Diversities and Generational Change

  • Alistair Ross
Part of the Palgrave Politics of Identity and Citizenship Series book series ( CAL)


One of the pervading issues in the discussions identified was the social reaction to diversity and difference. The young people who took part in the discussions came from very diverse backgrounds, often very different from those of their parents and grandparents, representative of the diversity of young people in the European Union. The two traditional constructs of citizenship—jus sanguinis, by descent, and jus solis, by birthplace—seem of less relevance to them in their construction of political identities. This chapter examines how these young people’s experiences of this contributed to their construction of political identities. After an initial exploration of the nature and kinds of diversity that make up contemporary Europe (from migrant, Roma and ‘reframed’ origins), I examine the responses young people made to this. These were partly based on their own experiences of growing up in diverse communities, and partly on their responses to the 2015 movement of refugee and asylum seekers, largely from Syria and Afghanistan. Most, though not all, of their reactions were of acceptance. There was a common reaction against what they saw as racism—again, not universal. Though often reluctant to over-generalise, they associated racism particularly with older people, people from the countryside, and less-educated people. The chapter then discusses their perceptions of a generational divide, sometimes between them and their parents, sometimes between them and their grandparents. Associated with this was a questioning of the political use of nationalism, and how this impacted on their sense of national identity.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alistair Ross
    • 1
  1. 1.London Metropolitan UniversityLondonUK

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