Young Europeans: a new political generation?

Ross, Alistair (2018) Young Europeans: a new political generation? Societies, 8 (3 (70)). pp. 1-24. ISSN 2075-4698


Young people in Europe are often described as apolitical non-participants in the civic culture of their own states and the European Union (EU). Using empirical data based on group discussions (n = 324) in 29 European states (104 locations; 2000 young people aged between 11 and 19), this paper challenges this, and suggests that many young people have distinct political views and are motivated to participate in both political discussions and traditional and non-traditional forms of participation. They are particularly interested in a range of current issues, largely around human rights, migration and (anti-)nationalism, and the article illustrates this with examples from a range of countries. Human rights issues raised concerned their perception of contemporary injustices, which were constructed as European values and formed a significant element in their self-identification as Europeans, and a general unwillingness to be identified with ‘the nation’. This broad pan-European analysis suggests that young people see themselves in many ways as a politically distinct cohort, a generation with different political values than those of their parents and grandparents.

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