The democratic generation: political and ideological changes in portuguese youth
Sociologia Universidade da Beira Interior Covilhã, Portugal
The first generation of electors fully socialized in a democratic context is quit recent in Portugal. This new generation is sociologically different from former generations in many aspects: education, access to information, consumption, life-styles or social values. All these changes contributed to an adjustment in youth's political behaviour and ideological orientation. Their relationship with the political system and their ideological orientations along a left-right continuum is altering in many aspects, with visible consequences on the reorganization of the portuguese political and partisan scenario. Along this paper we emphasise two main aspects of these changes - left-right political orientations and partisanship, which are, in fact, deeply related. We believe that these changes in political behaviour and ideological orientation are the result of the confluence of three processes - individualization, post-modernization and generational change. We start our paper with a theoretical analysis of the relation between these three processes and its contribution to a better understanding of the relationship between youth, politics and ideologies. Secondly, we'll find some empirical evidences that, in a large number of aspects, corroborate the theoretical framework proposed. To do so, we use the Portuguese data from two indirect sources - European Social Studies (ESS 2004) and European Values Study (EVS 1999), as well as a questionnaire designed specifically to answer to our main questions. Using mostly covariance analysis we'll focus on the intergenerational differences, as well as on the socialization process, trying to understand the main differences between generations and, specially, the motives behind those differences. The conclusions reveal not only the impact of the political deinstitutionalization, associated with the individualization process, but also the influence of the values change, related with the post-modernization process. Finally, they show the political impact of two of the main differences between pre and post democracy cohorts - educational level and democratic socialization - reinforcing the importance of generational effects on the Portuguese political, partisan and ideological changes.