Social representations of “apolitical people” among different citizenship styles of Greek youth
The present study focuses on different types of political engagement (citizenship styles) among Greek youth and their perception of apolitical people. International literature provides various concepts of “apolitical” behaviour, leading us to suppose the existence of a controversy-oriented apoliticism. Certain concepts correspond to a positively perceived notion (seemingly apolitical citizens: latent engagement), while others to a negatively perceived notion (genuine passivity). Our sample consists of 83 men and 112 women aged from 19 to 35 who replied to a set of questions regarding their political engagement (interest, participation, alternative participation and political self-definition) and their perception of apoliticism (perceived traits of apolitical people, perception of apolitical behaviour and its consequences). Building on Amna & Ekman’s (2014) study, we apply multivariate cluster analysis technique on empirical data derived from our study (standardized scores of political participation and political interest) in order to investigate the extent to which their typology applies among Greek youth. The results of the analysis confirm that we have to consider four distinctive forms of political engagement corresponding to active, standby, unengaged, and disillusioned citizens. Furthermore, we notice differences between those groups and their political self-definition. Combining this analytical framework with the use of social representations theory provides a better understanding of how the concept of apoliticism is reflected among Greek youth. We find that citizenship styles represent apolitical people in a different way: the more politically engaged groups are anchored in a negative perception of apolitical people and consequences of apolitical behavior in Greek society, while the less politically engaged groups have a more positive perception.