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Apathy or alienation? Political passivity among youths across eight European Union countries

Dahl, Viktor, Amnå, Erik, Banaji, Shakuntala ORCID: 0000-0002-9233-247X, Landberg, Monique, Serek, Jan, Ribeiro, Norberto, Beilmann, Mai, Pavlopoulos, Vassilis and Zani, Bruna (2017) Apathy or alienation? Political passivity among youths across eight European Union countries. European Journal of Developmental Psychology, 15 (3). pp. 284-301. ISSN 1740-5629

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Identification Number: 10.1080/17405629.2017.1404985


Political participation is one of the most studied aspects of the contemporary development of western democracies. A recent trend focuses the lack of political participation among younger generations. At the same time, the last decades have also witnessed a growth in the share of young European Union (EU) citizens who express alienation, and distrust toward social and political institutions at the national as well as the European level. By studying young people across different countries of the EU, the current study aims to examine if youths’ political passivity is better explained by political apathy or alienation. Our analyses are based on a comparative survey data collected by the Catch-EyoU project comprising approximately 4 454 late adolescents assembled from eight member countries of the EU. Results from logistic regressions predicting non-voting from apathy and alienation support the idea that political passivity is best understood as the result of political apathy. Moreover, it seems that the underlying separator of apathetic and alienated youths is cognitive awareness of political life. These results are discussed in relation to potentially built-in paradoxes of apathy present in efficient and well-functional welfare-state democracies.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2018 Informa UK
Divisions: Media and Communications
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Date Deposited: 21 May 2018 15:22
Last Modified: 04 Jul 2024 06:27
Projects: 649538
Funders: Horizon 2020

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