Scientific article
Open access

Talking about youth: The depoliticization of young people in the public domain

Published inAmerican Behavioral Scientist, vol. 64, no. 5, p. 591-607
Publication date2020

In this article, we employ data from comparative claims analysis of five major newspapers in nine European countries between 2010 and 2016 to examine discourse around youth. We look at the ways in which collective actors frame youth in the public domain and how this may provide discursive opportunities understood in terms of the extent to which public discourse portrays young people as agents of social change. More specifically, we argue that young people are depoliticized in the public domain. We find that public statements and more generally public discourse about youth tend to depict them as actors who do not have political aims or to focus on other, nonpolitical characteristics. Our exploratory analysis shows that, while youth are fairly present as actors in the public domain, they are only rarely addressed or discussed in political terms. Moreover, where they are addressed politically, it is in negative terms, with few political claims. At the same time, we observe important cross-national variations, whereby the depoliticization process looks to be further matured in some countries relative to others. This process of depoliticization of youth in the public domain, in turn, has important implications on their potential for acting as political agents and for their political activism.

  • Youth
  • Public discourse
  • Depoliticization
  • Political claims analysis
Citation (ISO format)
GIUGNI, Marco, GRASSO, Maria. Talking about youth: The depoliticization of young people in the public domain. In: American Behavioral Scientist, 2020, vol. 64, n° 5, p. 591–607. doi: 10.1177/0002764219885429
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal0002-7642

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