Young adults’ abilities and willingness to support and live up to dominant citizen ideals are often questioned, particularly for minority ethnic youths. Based on inductive analysis of 71 interviews, I demonstrate that minority and majority youths share a conception of “the good citizen” as someone who is law-abiding and socially and economically contributing. At the same time, the differential societal status of the two groups affects which of “the good citizen’s” traits and duties they stress, and whether they see themselves as being in a position to make claims to citizenship. While majority youths emphasize political reflection and participation, minority youths place greater weight on not stepping out of line. As such, power and status shape citizenship ideals.
Keywords: citizenship, youths, status, recognition, interviews
Based on The International Civic and Citizenship Education Study as well as a qualitative study of Danish young people born in the early 00s, the article explores and discusses their political engagement both empirically and theoretically. The two studies show that Danish youths possess an extensive political interest and knowledge of the democratic society, but at the same time, they articulate a prevalent reservation about protesting and participating in public political activities. The argument of the article is that their form of political engagement can analytically be reflected as a counter-protest. The term counter-protest captures an increasing political engagement, but an engagement that counteracts protest as a relevant form of political action and, furthermore, supports the conventional political system.
Keywords: Youth, political engagement, counter-protest, latent engagement, the conventional citizen.
How do ethnic minorities integrate politically when they experience a hostile political climate towards non-western immigration? We study this important yet underexplored question through a unique Danish survey from 2018 among 20-30-year-old descendants of immigrants and a control group of Danish origin. This study goes further than earlier studies and analyzes the correlation between young adults’ own perception of public hostility against Muslims and refugees and their political efficacy and political trust. The analysis shows a notably stronger correlation among Muslim descendants, and especially among the most religious of them, but only related to their external political efficacy and political trust. Internal political efficacy is rather unaffected, which indicates an unexploited potential for political mobilization.
Keywords: political efficacy, political trust; political climate, ethnic minorities; descendants
Is it legitimate to exclude youth from Denmark and Sweden’s democracies? This article starts from the ideal that democracy and personal autonomy are deeply connected, in theory and in the context. A policy analysis is conducted on youth participation and autonomy from a critical perspective of democracy as justification of a social order. The aim is to clarify the normative background of youth exclusion contextually and evaluate its legitimacy. The analysis shows that the primary purpose of inclusion is development of capacity for autonomy and that the right to ethical autonomy is respected unless it threatens development of future autonomy. However, a wide set of legal and social responsibilities placed on young people have no corresponding democratic rights, motivated by a lack of capacity for autonomy. This is a form of arbitrary rule, and youth are justified to demand more access to democratic participation.
Keywords: democratic legitimacy, critical theory, youth, Denmark, Sweden
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