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Youth and Politics in France: Democratic Deficit or New Model of Citizenship?

Abstract : This chapter examines the political engagement of young people in contemporary France. The chapter examines the particular case studies of the 2017 presidential and legislative elections and investigates why young people have, or have not, engaged in the political process in France. The chapter examines the capacity for some political figures, including Jean-Luc Mélenchon, to engage with younger voters, while also exploring the limited appeal of other political figures and parties. The chapter investigates the importance of the socio-economic background of young people in shaping their political engagement and explores the adoption of protest culture by some young people. Transformations in the relationships between young people and politics are obvious in all European democracies. Political involvement takes place by means of many different types of expression and action. Transformations in political attitudes and behavior are not limited to young people and can be observed among the entire population. Young people have a set of proprietary characteristics that translate into non-institutional forms of political participation, rather than institutional and electoral participation. Great political narratives have faded and no longer provide a readable map of systems of belonging to which individuals can attach themselves and become involved. The general mistrust of politics and politicians in France, as well the lack of support for political institutions and for representative democracy, has generated populist attitudes and radical behaviours. Protest as a means of democratic expression and a tool for political action remains their first political response, and young people will continue to act and vote as ‘critical citizens’ in the France of tomorrow.
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Submitted on : Monday, January 4, 2021 - 3:24:46 PM
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Anne Muxel. Youth and Politics in France: Democratic Deficit or New Model of Citizenship?. The Routledge Hand Book of French Politics and Culture, Routledge, pp.97 - 108, 2020, 9781138101753. ⟨hal-03095133⟩

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