TRUST IN INSTITUTIONS AND POLITICAL ENGAGEMENT AMONG STUDENTS: A QUANTITATIVE RESEARCH

Roxana-Mihaela VASILIU

Abstract


Establishing a relation based on trust between citizens and institutions leads to a good functioning of society and a legitimation of the political system. According to previous research (IRES, 2010, 2012, 2016, IMAS, 2011), Romanians– particularly youth, show low confidence in institutions, especially in politics. Why does this generate negative effects? If citizens have confidence in institutions, they can give a meaning to their civic and political involvement. When level of trust tends to be negative, the motivations to engage in civic or political actions will decrease based on the presumption that even if change is desired, the institutions will not allow it to happen. Thus, the paper aims to analyse the degree of students’ trust in public institutions and their civic/ political behaviour, in the context in which these indicators can influence – on medium and long term -, the type of political culture and the relationship between government and citizens. The study is based on a quantitative research conducted between December 2019 – January 2020 among students from three specializations within the Faculty of Philosophy and Social-Political Sciences, “Alexandru Ioan Cuza” University of Iasi, Romania on a sample of 433 subjects, and had as main directions of analysis: the level of trust in public institutions, the forms of civic/ political involvement practiced by students, the ability to effect changes at high level. The results bring into attention that youth have limited trust in institutions and this fact can justify an apathy condition and insecurity regarding social and political change. At the same time, most students are unsatisfied by the Romanian democracy regime. The most common forms of civic and political involvement over the last year have been voting, signing petitions and participating in volunteer oriented work.

Keywords


political culture, public institutions, voting, democracy, civic and political engagement

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