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James

Hart

United Kingdom
It is hoped that the shared experiences of these ‘unexpected participants’ can illuminate how the obstacles to participation can be overcome

More about James

In the last two decades, British youths have demonstrated an increasing tendency to avoid formal political participation, such as voting or party membership. Much academic research has been conducted to investigate why young people are disengaged from formal politics. The focus of the existing research has sought to understand why young people are unhappy with politics with particular attention spent analysing those who eschew participation. Analogous to these studies, are investigations which seek to clarify which social demographics increase or decrease the likelihood of formal political participation.

My project will also investigate the influence of social demographics on political participation. However, this study will shift the focus from those who unhappy with traditional politics to those who have a strong attachment to, and engagement with, formal politics. With the aim of increasing voting patterns of young people from certain socio-economic backgrounds, this thesis will interview young people who are active participants within politics, but are from social groups that are expected to show little engagement with formal politics. The interviews with these young people, who I term ‘unexpected participants’, aim to document why these young people are politically active, the obstacles they encountered when attempting to participate within politics and how they surmounted these barriers to engagement. It is hoped that the shared experiences of these ‘unexpected participants’ can illuminate how the obstacles to participation can be overcome, encouraging political participation from disengaged groups.

Director of Studies: Prof Matt Henn

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