Published: July 2017
Author(s): Sioned Pearce

Despite clear linkages between conceptualisations and perceptions of politics, society, culture and territorial rescaling, research into young people’s political engagement, participation and representation is underrepresented in the field of social and cultural geography. Here the gap is addressed using perceptions of devolved politics, as a form of territorial rescaling, among young people living in Wales. Specifically, it shows the geographical scales at which young people locate their political concerns and where responsibility for these concerns is perceived to lie, with a focus on the National Assembly for Wales and the Welsh Government. This is a key contribution to our understanding of the role devolution plays in youth political engagement in the light of the following: the relative infancy of the devolved U.K. institutions; their asymmetrical development and increasing divergences; the growing variation in turnout among young people for different types of election and referenda; and the lack of research examining the youth engagement dimension of Welsh devolution as a political, social and cultural process of territorial rescaling in the U.K. The paper concludes with a critique of the notion that devolution poses a ‘politics of hope’ for youth political engagement in Wales, a very different picture to Scotland.

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