“Can I express my voice? Yes, but with restraints “- Young people's perceptions of citizenship, participation and voice.


The UN (https://population.un.org/wpp/DataQuery/) estimate that in 2020 about 40% of the population will be under the age of 25. Regardless of the places where they are born and raised, young people are essential for the future of society. Thus, progress and change depend on a conscious, active, creative, independent and responsible generation. Regarding the present, younger age groups show they have become aware of their responsibility, leading some of today’s most relevant social movements. Mostly thanks to the impact of online environments - from the fight for arms control in the US, to the climate change student strikes, these spaces have become central to the youngsters’ integration and political expression (Kahne & Bowyer, 2019). Connected 24/7, the media are extensions of teenagers’ lives (Green & Hannon, 2007; (Pinto, Pereira, Pereira, & Ferreira, 2011). But to what extent do youngsters embrace citizenship and feel that their voices are valued?

This paper aims to reflect on youth perspectives on citizenship, participation and citizen voice. Analysis of the responses obtained to a questionnaire applied to 200 Portuguese secondary school students points out: a) although young people have a concrete idea of ​​what they understand by “citizenship”, there is a lack of b) involvement in civic and political movements and associations, and c) a disbelief in the importance of their voice in society.