The Political Participation of Older People in Europe: The Greying of Our Democracies

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“The Political Participation of Older People in Europe: The Greying of Our Democracies”

by Achim Goerres

2009, Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

This book is the first comparative analysis of the political behaviour of older people. European democracies are ageing, which makes older people one of the largest groups in democratic politics in the first half of the 21st century. How and why do older people differ in their political participation from younger people? This book opposes the idea that a political ‘war of the generations’ will be waged in ageing societies. Its objective is to put the debate about the political behaviour of older people on a sound empirical basis and to generate a more balanced view. Older people do not behave uniformly in a different manner from younger people across European societies. For political participation in later life, it matters where and when individuals have grown up and in which country context they become old.

Sample material:

Table of Contents

Chapter 1: Introduction

Chapter 5: Membership in Organisations

Chapter 8: Conclusions

Technical Appendix


Czech Sociological Review, 2009, 45/6 by John A. Vincent, University of Exeter, UK.


“…The book is particularly valuable for one very important negative finding which should be cited often and powerfully. Goerres is able to demonstrate through careful analysis of the evidence, that the fears that an ageing population will lead to democracies being dominated politically by older people using their voting numbers to skew the welfare state and exploit younger generations, is a myth…”

Political Studies Review, 2010, 8: 429 by Séan Hanley, University College London, UK.


“…Goerres’ clearly written, thorough and original book offers a powerful corrective to superficial notions that population ageing is turning Western democracies into gerontocracies subject to a growing monolithic ‘grey vote’, and it offers an excellent springboard for the development of the more sophisticated political science agenda on ‘greying democracies’ that Goerres calls for.”

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