Youth and Society: Participation, Life-Satisfaction and Agency*
The democratic potential of the Estonian society can be assessed through the younger generation – what the patterns of their participation, their attitudes towards social-political topics and their barriers to being active citizens are.
The article is based on the studies conducted at the Institute of Social Studies of the University of Tartu. The long-term and cross-cultural comparative projects enable to analyse young people’s practices of active citizenship and their attitudes towards it. The studies show that the levels of civic and political participation among the young people in Estonia are similar to those of young generations in other European countries, and are not decreasing. Nevertheless, a significant share of young people is passive, and the digital opportunities have not brought along higher levels of participation. Among the youth and children, there is a group who would need more support to realize their potential in every sphere of life. The youth policy in Estonia is sufficiently inclusive, but sometimes the inclusion is limited only to the “youth topics” or to the most active group of youth. The adults still have a significant role to play in building up a more inclusive society. Although the young people and children are generally satisfied with their lives, the policy measures should be implemented to support those who cannot find the solutions to their problems by themselves or with the support of their families.
* Peer-reviewed article.