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Commitment in Democracy

Publication Authors: 
Seana Moran

This thought experiment is based on the model of how commitment functions depending on whether people's efforts maintain the status quo or aim for change. Unfortunately, studies of youth commitments tend to focus on predefined "right" targets instead of allowing young people to speak about what they really commit to. Leaders and researchers lament that youth participation politically is dropping. Are youth really uncommitted? Or are our methods not seeing their commitments? Are we seeing a trend away from representative, hierarchical, institutionalized, vote orientation, and assimilation, toward participation/experiential, socialization of each other (not just older generations socializing younger), decentralized networks, initiative orientation, and expression? If so, our challenge, then, is how can we as researchers capture these new commitment targets and resources?