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A Communicative Action Approach to Evaluating Citizen Support for a Government's Smoking Policies


  • This research was supported in part by the Ministry of Education, Singapore, and the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, National University of Singapore (WBS No: R-124-000-039-112).


This study examines the communicative grounds of democratic legitimacy in a hybrid political system, Singapore, by applying Habermas's theory of communicative action. The theory holds that citizens will be more likely to accept the rightfulness of a political order to the extent that they recognize its orientation as being communicative, oriented to increasing reciprocal understanding with the public. Assessments of communicative action are indicated by 2 conditions: whether citizens agree with government claims and whether citizens perceive opportunities to engage in dialog with policymakers in public discourse. The communicative action approach is tested using the case of Singapore government's action on smoking control. National survey results indicate that selected validity conditions and speech conditions are positively associated with legitimacy appraisals.