Youth democracy and social change

Edwards, Kathy (2006) Youth democracy and social change. In Social Change in the 21st Century Conference 2006, 27 October 2006, Carseldine, Brisbane.

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In this paper I examine youth as participants in social change. A particular focus is youth participation through voting. Currently there is much concern worldwide that young people are disengaging from democratic participation through voting, and, either disengaging from political participation entirely, or, engaging in different ways through protest, internet politics and consumer activism. This paper asks the question 'how effective do young people consider the ballot box as a mechanism of social change?' As well as challenging the assumption that young people are disengaged from democratic ideals I examine some of the perceived limitations of democratic participation as young people perceive them. The argument of this paper is that young people are not disengaging from the ballot box as an 'ideal' of democracy, but rather that they are drawing attention to some aspects of the democratic process that they perceive as limitations on democracy. In other words in the debate on young people and participation emphasis needs to be put on democratic practices as requiring reform as well as on young people and 'lack' of participation. In discussing young people and democratic participation through the ballot box this paper draws on data from the Youth Electoral Study. The main objective of YES is to discover why it is that many young people in Australia are reluctant to enrol and vote despite both enrolling and voting being compulsory in Australia.

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ID Code: 6092
Item Type: Conference Paper
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: youth, participation, voting, democracy, social change
ISBN: 1741071291
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY (160000) > SOCIOLOGY (160800) > Social Change (160805)
Divisions: Past > Research Centres > Centre for Social Change Research
Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > QUT Carseldine - Humanities & Human Services
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2006 Kathy Edwards
Deposited On: 08 Feb 2007 00:00
Last Modified: 09 Jun 2010 12:37

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