Young People and Politics in Europe –Two Parallel Worlds

A dramatic decline in electoral participation, decreasing membership of political parties (especially among young people), disenchantment with politics, together with the growing complexity of politics – all these news point to the fact that citizens’ involvement in political processes is changing. This seems far away from the optimal shape of a representative democracy, which aims at involving people in policy-forming processes and promoting civic competencies (John Stuart Mill 1861). The acceleration of economic development as a result of globalization and the digital revolution, as well as an increasing lack of democratic legitimization of major political decision-making institutions (European Central Bank etc.) have led to doubts about a sustainable future for liberal democracy. As a result, a continuous discussion ranging from a ‘crisis of democracy’ to promising new forms of democracy in a third stage of modernity is packing libraries worldwide with pertinent literature. Taking a sharper view into reality, how are young people´s (in the age group 16 – 25 years) attitudes towards the liberal democracy in Western countries, are they interested (or not) in politics in general? Continue reading