Youth, Democracy and Civic Engagement: The 'Apathy is Boring' Surveys
Bastedo, H., Dougherty, I., LeDuc, L., Rudny, B., & Sommers, T. (2012). Youth, Democracy and Civic Engagement: The 'Apathy is Boring' Surveys. Retrieved from https://www.cpsa-acsp.ca/papers-2012/Leduc.pdf
Apathy is Boring is a national charitable organization that uses art and technology to educate youth about democracy. Over the past several years, it has reached youth through “street teams” at concerts and festivals across Canada, and at the same time surveyed those in attendance to better understand their attitudes toward issues of democratic participation and civic engagement. In this paper, we analyze the content of 4837 responses to these surveys, which have been collected annually since 2008. Attitudes toward voting and elections, volunteerism and community action are among the topics covered in all of the surveys. In the most recent (2010-11) waves, we added questions on representation, civic duty, and major social issues. While much of the recent literature on this topic finds declining participation of youth in traditional electoral politics, the evidence examined in this paper provides a window on the mechanisms through which young people might become more fully engaged in politics, and the possible implications of such engagement.