PhD Candidate in International Political Science
- Name: Yannis Theocharis
- Telephone: +44 (0)20 7679 4999
- Fax: +44 (0)20 7679 4969
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
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.