Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 1991


Political apathy is the lack of psychological involvement in public affairs, emotional detachment from civic obligation, and abstention from political activity. But it is not any of these things alone, and these may be regarded as necessary, but not sufficient, components of political apathy. Political apathy is evidenced in mass, collective behavior but has its origins at the level of the individual psyche. In the aggregate, political apathy is revealed by attitudes and an absence of expected activity. When people cease to care about political life, withdraw from obligations to civil society, and perform entirely nominal or rote acts-or none at all-in political institutions or organizations, apathy is indicated.