Youth and new forms of political participation

Tuesday 11 April 2023

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Democracy cannot succeed unless those who express their choice are prepared to choose wisely. The real safeguard of democracy, therefore, is education.

Franklin Roosevelt.

The term idiótescomes from the Greek, and was used to indicate one who placed above all his particular interests, from “idios” proper. Idiótes in itself meant “private man”, as opposed to the public man: the Greeks defined as idiots that people who had no interest in the common good and implicitly defined as “non-idiots” those who had a broader vision and interests, which also coincided with being a politician.

The importance of participating in political life has always been crucial in many civilizations of the past, but in recent years something has changed: the data show that[1]political commitment of the new generations has, in fact, been configured in the last decade as increasingly low and superficial, so as to attribute labels such as “generation in crisis” to the new generation, “daughter of disenchantment” or “invisible generation”. It favors, together with economic precariousness, an increase in distrust for social and political institutions[2], perceived as distant and scarcely interested in issues related to the condition of young people. This phenomenon in Italy is perceived as particularly worrying, because much of politics seems to be completely alienated from the new generations.

If it is true that young Italians participate less in voting, it is also true that a substantial part still shows interest in politics: according to ISTAT, young people up to 24 y.o. are also greater active in political participation.  In fact, 12.8% of young people belonging to this age group actively participate in politics, especially by going to marches or listening to political debates. So, why do we always tend to think that young people are disinterested in any case? Is it possible that indicators such as the percentage of voting and association with a political party are no longer a sufficiently adequate measure to study the participation of the new generations?

AP8 starts from the awareness that the new generations abstain from voting because they do not recognize themselves in the political class: what we propose to do is to create spaces for discussion, educate young citizens to active citizenship, participation, defense of their rights.  Activist movements and protests are still popular channels for political expression, but now online spaces have also been added, which are perceived as unique opportunities to reach a wider number of people

In the coming months, online forums will be organized on different topics: active citizenship, democratic participation, youth and Europe, fighting disinformation and fake news.

Do not miss the opportunity to be involved in an event that connects young people from different parts of Europe and finally make your voice heard!


[1] Citizens more distant from political life, ISTAT, https://www.istat.it/it/files/2020/06/REPORT_PARTECIPAZIONE_POLITICA.pdf

[2] Trust in the country’s institutions, ISTAT, https://www.istat.it/it/files/2022/05/Fiducia-cittadini-istituzioni2021.pdf

About the project

AP8 – Active8 & Particip8 is a project financed by the program Erasmus+ – European Education and Culture Executive Agency (EACEA), CERV-2022-CITIZENS-CIV, Citizens’ engagement and participation strand.

Partners

For further information

Read the project sheet.

Contact Martina Romano: martina.romano@cesie.org

Strengthening Research Support: a study visit to CESIE by Science and Research Center Koper

Strengthening Research Support: a study visit to CESIE by Science and Research Center Koper

As part of the KRPAN project – Strengthening Research Support and Activities for Progress on European Research Projects), Živa Semolič – project officer from ZRS Koper, Slovenia – joined a dynamic study visit hosted by CESIE ETS in Palermo. Visit aimed to enhance international collaboration and gain insights into organisational processes, project development, networking, administrative and financial project management.

CESIE ETS