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Young Europeans: A New Political Generation?

School of Social Sciences, London Metropolitan University, Holloway Road, London N7 8DP, UK (retired)
Societies 2018, 8(3), 70;
Received: 26 July 2018 / Revised: 14 August 2018 / Accepted: 22 August 2018 / Published: 29 August 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Youth and Social and Political Action in a Time of Austerity)
PDF [300 KB, uploaded 29 August 2018]


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. View Full-Text
Keywords: young people; political participation; human rights; migration; nationalism; participative democracy; generational change young people; political participation; human rights; migration; nationalism; participative democracy; generational change
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).

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Ross, A. Young Europeans: A New Political Generation? Societies 2018, 8, 70.

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