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Party Youth Wings in the Twenty-First Century

Comparative Politics
Political Participation
Political Parties
Party Members
Survey Research
Youth
P294
Duncan McDonnell
Griffith University
Anika Gauja
University of Sydney
Caterina Froio
Sciences Po Paris

Abstract

While there has been a vast amount of research conducted on party organizations in recent decades, their youth wings have been almost entirely overlooked. This is surprising, not only because youth wings represent key ‘entry points’ into political parties, but also because significant proportions of elected representatives in most democracies have come through their party youth wings. When we look at youth wings, we are thus looking at ‘the party members and leaders of tomorrow’. By consequence, understanding how they function and why young people join them can help us understand how the relationship between parties and society may be changing. To do so, this panel presents the results of four recent studies of major centre-left and centre-right party youth wings in Austria, Australia, Germany, Italy, Spain, and Sweden. Using online surveys of two parties in each country, the papers examine why young people decide to participate in parties, why they remain in them, and how they practice membership. The papers thus shed light on the connections parties establish with young people, along with contributing to research on the evolution of contemporary political party organizations.

Title Details
Why do Young People Join Political Parties in Spain and Italy and Why do they Stay? View Paper Details
Party Youth in Austria and Germany: A Comparison of the Youth Wings of the Social Democratic and Christian Democratic Parties View Paper Details
Explaining variations in young people’s motivations to join Swedish political youth organisations View Paper Details
Australian Party Youth Wings as Political Boys Clubs View Paper Details