizens believe that politicians are honest, show moral leadership and demonstrate integrity, and that these values are upheld by public institutions, a common aspiration can be realized: improving the quality of life. View Full-Text
Keywords: citizen’s; public participation; trust; politicians; environmental; spatial planning citizen’s; public participation; trust; politicians; environmental; spatial planning

Figure 1

This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

Share & Cite This Article

MDPI and ACS Style

Carreira, V.; Machado, J.R.; Vasconcelos, L. Engaging Citizen Participation—A Result of Trusting Governmental Institutions and Politicians in the Portuguese Democracy. Soc. Sci. 2016, 5, 40.

Show more citation formats Show less citations formats

Note that from the first issue of 2016, MDPI journals use article numbers instead of page numbers. See further details here.

Related Articles

Article Metrics

Article Access Statistics



[Return to top]
Soc. Sci. EISSN 2076-0760 Published by MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland RSS E-Mail Table of Contents Alert
Back to Top