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The Political Participation of Older People in Europe : The Greying of Our Democracies

Source: OAI

ABSTRACT This book is the first comparative analysis of the political behaviour of older people. European democracies are ageing, which makes older people one of the largest groups in democratic politics in the first half of the 21st century. How and why do older people differ in their political participation from younger people? This book opposes the idea that a political ‘war of the generations’ will be waged in ageing societies. Its objective is to put the debate about the political behaviour of older people on a sound empirical basis and to generate a more balanced view. Older people do not behave uniformly in a different manner from younger people across European societies. For political participation in later life, it matters where and when individuals have grown up and in which country context they become old. 1 Introduction: The Political Participation of Older People in an Era of Demographic Ageing .............................................................. 1 1.1 Exploring the political participation of older people in Europe ................... 4 1.2 The ‘state of the art’ in the literature on the political participation of older people 12 1.3 A model for studying the political participation of older people ................ 18 1.4 The country-level implications of age-related effects ................................ 23 1.5 Organisation of the book ............................................................................. 27 2 An Age-Centred Model of Political Participation .................. 33 2.1 Assumptions about human nature ............................................................... 33 2.2 A modified resource-based perspective on political participation .............. 36 2.3 Age-related effects on political behaviour and their implications for ageing societies 44 2.4 Summary of propositions ............................................................................ 55 3 Voting Participation .................................................................. 59 3.1 The cohort explanation of voting participation ........................................... 61 3.2 Methodological excursion: an international cross-sectional approach ....... 64 3.3 Independent individual-level variables ....................................................... 76 3.4 International cross-sectional regression analysis ........................................ 81 3.5 Summary and discussion ............................................................................ 96 4 Party Choice in Britain and West Germany ........................ 100 4.1 Voting for old age interests: the failure of grey parties ............................ 104 4.2 Descriptive analysis of age groups and political generations ................... 107 4.3 Combined hypothesis testing in multivariate regressions ......................... 118 4.4 Summary and discussion .......................................................................... 132 5 Membership of Political Organisations ................................ 135 5.1 The dynamics of changing membership structures ................................... 138 5.2 Analysing differences at the individual level ........................................... 145 5.3 Longitudinal analysis of age structures of membership in 25 European countries 157 3 5.4 Summary and discussion .......................................................................... 168 6 Non-institutionalised Participation outside Organisations . 172 6.1 Average levels of participation and the age ratio by country ................... 175 6.2 Longitudinal analysis of Western Europe 1981–2000 .............................. 179 6.3 Multivariate regression analysis ............................................................... 183 6.4 Summary and discussion .......................................................................... 193 7 The Experience of Older Participants in the English Council Tax Protests in 2004/2005............................................................... 195 7.1 The background of the council tax protests and protesters ....................... 196 7.2 Resources and motivation to protest in old age ........................................ 201 7.3 The experience of social images of old age and protest ........................... 211 7.4 The lack of a common senior identity ...................................................... 215 7.5 Mobilisation and opportunities for older protesters .................................. 218 7.6 A new generation of protesting older people ............................................ 220 7.7 Summary and discussion .......................................................................... 222 8 Summary and Conclusions ..................................................... 226 8.1 Older people’s political participation – a summary .................................. 227 8.2 Why the findings matter for political behaviourists and social gerontologists 239 8.3 Why the findings matter for ageing democracies ..................................... 242 Appendix .............................................................................................. 252 References ............................................................................................ 257

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