Sara Wallace Goodman

Oct 24, 2022

Citizenship in Hard Times

How Ordinary People Respond to Democratic Threat

Cambridge University Press 2022

What do citizens do in response to threats to democracy? Citizenship in Hard Times: How Ordinary People Respond to Democratic Threat (Cambridge UP, 2022) examines the mass politics of civic obligation in the US, UK, and Germany. Exploring threats like foreign interference in elections and polarization, Sara Wallace Goodman shows that citizens respond to threats to democracy as partisans, interpreting civic obligation through a partisan lens that is shaped by their country's political institutions. This divided, partisan citizenship makes democratic problems worse by eroding the national unity required for democratic stability. Employing novel survey experiments in a cross-national research design, this book presents the first comprehensive and comparative analysis of citizenship norms in the face of democratic threat. In showing partisan citizens are not a reliable bulwark against democratic backsliding, Goodman identifies a key vulnerability in the mass politics of democratic order. In times of democratic crisis, defenders of democracy must work to fortify the shared foundations of democratic citizenship.

Sara Wallace Goodman is Professor of Political Science at the University of California, Irvine (UCI). Her research examines citizenship and the shaping of political identity through immigrant integration. She is the co-author of Pandemic Politics: The Deadly Toll of Partisanship in the Age of COVID (Princeton University Press, 2022), and author of Immigration and Membership Politics in Western Europe (Cambridge University Press, 2014). Goodman’s research has been cited in major news outlets, including The New York Times, Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, and Vox. Her research has been supported by the National Science Foundation and the Russell Sage Foundation.

Lamis Abdelaaty is an associate professor of political science at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University. She is the author of Discrimination and Delegation: Explaining State Responses to Refugees (Oxford University Press, 2021). Email her comments at or tweet to @LAbdelaaty.

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Lamis Abdelaaty

Dr. Lamis Abdelaaty is Associate Professor of Political Science at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University, and Senior Research Associate at the Campbell Public Affairs Institute. Her book, Discrimination and Delegation: Explaining State Responses to Refugees, was published by Oxford University Press in 2021. Email her at
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