‘Youth, Citizenship and Politics in Europe’
Workshop on 7 February 2013, Royal Holloway (University of London)
Public involvement is a cornerstone of democracy. Yet in almost all established democracies engagement in traditional political institutions has declined in recent decades, leading to what some have seen as a crisis in citizenship. These trends are most striking amongst young people, who have become increasingly alienated from mainstream electoral politics in Europe. Nevertheless, there is overwhelming evidence to show that young people are not apathetic about ‘politics’ – they have their own views and engage in democracy in a wide variety of ways relevant to their everyday lives. Indeed, it is young people themselves who are diversifying political engagement: from consumer politics, to community campaigns, to international networks facilitated by online technology; from the ballot box, to the street, to the Internet; from political parties, to social movements and issue groups, to social networks.
Young Europeans are today faced by a particularly tough environment – austerity budgets that reduce spending on public services (young people are high users of these services) and a hostile labour market for new entrants. The chaos created by the global financial crisis and the European sovereign debt crisis has also revealed a lack of intergenerational solidarity. From worsening levels of child poverty, to the increased use of means-testing for unemployment benefits (young people are much more likely to be unemployed), to cuts in youth services and education budgets, to increased university tuition fees, public policy responses to the financial crises have placed a disproportionate burden on the young.
In this context, the rise and proliferation of protest politics amongst young Europeans is hardly surprising. 2011 was the year that many young people rose up and overthrew their leaders in North Africa and the Middle East (the ‘Arab Spring’). Youth activism also became a major feature of European political landscape: from the Occupy movement against the excesses of global capitalism, to mass demonstrations of the ‘outraged young’ (the ‘indignados’) against political corruption and youth unemployment, to direct action by ‘hactivists’ working for the Anonymous collective.
The workshop will address three main themes in young people’s politics: how young people participate in ‘politics’ (in its broadest sense); why they choose to engage or not engage different modes of political action; and, who participates – rich or poor, well-educated or less well-educated – in this diverse generation. It will also explore ways in which youth participation in democracy might be strengthened within the context of an adverse economic climate.
The main objectives of the workshop are to present full papers that can contribute to a special issue of a peer-reviewed journal on young people’s politics in Europe, and to establish a network of scholars researching in the area of young people/ political participation that can act as a springboard for future funding bids.
Thursday, 7 February: Venue: Large Boardroom, Founder’s Building, Royal Holloway
10:30 – 11:00 Registration/ tea and coffee (outside large boardroom)
11:00 – 11:15 Welcome and Introduction: James Sloam (Royal Holloway)
11:15 – 12:45 Panel 1: Young People, Political Community and Collective Action
Henrik P Bang (University of Copenhagen) Dilemmas of youth participation: between social and political community
Ben O’Loughlin (Royal Holloway) and Andrew Hoskins (University of Glasgow) Youth Politics of the New Mass: The Temporalities of Connectivity and Agency
12:45 – 13:30 Lunch (outside large boardroom)
13:30 – 15:15 Panel 2: New Cultures of Engagement
Elvira Cicognani (University of Bologna) Psychosocial factors in civic and political participation of Italian youth
Reingard Spannring (University of Innsbruck) Political Cultures: Implications for Leadership and Education
James Sloam (Royal Holloway) Diversity and Voice: the Political Participation of Young People in the European Union
15:15 – 15:45 Tea and Coffee (outside large boardroom)
15:45 – 17:15 Panel 3: Understanding Young People’s Political Behaviour and Conceptualising Change
Erik Amna (Örebro University) Beyond ‘political passivity’. Understanding change in youths’ political behavior.
Anne Muxel (Sciences Po, Paris) Mistrust, intermittent voting, protest: towards a new model of citizenship in advanced democracies
Followed by drinks reception (outside large boardroom)
19:30 Meal for Speakers
The CEP's Dr Giacomo Benedetto writes about the EU's multiannual budgetary agreement on the European Politics and Policy blog of the London School of Economics [click here].
Click here for a new paper by the CEP's Giacomo Benedetto on how 46% of Italian voters aged 18-24 voted for Beppe Grillo's Five Star Movement and just 3% voted for the Centre-Left.
Thursday 28 February, 6:30pm
Senate House, Court Room
University of London, Malet Street, London WC1E 7HU
Royal Holloway, University of London warmly invites you to a public debate on contemporary Italy, touching themes such as the political system, civil society, culture, media, leaders, elites, economy, and governments, all in the light of 24-25 February elections.
Andrea Mammone, historian, Royal Holloway
Giacomo Benedetto, political scientist, Royal Holloway
Fabio Cavalera, journalist, Corriere della Sera
Andrea Ingianni, economist, Kingston University
Giuliana Pieri, cultural historian, Royal Holloway
Giuseppe Veltri, social scientist, University of East Anglia
Refreshments will follow.
This event is organised with the sponsorship of the Centre for European Politics, the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, Department of History, Humanities and Arts Research Centre, at Royal Holloway, University of London.
Dr. Andrea Mammone
Department of History
Royal Holloway, University of London