Youth Participation in Democratic Life: stories of hope and disillusion (Palgrave Macmillan, 2015)
Bart Cammaerts, Michael Bruter, Shakuntala Banaji, Sarah Harrison, Nick Anstead
This book analyses and assesses the contexts, nature and the diversity of young people's participation in European democratic life. The authors provide an interdisciplinary conceptual framework addressing participation, power, democracy, efficacy and media. Using dynamic, original data collected in surveys, focus groups, interviews and a field experiment, Youth Participation in Democratic Life address young people's attitudes towards voting, participation and representation in policy processes and politicians. Democracy is, however, much more than voting, so volunteering and contentious politics are also elaborated upon. Examining the role of traditional and new media in facilitating youth participation in democratic life, as well as the complex dynamics of youth exclusion from economic, educational and social spheres, the book reveals that most young people are far from apathetic about democracy but rather they are critical of current representative democratic systems and the political elites who appear to run these.