Department of Political Science


Yannis Theocharis

PhD Candidate in International Political Science

Yannis Theocharis
  • Name: Yannis Theocharis
  • Telephone: +44 (0)20 7679 4999
  • Fax: +44 (0)20 7679 4969
  • Email: i.theocharis@ucl.ac.uk

Provisional Thesis Title

  • Young people, political engagement and the internet: The digital silent revolution?


It is widely assumed that young citizens in many Western countries have become reluctant to engage in participation in political life using conventional channels. Thus, many scholars have documented the important issue of youth dealignement with traditional forms of political participation, such as voting or joining political parties. Nevertheless, using Ronald Inglehart's theory of cultural values as a starting point, several researchers have suggested that economic and technological development induces profound transformations in socio-economic systems; and consequently, this leads to fundamental shifts in underlying social and political values. New social trends in postindustrial societies have fuelled a revolution in cultural values regarded as 'postmaterialist', especially among younger generations of well-educated citizens, who have become increasingly active in politics through participation in new social movements and transnational advocacy networks. Therefore, according to this view, young people are not only active participants in political processes, but also they have become increasingly more likely to actively engage in elite-challenging forms of political participation.

In addition, the development of the internet is deemed to have widened young people's opportunity to gather information, communicate and ultimately participate in the electronic public sphere, thereby encouraging a type of political participation qualitatively different to the merely passive reading of information websites. The ability of the digital information environment to alter the structure and opportunities for communication and information in civic society has therefore created a cultural sphere conducive to the emergence of alternative social movements and transnational advocacy networks, which seek to organize and mobilize dispersed groups with the aim of collective action.

The aim of my research is to examine young people's political participation patterns and more specifically their relation to the internet. Thus, I wish to understand if young people are becoming more disengaged with traditional channels of political participation because they are instead using more unconventional ways of political engagement. Additionally, considering the internet's potential in promoting civic engagement, this research will look at young people's online activity, examining its relation to postmaterialist values, as well as its association with unconventional politics, such as participation in social movements and protests.

Comments and feedback on this PhD project would be very welcome.

General Research Interests

  • Political participation and the internet
  • Political participation and young people
  • Protest politics and social movements
  • Critical theory of the media


Theocharis, Yannis. (forthcoming 2010) 'Young people, Political Participation and Online Postmaterialism in Greece'. New Media & Society.