Experiential learning as recruitment strategy: Exploring political party internship programs for university students in Hong Kong

Research output: Contribution to conferencePapers

Abstract

Recent studies show that political party membership in many advanced industrial societies have shrunk substantially and the decline is particularly evident in the younger generations, who are increasingly turning away from institutional forms of political participation and turning to favor extra-institutional forms of activism such as protest, single-issue movement, and online activism. To try reversing the trend, many political parties are eager to develop strategies to recruit more new young members and party internship for university students is one of them. But research on this issue is rare. From the perspective of experiential learning, this paper explores these internship programs in Hong Kong, an advanced industrial city and a semi-democracy under Chinese sovereignty where political parties are relatively underdeveloped and have small memberships. In-depth interviews with party officials and life history interviews with young party members were conducted to examine the role of party internship in recruiting new blood for political parties. The tentative findings show that party internship can play three major roles, namely 1) giving political parties the opportunity to get in touch with young people, 2) enhancing young people’s confidence and trust in the parties they intend to join, and 3) socializing young people to learn the beliefs of the party and increase their interest in a political career.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015

Citation

Ng, H. Y. (2015, June). Experiential learning as recruitment strategy: Exploring political party internship programs for university students in Hong Kong. Paper presented at the Redesigning Pedagogy: Leaders, Values and Citizenship in 21st Century Education, held in conjunction with 11th International CitizED Conference and the Arts, Humanities and Literature Conference 2015: Redesigning pedagogy: Leaders, values and citizenship in 21st century education, Nanyang Technological University, Singapore.

Keywords

  • Citizenship education
  • Higher education

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