"Young Chileans’ Views of Citizenship: Findings from the First Generation Born After the Reinstitution of Democracy"
Through a qualitative methodology, this study examines meanings attached to citizenship, barriers for citizenship, motivations for civic engagement, and aspirations as citizens in a sample (n = 71) of Chilean youth that grew up during the transition to democracy. The meanings youth attached to citizenship include membership, entitlement to rights and responsibilities, active participation, being informed, and voting. Participants perceived that practices of the political class, the economic system, and social disparities are barriers to exercising citizenship. They challenge the principles of a social order they consider unjust and advance proposals for social transformation that claim for social justice, reducing socio-economic disparities, discrimination, and bringing the political class closer to ordinary citizens. Findings reflect critical and cultural notions of citizenship. Contrasting their actual experiences with their aspirations for citizenship, participants feel politically inefficacious as they perceive they lack the power to influence the sociopolitical system. Implications for sociopolitical development and youth policy are discussed.
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