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Reinventing Democracy in Europe: Youth Doing Politics in Times of Increasing Inequalities

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - EURYKA (Reinventing Democracy in Europe: Youth Doing Politics in Times of Increasing Inequalities)

Reporting period: 2017-02-01 to 2018-01-31

EURYKA is a cross-national research project which provides systematic and practice-related knowledge about how inequalities mediate youth political participation. It suggests novel democratic models to help reimagine a more inclusive European politics. EURYKA brings together researchers and civil society practitioners from nine European countries: France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. With the aim of strengthening European democratic life, the project intends to reach a better understanding of the conditions, processes, and mechanisms underpinning how young people do politics: how do they form opinions and take actions to bring about social and political change? At the core of EURYKA’s conceptual framework lies the idea of youth political participation as forms of coping mechanism for dealing with inequalities. We thus investigate the norms, values, attitudes and behaviors underpinning such mechanisms and how these relates to issues of democracy, power, politics, policy-making, social and political participation (online and offline) and the organization of economic, social and private life. EURYKA has the following objectives: 1) To provide systematic evidence on how inequalities are experienced and mediated by young people, exploring the coping mechanisms which are embedded in how they do politics. These coping mechanisms are manifested in multiple forms, i.e. as either political (dis)engagement and contestation online and offline or as (trans-)national democratic innovation and experimentation. 2) To advance knowledge on the conditions and causes underpinning youth political participation. This involves an examination of their norms, values, attitudes, and behaviors regarding democracy, power, politics, policymaking, social and political participation (online and offline) and the organization of economic, social and private life. 3) To make various, novel suggestions to strengthen democratic life in Europe, with particular emphasis on those that are more inclusive for young people – and especially those with fewer opportunities.
During the first reporting period, and in line with the Annex 1 to the Grant Agreement, full work and results were completed under work package 1 (Policy Analysis) as well as parts of results were delivered under work packages 2 (Political Claims Analysis), 4 (Panel Survey Analysis), 9 (Dissemination and Exploitation), and 10 (Communication). In particular, as part of work package 1, a set of guidelines for the analysis of policy documents were developed and an integrated report on policy analysis, based on national reports provided by participants, summarizing the main findings of work package 1, and consisting of a comparative assessment of public policies and practices towards promoting youth participation (online and offline) and inclusion. Further, as part of work package 2 the codebook for the political claims analysis, including instructions concerning the definition, sampling, and coding of claims and the variables and categories to be used in the coding, was completed. With regard to work package 4, the questionnaire for the retrieval of panel survey data including questions measuring the norms, values, attitudes, expectations, and behaviors of young people regarding democracy, power, politics, policy-making as well as social and political participation (online and offline) and the organization of economic, social and private life, and also questions measuring their personal background and characteristics (English version) was completed. Moreover, in terms of work package 9 the plan for the dissemination and exploitation of the project’s results and the priority action networks – online platform and sustainability proposals were completed and delivered. Finally, as concerns work package 10,the project website, the communication plan, the data management plan, the first and second project newsletters, and the first policy brief were completed and delivered.
EURYKA aims to go beyond the state of the art though: a) its multidimensional theoretical framework that combines macro-level (institutional), meso-level (organizational), and micro-level (individual) explanatory factors, while accounting for the complexity of youth experience of inequalities and the differential aspects of how young people do politics in Europe; 2) its cross-national comparative design that includes European countries with different degrees of exposure to inequalities and different policy regimes (France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Poland, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, and UK); c) its integrated methodological approach based on multiple sources and methods: an analysis of public policies and practices towards youth; an analysis of actors’ interventions in the public domain on issues relating to youth; an organizational and panel survey plus survey experiments; biographical interviews; and an analysis of social media. Also, the project will set forward the first rigorous and comprehensive dataset on European youth as a driver of new, more inclusive, representative and sustainable democratic models. The project will to generate the very first systematic data at the individual, organizational, and public level in nine European countries. This data set will allow the fragmentary and selective knowledge on the topic to be overcome, and will open the door to an analysis of the interrelationships between the individual, organizational, and public levels of youth agency and social and political change aiming to enhance democratic life in Europe.Further the project will give rise to the first comprehensive and critical analysis of youth participation in times of rising inequalities and economic crisis. Little is known about the cumulative impact of inequalities and the economic crisis on the opportunities and obstacles that young people see as catalysts and inhibitors of the socio-political transition and how they could be addressed by policy in order to foster new democratic and political models in Europe. The project will deliver ground-breaking insights because the nine countries represent very different (socio-economic, political, legal, and cultural) contexts, thus allowing us to systematically compare the differential impact of crisis on young people's ways of doing politics and how they combine connective and collective action.
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