Accepted Paper:

The role of social movements in youth political participation  
Reelika Pirk (Tallinn University)

Paper short abstract:

The paper focuses on social movements as a mode for contemporary young people to participate in society and political decision-making process.

Paper long abstract:

In the debate of youth political engagement social movements have a crucial role to play. In many contemporary democratic societies political culture is facing a crisis of legitimacy. Scholars around the world have stated that the level of traditional political participation is decreasing, especially among young people. On the other hand, there are opposite views, claiming that instead of being politically disengaged, young people are looking for (new) forms for participating in society, as they simply address social issues differently. Thus, new social movements (as well as Internet and single-issue activism etc.) are considered to be new platforms for young peoplesĀ“ political activism.

The paper is based on case study of ethical-moral values promoting animal rights movement in Estonia. A youth group which consists of politically minded young people who actively participate in and address different issues of the society. The paper explores the importance of social movement activism in sphere of political participation. Especially, it analyses how young people conceive their participation and role in society. Secondly, how young activists address political issues through social movements. And which challenges they face when participating in socio-political sphere through social movements. The empirical data set includes open-ended interviews and observations as well as secondary data sources collected during the time of fieldwork.

Panel P015
Youth and social movements