Iuventa / Výskum mládeže / Data catalogue / 2004 / Political participation of young people in Europe and in the Slovakia

Political participation of young people in Europe and in the Slovakia

Research identification sheet ID: DAYR 002

Author of the survey: Macháček Ladislav, CERYS FF UCM in Trnava
Period of data collection: 2004
Data collection: ASA = Agency of Social Analysis, Ltd., Palisády 19, 814 94 Bratislava 1, Slovak Republic

Abstract:

EUYOUPART (2003-2005) is a supranational project financed within the frame of Fifth Framework Programme of the European Commission. Its main aim is to develop new means of measuring political participation of young people in Europe. Project was carried out by a group of researchers from eight European Union member states (Austria, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Great Britain and Slovakia) under the scientific and administrative cooperation of SORA (www.sora.at), Institute for Social Research and Analysis, Austria.

CERYS-Center of European and Regional Youth Research at the University of SS Cyril and Methodius in Trnava, Slovakia  was the cooperating representative from Slovakia.

Throughout the research in 2004, 8030 interviews with European citizens between the ages 15 and 25 were carried out. 53% of them were still attending schools, 34% were already employed and 7% were unemployed. Main challenge of the research was to assure comparability of the collected data despite differences in political cultures, in possibilities of participation, and in traditions of surveys as well as despite difficulties with translation of specific terminology resulting from different cultural background. Means of measuring developed during the project is a model questionnaire that builds on strong and weak points of existing empirical studies about youth and politics.

The research team was able to reach high level of data comparability about actual political participation of young Europeans in eight involved countries. This is a very important success of a comparative survey. Comparable indicators offer realistic picture of political participating of young people in all eight participating countries, which may serve as basis for the development European youth politics.

Results of the quantitative research:

The majority of surveyed youth is not interested in politics. However, this survey inspires hope that the interest of young Europeans in politics will grow with age. The vast majority of them believe that elections are the most effective form of political participation and relatively small percentage takes advantage of the right to vote. Finally, it is necessary to mention that although young people are more and more critical of the prevailing political system they still use their civil rights and duties within the frame of a representative democracy.  Protest becomes the most important way or form of expressing their social and political views. New social movements and new political organizations are more accepted and are more attractive than traditional movements and organizations. Participation on these new forms is growing.

Youth in Slovakia perceives the current economical and social problems (unemployment, homelessness and beggars on streets) through a prism of historical experience of preceding generation as conquerable and tolerate them with patience. Perpetual political scandals are considered as part of plural democracy and events to be gladly talked about.   What is considered as typical for young people in Slovakia is that they connect traditional cultural values of the initially rural society (family and family relationship, neighbourhood and friendship, solidarity and self-help) with modern orientation towards the integration into the European Union as the only alternative for the functioning of Slovakia as a legally consistent state and for the economic prosperity of its citizens.  They hope that the membership of Slovakia in the EU will bring more social justice and work.

Results of the qualitative research:

Discussions with selected groups of young people in Slovakia on politics and political participation indicate their readiness to express their views freely on various issues and problems of public life. At the same time, we could observe a fundamental change of the initially high and obligatory and simultaneously passive participation on the legitimization of political power of the communist party. Not taking part in presidential elections or referendum is considered as manifestation of high political culture. Political culture of contemporary youth as a whole differs from the political culture of generations socialized in the conditions of socialistic political system. On the other hand traditional values and standards are still visible also in the political culture of the youth.  Pluralism of the political system and deepening of social differentiation of initially homogenous social structure begin to influence political culture of the young people.

Recommendation:

Results achieved by young people in the test of political knowledge are not the best advert for the education of citizenship on schools in Slovakia. However, as shown in the comparison it is not only a case of Slovakia. Interest in politics and mainly national politics is connected with the growth of correct information about functioning of democracy. For instance in Slovakia the level of correct information increases whether young people declare their support for the left wing or the right wing (71-72%). More decided political opinion that is the interest in politics is connected with certain elementary knowledge about democracy and its functioning. Indicator No 8 of political knowledge indicates that its quality in Slovakia improves gradually with age from 15 to 25 years old with the exception of knowledge about functioning of parliamentary democracy. This knowledge is closely connected with the process of school education on democracy and citizenship in specialized subjects - civics and society teaching. This knowledge is greatly influenced by a transformation process of the political system in post-communist countries such as Slovakia.

Publications:

Macháček L.: Final report from the survey Political participation of young people in Europe: (sociological survey) Trnava, CERYS FF UCM, 2005. - 58 p.  icon download (192.27 KB)

Macháček L.: Political participation of young people in Slovakia. Youth and society. 2005, No 2, pp.39-55  icon download (249.68 KB)

Macháček L.: Political Knowledge and the political attitudes of youth in EU and Slovakia. In CENYR,UCM Trnava 2005.pp. 36-46  icon download (260.80 KB)

Macháček L.: Slovak youth: Test of the elementary knowledge about politics and democracy. Pedagogical orientation 2,2005, pp.15-21

Type of sampling, collection and sample:

First empirical phase (February 2004) of the research strategy comprised a qualitative survey in a form of group dialogues with the target groups (5) and individual depth interview (4).

Second empirical phase (December 2004 and January 2005) was an extensive survey on a sample of 982 respondents between the ages of 15 and 25 in a form of face to face discussions. Data collection was secured by ASA Ltd (dr.V.Palásek), Palisády 32, Bratislava.

Quotation:

CERYS FF UCM in Trnava: Political participation of young people 2004 / October2004

icon Questionnaire in English (209.55 KB)

icon Questionnaire in Slovak (221.01 KB)

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