Youth and Political Participation in Europe

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Against the backdrop of the debate on the crisis of western democracies and the supposed decline in young people's willingness to take on citizenship duties this book presents results of the EU-project "Political Participation of Young People in Europe". It refers to the findings of the qualitative interviews and focus group discussions as well as the results of the representative surveys carried out among 15 to 25 year olds in Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Italy, France, Great Britain, Finland and Estonia. On the one hand, the young people's concepts, images and perspectives on the political realm will be illuminated drawing attention to the complexity and ambivalence inherent in the ideals and accounts of political reality as well as the actual shortcomings of the system of representative democracy in modern society. On the other hand, forms and extent of political participation will be discussed in a comparative perspective and the impact of socio-cultural and economic resources as well as opportunity structures for learning and participation analysed. In this context socialisation and transmission of values, cultures and behaviour by parents, peers, school and voluntary associations are of particular interest. Beyond the presentation of the empirical findings the book will discuss methodological difficulties of comparative participation research and problems of validity.

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