Acta Politica

, Volume 53, Issue 2, pp 204–230 | Cite as

What about the welfare state? exploring precarious youth political participation in the age of grievances

  • Matteo BassoliEmail author
  • Lara Monticelli
Original Article


In this paper, the authors analyse non-institutionalised political participation patterns of precarious urban youth in five European cities—Cologne (Germany), Geneva (Switzerland), Kielce (Poland), Lyon (France) and Turin (Italy)—following the 2008 financial crisis. In particular, the aim is to test the validity of the ‘grievance theory’ on precarious youth. In fact, the political participation of precarious youth has been overlooked to date. The article shows that across the cities, precarious workers exhibit higher levels of political participation owing to a sense of relative deprivation with respect to their regularly employed counterparts. The authors apply a logit analysis to duly consider the local context (i.e. unemployment regulations and labour market regulations). The empirical results show that precarious youth are more active than regular workers when unemployment regulations and labour market regulations are at their intermediate level, featuring as ‘issue-specific’ political opportunity structures. In sum, the article contributes to the debate on occupational disadvantage and political participation, shifting the focus on precarious young workers.


Non-institutionalised political participation Job precariousness Grievance theory Youth Welfare regimes Political opportunity structures 


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© Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of LaweCampus UniversityNovedrateItaly
  2. 2.Institute for Humanities and Social SciencesScuola Normale SuperioreFlorenceItaly

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