Article

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

01/2009; DOI: 10.1057/9780230233959
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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    • "The fourth indicator is political participation (Campbell & Binstock, 2011; Goerres, 2009). "
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    DESCRIPTION: What major conflicts are likely to emerge in aging societies, and thus, what basic cleavages can we expect? Age groups and generations are important dimensions of social inequality. They might be assumed to become the primary lines of societal division and conflict as societies age. However, there are mediating institutions in the realm of politics and families that have so far kept these conflicts at bay. On the other hand, class conflicts may rise again as old age will be increasingly marked by the ‘vertical’ divisions of income, wealth, occupational status or education. In this chapter, I first discuss the salience of age and generational conflicts and the difference between them. I then analyze what social inequalities along the age and generation lines have developed, how these inequalities translate into political divisions, and why they usually do not manifest themselves as open conflicts. I also examine the emerging class inequalities and conflicts, and conclude by asking how the two lines of conflict, generation/age and class, are likely to shape the future of aging societies.
    Full-text · Research · May 2015
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    • "Scholars hold different positions regarding the effect of age on political activity [1] [2]. However, there is still a lack of research on older people's participation in social movements and the meanings of their involvement [3] [4]. "
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    ABSTRACT: In the last decade there has been a growing attention on the topic of civic engagement in the later life. Particularly, research on political participation of senior citizens is in an initial stage. Scholars hold different positions regarding the effect of age on political activity. However, there is still a lack of research on older people’s participation in social movements and the meanings of their involvement. Within the current context of protests, particularly among the 15M-Indignados movement, the Iaioflautas (“crusty grannies”) group appeared. Their main identity regards two features: they are older people and they are Indignados. To the authors’ knowledge, this is the first academic research on Iaioflautas.
    Full-text · Conference Paper · Dec 2013
    • "c o m / l o c a t e / j a g i n g interest, older people's political participation has been a key focus of research (e.g. Barnes, 2005; Carter & Beresford, 2000; Elbourne, 2008; Goerres, 2009; Reed, Cook, Bolter, & Douglas, 2008; Walker & Naegele, 1999; Warburton & Petriwskyj, 2007). However, age alone does not necessarily mean a common interest or set of interests (Walker, 2007), and older people do not necessarily see themselves as a group (Help the Aged, 2008). "
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    ABSTRACT: The importance of hearing older people's voices within local governance processes is well recognised; however, the increasing diversity among older people makes this complex. Questions around inclusion and exclusion, representation and representativeness create challenges for the ways in which diverse older people are engaged. This paper uses the results from a qualitative study conducted in Australia to address the key research question: how does diversity impact on older people's perceptions and experiences of barriers to participation in local governance? Results indicate that diversity impacts not simply on what barriers are reported by seniors, but on how those barriers are experienced. Patterns among the barriers reported and their relationship with diversity reflect questions around representation and inclusion. Thus despite broad acceptance of the notion that understanding diversity is integral to inclusion, challenges remain for older people's engagement with local governance processes. A deeper understanding of diversity and how it relates to inclusion are required.
    No preview · Article · Apr 2012 · Journal of Aging Studies
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