Youth conceptions on elections and mediated democracy: what patterns reveals timeline?

Brites, M., Cristina Ponte, Isabel Menezes (2011). Youth conceptions on elections and mediated democracy: what patterns reveals timeline?. ECREA PolCom Section Conference 2011, Madrid, October 20th and 21st.

Abstract: The multidimensional connection between youth, journalism and the political can be very fruitful in the study of democracy. Gurevitch and Blumler (2004: 339) call our attention to the need of thinking beyond of the simple idea of positive or negative poles of citizenship. It’s rather preferable to think citizenship as a “many-faceted richness” concept. “Civic agency has an individual dimension, but its fruition is manifested collectively, where a sense of ‘we’ emerges to form discursive publics and, beyond that, other forms of political participation” (Dahlgren, 2009: 101). Gurevitch and Blumler also stress that the temporal dimension of comparative research it’s a very important component because of communication flux (2004: 334). Different moments of election campaigns are significant political and media events if we want to go deeper in youth political thought, either in family either with peer interaction that can promote agency and capacity to act in ordinary life. During political campaigns the daily life discussions can give us the reactivation of political issues and its importance among daily relationships and precisely those informal discussions can have huge significance as a means of temporary political information (Magalhães, 2008: 480). Within a PhD research on youth, participation and journalism in Portugal, we have done interviews with young people – 15-18 years old – that were chose because they have different types of participation. Thirty five of the first interviews were done in 2010, several months after the longest period of elections in Portugal (European, in June, Parliamentary, in September, and Local, in October, 2009). We interviewed again 30 of the initial 35 young citizens in January and February 2011, after this year January Presidential elections. What means did they use to get information about elections? What do they think about the way journalist made the elections coverage? With whom did they speak about it? And, in more general terns, what do they consider to be the role of journalism regarding to the possibility to connect them with democracy? Concerning these questions, what patterns can in find in these different moments in this mediated democracy in the context of Peter Dahlgren multidimensional model of Civic Cultures?