Youth, Politics, and the Future
MTV Italy kept investigating the relation between Italian youth and politics, with the OSSERVATORIO GIOVANI E POLITICA project. The study, after the first evidences from November 2012, continued with two more waves, one in January before Italian elections, focused on the feelings towards this important political event and on how much trust young Italians put in the ability of their political system to face social and economic issues, and the third on May 2013, with the intent to analyze the perception of the future in Italy for young people, related to the economic situation and the job opportunities.
The research structure was built together with T-Poll, interviewing 18-34 people from Your View Panel, with 499 CAWI interviews for the second wave, and 512 for the third: the global project (3 waves) involved in the end 1552 young Italian people.
WAVE 2 HIGHLIGHTS
Italian youth spontaneously links politics to a constellation of negative concepts, such as corruption, ineptitude, money and shame: politicians continue to represent a negative symbol of Italian contemporary situation, and this leads to an ongoing estrangement of young people from the so-called Res Publica: 68% of the interviewed claimed to be detached from politics.
Nonetheless, there are still people who believe in politics: young Italians know that the current political offer is not able to represent their ideals (only 9% strongly agrees with the item “In this moment, there are more parties/movements/political figures able to represent me”) and their hope is slowly falling (85% of people claim to be “disenchanted towards a real political change”), but they still state that voting is an important vehicle to influence political system and change the actual situation (52%, +7 points vs. wave 1) and their intention to vote raised up to 72% (it was 62% in wave 1).
Internet and new media as a new expression platform: new media are seen as a powerful tool to express their own voices and ideas and a form of political participation (47%, +5 points from wave 1), and as a precious source of information.
WAVE 3 HIGHLIGHTS
After the elections, which gave a really unstable political situation and two entire months before the birth of the actual government, our third wave on May revealed that some of the hope that young people placed in voting was gone, and a general disappointment for the lack of representative political proposals arose (77% agrees with “I Hoped for a change, but so far there haven’t been any fresh NOVIT° in the political scenario”).
The hope for a change is actually placed in the renewed parliament, now one of the youngest in Europe: this renewal, which is mainly formal, generated a perception of a possible variation of the future political conditions, even if this has not happened yet: responsibility and seriousness are now urgent demands made by Italian young public opinion towards the political class, following a solemn invocation about politicians ‘recent responsibilities recently made by the President of the Republic (whose words gathered a 76% agreement among our interviewed).
This request is the result of a strong awareness of the situation of young generations in the country: they live in the economic crisis (75% state that it is having a deep impact on their lives, consistently with the main findings of The Next Normal research) and they think to Italy as a “no country for young men”: 76% claim that Italy doesn’t value qualities and skills, and only 16% believes that the country can still offer good opportunities.
The answer to this situation is a strong pragmatic attitude, which can be divided into three reactions:
- ADAPTING: young people who adapt themselves to jobs that don’t match their expectations and their education paths (81% agreement), waiting for something better.
- MOVING: 75% of the interviewed agree that moving abroad could become necessary to be rewarded for their real job skills and a quarter of young Italian open to the possibility of moving to another city, in the country or abroad.
- STUDYING: a third strategy is to invest in education, raising their knowledge to better face job competition (28% agreement).
Another practice that the third wave investigated is a less frequent option, but strongly growing during last years, and that is entrepreneurship, seen as a possible answer to economic crisis: this choice is a concrete way for the future of almost a quarter of our panelists and what drives them is an attempt to react to the difficult economic situation (83%), an answer to the self-realization needs (84%) and a choice with positive consequences for the whole society (83%).
In spite of the difficult country scenario, Italian youth remains determined and with a positive look to the future, but well aware that the future has to be built with their own hands: the study calls them self-made people: 59% thinks that their future will be brighter, but almost all of them (80% of this 59%) think that this will be due to their own abilities and dedication.
Written by Morena D’Incoronato, Head of Research at MTV Italy in Milan.