The Government and public debates tend to see young people as politically apathetic free-riders, taking the benefits of citizenship without voting. In this context, apathy is seen as an outcome of low political literacy or as resolvable through technocratic reforms of voting procedures. Thus, the Government aims to encourage participation by introducing compulsory citizenship lessons in schools and making voting easier. This book critically engages with these views, asking how young people themselves understand and live politics. Using an innovative methodology, it argues that young people live age, class, gender and ethnicity in ways that are political. Based on this broader understanding of politics, it concludes that young people are not apathetic but feel their interests and concerns are not addressed by politicians. Indeed, they are highly sensitive towards the limited nature of their political citizenship and this plays a key role in their disinclination to participate in mainstream politics.

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