Towards a conceptualization of young people’s political engagement: a qualitative focus group study

Pontes, A. ORCID: 0000-0003-3712-9425, Henn, M. ORCID: 0000-0002-1063-3544 and Griffiths, M.D. ORCID: 0000-0001-8880-6524, 2018. Towards a conceptualization of young people’s political engagement: a qualitative focus group study. Societies, 8 (1): 17. ISSN 2075-4698

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Disenchantment with politics and low electoral turnout does not mean young people are not engaged with politics. However, our understanding of what being ‘politically engaged’ entails is somewhat challenged by the lack of consensus concerning the definition of this particular concept. Furthermore, existing conceptualizations of political engagement and participation (offline and online) often center on a limited set of political action items, failing to realize that a person can be politically engaged but not participate in political actions. Despite attempts to understand how young people themselves define politics, there are insufficient youth specific explanations of what being politically engaged means. In the present study, focus groups including young people (18–24 years) were conducted to examine understandings of political engagement. Participants were also asked to group a set of items they considered most accurately assessed this construct. Using the results, a conceptualization is proposed taking into account young people’s definitions of political engagement; this suggests that young people consider political engagement to have emotional and cognitive dimensions but also to be conceptually distinct from political participation.

Item Type: Journal article
Publication Title: Societies
Creators: Pontes, A., Henn, M. and Griffiths, M.D.
Publisher: MDPI
Date: 8 March 2018
Volume: 8
Number: 1
ISSN: 2075-4698
soc8010017Publisher Item Identifier
Rights: © 2018 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (
Divisions: Schools > School of Social Sciences
Record created by: Jill Tomkinson
Date Added: 13 Mar 2018 11:49
Last Modified: 20 Nov 2020 14:51

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