Apathy revisited

Cindy Skach*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Contemporary world events, characterized by violence and extremism, force us to revisit the potential uses and abuses of political apathy in democracy. This article unravels the concept of apathy, placing it within its semantic field, qualifying it with respect to different political contexts, and making it relative to its possible conceptual opposites. In so doing, this article clarifies both the potential harms, and the probably values, of apathy - and of its alternatives - in contemporary democratic theory and practice. The article argues that the dividing line between a hundred percent participation, extremism, and violence is increasingly fragile in the divided societies that characterize contemporary democracies. In so doing, the article offers a defense of apathy, not as an inherently 'good' element of a democracy; but rather, as the least damaging to democracy in comparison with its real and potential opposites.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-213
Number of pages19
JournalItalian Law Journal
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018


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