How does the 'crisis generation' relate to politics?

GT 4.1 Las consecuencias actitudinales de la crisis económica

Gema M. García Albacete (Universidad Carlos III de Madrid)
Irene Martín Cortés (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid)
Javier Lorente Fontaneda (Universidad Autónoma de Madrid)
Sesión 1
Día: miércoles,18 de septiembre de 2013
Hora: 15:00 a 17:30
Lugar: E11SEM03

The current economic crisis is affecting the way in which Spanish citizens relate to politics. Some of the signals are the number and frequency of political demonstrations and protest events organized by diverse social sectors or slogans from the Indignados movement such as ‘They do not represent us’. Young people have participated to a bigger extent in this movement than other age groups. Also, the economic crisis is particularly affecting them. Young people are more permeable to political processes given their more limited life experiences (Jennings y Niemi 1981: 380; Kinder y Sears 1985: 724). Consequently, if societal transformations are effectively changing citizens’ political attitudes and behaviors, young people is a convenient group of the population to detect those changes. In addition, political attitudes crystallized during early adulthood are considered to have a substantial stability across the life-span. Without disregarding the existence of life-long learning processes, basic orientations acquired during the impressionable years will serve as the cognitive design used to structure future experiences (Ryder, 1965, p. 848). Our aim is to explore to what extent the young generation’s political engagement in this particular context reflects differences with regard to previous generations at the same age. On the one hand, political institutions are being questioned (the perception of political parties has become the country’s third main preoccupation according to recent surveys). On the other, some indicators bring some light to an otherwise traditionally disaffected society: the frequency of political discussions, levels of political interest and political news consumption has significantly increased during this period. Are young people echoing both tides of change to the same extent as the rest of society? Are they becoming more politically involved or more uninvolved? If both, is the young generation more polarized in terms of politically involved and uninvolved citizens than other age groups?

Palabras clave: Political attitudes, political behavior, young people, generations, economic crisis