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Title: Youth and crisis : discourse networks and political mobilisation
Author: Krawatzek, Félix
ISNI:       0000 0004 6061 1532
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2015
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This thesis explores the meaning of "youth" and the political mobilisation of young people in key moments of crisis in Europe. Between 2005 and 2011, youth became critical for the consolidation of the authoritarian regime structures in Russia. I show that this process included the restructuring of the discourse about youth, the physical mobilisation of young people, and the isolation of oppositional youth. How valid are these findings for regime crises more generally? I answer this question through an analysis of the breakdown of the authoritarian Soviet Union during perestroika, the breakdown of unconsolidated democracy during the last years of the Weimar Republic, and the crisis of the democratic regime in France around 1968. The cross-regional and cross-temporal comparison of these episodes demonstrates that regimes lacking popular democratic support compensate for their insufficient legitimacy by trying to mobilise youth symbolically and politically. By developing a new method of textual analysis which combines qualitative content analysis and network analysis, the thesis offers a novel social science perspective on the meaning of youth in the four cases. My study shows how discursive structures about youth condition the possibility of political mobilisation of young people. The thesis makes three contributions to comparative politics. First, on an empirical level, my study offers new insights into social movements at moments of regime crisis in different political settings. Second, on a conceptual level, I refine our understanding of the symbolic significance of the terms "youth" and "generation" in moments when society is reorienting itself. I also examine the significance of "crisis" and argue that the term expresses openness and the possibility to remake the past and future. Third, on a methodological level, my thesis builds on the growing interest in textual analysis by developing a novel multi-level approach in three linguistic contexts, which offers insights into the structure of public discourse and the actors involved.
Supervisor: Sasse, Gwendolyn Sponsor: German National Academic Foundation
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Youth--Europe--Political activity ; Protest movements--Europe ; Democracy--Europe ; Europe--Social conditions--21st century ; Europe--Politics and government--21st century