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Tomorrow's leaders?: understanding the involvement of young party members in six European democracies

By Michael Bruter and Sarah Harrison


Using a mass survey of young members of 15 parties in six European democracies, this article explores their motivations, perceptions, attitudes, and behavior. In a context of general disenchantment with politics and febrile participation, particularly among young citizens, this article explains why a large number of youngsters still decide to get involved in one of the most traditional forms of activism: party membership. The study uses a comparative survey of 2,919 young party members ages 18 to 25 and shows that they fit into three categories: moral-, social-, and professional-minded. Young party members significantly differ in terms of their perceptions, preferences, behavior, and desired future involvement. The findings shed unprecedented light on the hearts and minds of tomorrow’s political leaders, a subgroup of professional-minded young party members who distinguish themselves from the majority of ideologically driven, moral-minded activists and some less motivated, disciplined, and reliable social-minded members

Topics: JA Political science (General)
Publisher: Sage Publications
Year: 2009
DOI identifier: 10.1177/0010414009332463
OAI identifier:
Provided by: LSE Research Online
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