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Burnt by Democracy - Youth, Inequality, and the Erosion of Civic Life

  • Pocket

  • 2023

  • Engelsk

Burnt by Democracy traces the political ascendance of neoliberalism and its effects on youth. The book explores democracy and citizenship as described in interviews with over forty young people – ages 16 to 30 – who have either experienced homelessness or identify as an activist, living in five liberal democracies: Canada, Australia, New Zealand, the United States, and the United Kingdom.

Highlighting significant cuts to social and affordable housing, astronomical increases in the costs of higher education, and the transformation and erosion of state benefits systems, Jacqueline Kennelly argues that democracy’s decline is not occurring because young people are apathetic, or focused on informal politics, or unaware of their civic duties. Rather, it is because of collective misunderstanding about how democracy is actually structured, how individuals learn to participate, and how growing wealth inequality has undermined the capacity of those at the bottom to meaningfully advocate for changes that might improve their conditions.

Against a vivid and often heart-breaking backdrop of stories from young people struggling to survive and thrive under conditions of ever-expanding state retrenchment and inequality, Burnt by Democracy makes a timely and impassioned plea for protecting and strengthening democracy by truly levelling the playing field for all.

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