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New research project: Political Engagement Among Young People

Norwegian Social Research (NOVA) has initiated a new research project about political attitudes and engagement among Norwegian youth. Trust and mistrust in societal and political institutions among ordinary and radical youth is central to the study.


Recent research shows that today’s youth are generally straighter than ever: they are doing well at school, they drink less and they are generally behaving more agreeably.

At the same time, the mass media paint a picture of some young people’s political engagement associated with right-winged nationalism or with radical Islamic groups.

Against such a backdrop of different representations of the young, the NOVA researchers Ørnulf Seippel, Åse Strandbu and Viggo Vestel are to investigate various sides of how political opinions and political engagement are expressed.

The objective of the study is to create a better understanding of the social conditions under which young people’s engagement in politics are formed.

Young in Oslo
A first part of the study applies the Young in Oslo Study, based on a questionnaire carried out among 10.000 young people between 14 and 16 years of age in Oslo. The research team will investigate the political attitudes most prevalent among the young today (2012).

The researchers will try to find out, inter alia, whether there is a connection between various political attitudes and trust in society’s basic institutions. They will also investigate the development of young people’s political attitudes over a period of time.

The edges of the mainstream
The second part of the study is qualitative and will be based upon interviews with young people at the edges of the mainstream.

The objective here is to acquire better understandings of how their life experiences might cause mistrust, dissatisfaction, and frustrations, and whether such experiences may lead to more radical political views that are difficult to express through conventional and established political channels.

The study is planned to finish at the end of 2014, and the primary findings are expected to be available for publication late in 2013.

The research team expresses its gratitude to GE Foundation for financial support.

Contact: Project leader Ørnulf Seippel, ornulf.seippel (at)

Read more about NOVA's youth research

Tags: NOVA, Norway, Political socialization of children and youth, Youth issues, youth, media
Published May 30, 2013 11:02 AM - Last modified May 30, 2013 11:33 AM