PhD defence: Xuan Li

Xuan Li

"Youth Policy, Youth Civic Engagement and Youth Civic Culture across Socio-political Settings: Comparing China and Europe".   

The thesis is available as an e-book via Academic books

Time and venue

Wednesday 25 September, 2019 at 14:00 at the University of Copenhagen, Centre for Health and Society, Department of Political Science, Øster Farimagsgade 5, DK-1353 Copenhagen K., room 4.2.26. Kindly note that the defence will start precisely at 14:00.

Assessment committee

  • Associate professor Uffe Jakobsen, Department of Political Science, University of Copenhagen (chair)
  • Associate professor Ane Bislev, Aalborg University
  • Associate professor emeritus Johannes Andersen, Aalborg University


Across different socio-political, socio-economic and geographical contexts, youth as an identity group has been incorporated into the political decision-making system differently and so does the youth policy have prioritized different aspects of youth life. In my PhD dissertation, I will particularly address youth policy, youth engagement and youth civic culture through a comparative lens in Europe and China. Besides from furthering our understanding of the dynamics of youth political psychology and that of the youth-related political institutions, the dissertation in the meantime tests two theories -- modernization theory and post-materialist theory, as put forward by Lipset and Fukuyama -- to see whether these two apply to non-western contexts, and has drawn the Eckstein's cultural-institutional congruence theory to explore whether the youth civic culture patterns are compatible with the corresponding political institutions in different contexts.

The dissertation consists of six self-contained research articles, with a mixed method that encompasses both semi-structured interview data and survey data. I have chosen Denmark, Hong Kong and Mainland China as my three case studies because they symbolize different stages of democratic, modernist, post-materialist development, which provides distinctive materials to test modernization theory and post-materialist theory. In the first four papers, each paper projects different meanings and layers of youth policy and youth-related political institutions. In the last two papers, they mainly focus on youth civic culture, thus offering a broad knowledge of the variations of their relationship with the corresponding youth-related political institutions, as guided by the cultural-institutional congruence theory. In combination, all the findings from the six articles help me situate myself in the role of policy advisor to give advice on how youth-related political institutions need to reform, so as to be aligned with the developing youth civic culture in different countries.

In conclusion, this dissertation speaks outside of the western hemisphere and draw on China into the comparison, which reshapes our understanding of modernization theory and post-materialist theory and how youth is being addressed outside the West.