"Not My Place: Bridging the gap between young people and politics" A new documentary film.
Evidence from MYPLACE (www.fp7-myplace.eu) suggests that interest in politics, political attitudes and behaviour varies according to dimensions such as locality, class, gender, ethnicity, religion and age. In other words, political interest and engagement links closely to a young person’s economic, social and cultural capital. This sets significant challenges for policy makers and suggests the need for a differentiated policy approach that takes account of social structural inequality and diversity.
If the good news is that, on the whole, young people have a fairly substantial interest in politics and political issues, the bad news is that this does not translate into comparable levels of engagement with formal politics and the political system. The most important reasons to emerge from the research to date are low levels of trust and high levels of cynicism in most of the MYPLACE countries towards politics, politicians and the political system. While there is general support for democracy as a system, many young people seem to feel that it is not working well for them. A significant number believe that politicians are corrupt, and there is an overriding feeling that politicians are not interested in young people ‘like them’.
Whatever the causes, MYPLACE has revealed a vicious circle in which young people feel that the political system is not responsive to their needs and therefore do not try to influence it.
"Not My Place" draws on the MYPLACE research data and explores some of the key findings on political participation with a group of young people who are active and engaged in local political issues and youth democracy. Further comment and insight is provided by elected politicians and practitioners. Through the film, we hope to pull out some of the policy implications of the findings through the reflections of young people and policy makers, and also to suggest some constructive ways forward to address the challenges that the findings present.