Conference Agenda

RN25_02: Youth political activism
Wednesday, 21/Aug/2019:
2:00pm - 3:30pm

Session Chair: Elena Pavan, University of Trento
Location: GM.330
Manchester Metropolitan University Building: Geoffrey Manton, Third Floor 4 Rosamond Street West Off Oxford Road


These Days Are Ours: Exploring Young Disabled People's Experiences and Views of the UK Disabled People's Movement

Miro Griffiths

University of Leeds, United Kingdom

This paper explores challenges encountered by young disabled people participating and engaging within the UK Disabled People’s Movement (DPM). Challenges they face were identified following a qualitative investigation. Seventeen semi-structured interviews were conducted with both young disabled people and established members of the Movement. The paper argues that, for the Movement to be inclusive, remain committed to the social model of disability (UPIAS 1975) and accessible to young disabled people, the DPM must provide young members and newcomers with the resources and support to offer a vision for a new and inclusive society for all - disabled and non-disabled people. To achieve this, the social model should be repositioned: from a tool/strategy to an "oppositional device" (Beckett and Campbell 2015) that provides counter-rationalities and disrupts the normative practices inherent in the political, economic, and cultural realms.

The paper opens by exploring prominent debates pertinent to the situation of disabled people in contemporary society. It focuses on the politicisation of disability and the intrinsic aspects affecting young disabled people's participation within activism and campaigning. The original account of key challenges are positioned around three central themes: membership, organisation of the Movement, and future considerations that will affect the DPM’s sustainability. Through existing literature, the research delineates a way forward; its emphasis lies on oppositional devices. The thesis addresses directly the concerns raised by respondents. It will prompt discussion - within and outside of academia - on the standing of young disabled people within the DPM. The paper contributes towards an understanding of youth and disability activism.

Young Radicals in Europe

Katrin Uba1, Lorenzo Bosi2

1Uppsala, Sweden; 2SNS, Italy

Studies about radicalized young people often focus on specific cases of joining the radical movements, participating in radical events or examining youth radicalism in one or a few countries at time. We aim to investigate whether young people with both left-and right-wing radical views or those with the most radical libertarian or authoritarian views are significantly different from each other across different countries, and if they opt for the similar or different political behaviour. We also examine if young radicals differ from other young people in terms of socio-economic background and political activism in the same country. In general, it is expected that people with radical political views are more likely to participate in politics, but also that they have some specific (more educated) socio-economic background. Considering the scholarship of “authoritarian personality” which suggests that all radials are alike, and the one on Europeanization, we expect that radical youth is similar across European countries and that there will not be many significant cross-country differences in terms of their political activism nor background. The analysis will be based on the representative survey data from nine European countries.

Young Female City Councilors In The Electoral Scenario Of Brazilian Cities In 2016: Paths, Identities And Political Engagement

Ana Beatriz Pinheiro e Silva1,2


The option for a trajectory on political militancy involves several factors that permeate the paths of young people. Many of these factors are related to school, family, friends, the university environment, work, among others. In recent years gender and identity issues have been highlighted in the development of this decision-making process for political engagement. Many young people begin to participate in political groups after having had experiences related to these themes in their personal lives. In the 2016 county elections in Brazil, four candidates for councilors from Socialist and Freedom Party (PSOL) were elected with agendas related to gender and identity issues: Marielle Franco (Rio de Janeiro), Auréa Carolina (Belo Horizonte), Samia Bomfim (São Paulo) and Talíria Petrone (Niterói). They were voted for significantly after a major feminist movement called "Women Spring," which manifested against the setbacks in women's rights and in defense of their rights to their bodies regarding abortion legalization. These young women councilors, whose trajectories will be analyzed in this article, came from a militancy consolidated in social movements and seemed to aim, with the entrance in institutional politics, at putting their agendas, with their own voices. Thus, the main objective of the article is to analyze their paths, political engagement and the Brazilian electoral scenario in 2016, based on the political conjuncture of that period and on a research conducted in social networks, relating it to the recent bibliography on youth and political participation in Brazil.

Youth on the Margins: Experiences of Young People’s Participation in Political Parties and Social Movement Organisations in the UK

Katherine Alice Smith

University of Sheffield, United Kingdom

In recent years, the rate of participation of younger generations in social movement organisations (SMOs) and political parties in the UK, has been characterised simultaneously as part of an increasing surge in youth participation and as ongoing concern due to decline. This paper seeks to understand the experiences of young people who join SMOs and parties, in particular their experiences of joining and becoming established members within these spaces.

Based upon the initial findings of 28 in depth interviews with young activists in a city in northern England, the analysis focusses on the experiences of young activists in navigating participation within parties and SMOs. It explores the experiences and processes which influence their initial and ongoing participation in these groups, as well as cases of disengagement.

In particular, it presents preliminary findings which draw upon experiences of marginalisation of young people in these organisations, compounded by inequalities in multiple dimensions. Specifically, the intersection of youth with multiple inequalities including class, gender, sexuality, disability and ethnicity impact upon activists’ participation opportunities, as well as their voice in these spaces and sense of belonging. This paper develops a greater understanding of the processes by which societal inequalities are replicated within party and social movement organisations, with significant implications for youth political participation.