The Political Identification and Awareness of Scandinavian Youth

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This paper investigates students’ political learning by unfolding the dynamic patterns of political learning that can be explored among Scandinavian students. To serve this purpose the following research question is forwarded: What dynamic patterns of political learning can be uncovered among upper secondary students in relation to participation in political institutions? By focusing on dynamic patterns of political learning, the relationship between external sources of influence and the self-reflections of the students is emphasized. By the incorporation of theories of learning in the analytical approach, it is shown how young people students display a complex pattern of political attentiveness. The political influence from various agents like school, family, media, school and peers appear equivalently complex. However, youth is not passive recipients under influence, but are active constructors of their political life.
The institutional environment is an important factor for the political orientations and senses of citizenship. It is argued that research should focus on the dynamic learning in various democratic arenas for political learning, rather than on “single agent socialization studies”, in order to better understand the (formal and informal) political influences that young people adapt, as well as their attitudes towards and active participation in democratic processes. School-based civics education programs to some extend seem to have failed to equip young people with the tools, knowledge and experience needed for participation in political institutions. The aim of this paper is to gain knowledge that can contribute to an increased understanding of the political and democratic development among adolescents, including their political self-confidence in the transition from adolescence to early adult life. Research in this area has traditionally been interested in either the political awareness of youth, or the sources of influence on the youth. However, there has not been a lot of interest in the various off springs initiating the political engagement. It is the hope that such a focus will benefit our understanding of political developments. The research question will be explored by the use of qualitative interviews, and it will highlight the strategies used by students in order to establish their political orientations, the elements of political competence building, and factors constituting the development of their political self-confidence
Original languageEnglish
Publication date2018
Number of pages21
Publication statusPublished - 2018
EventECPR 2018 General Conference, Hamburg - Hamburg University, Hamburg , Germany
Duration: 22 Aug 201825 Aug 2018


ConferenceECPR 2018 General Conference, Hamburg
LocationHamburg University

Cite this

Kristensen, N. N., & Olson, M. (2018). The Political Identification and Awareness of Scandinavian Youth. 1-21. Paper presented at ECPR 2018 General Conference, Hamburg, Hamburg , Germany.