Political participation of older adults: The Iaioflautas movement in Catalonia

Blanche Tarragó, D, Fernández-Ardèvol M.  2013.  Political participation of older adults: The Iaioflautas movement in Catalonia. First UOC International Research Symposium. Universitat Oberta de Catalunya; 2013, Dec. 18.


Originally founded in the city of Barcelona in 2011, the Iaioflautas movement (www.iaioflautas.org) gathers elderly activist who wish to give voice to their demands in a non-institutional organization in adhesion to the wider 15M social movement. Although there has been some research lately on the political participation of senior citizens, no study has been yet published on the case of the Iaioflautas to date.

The main goal of this research is to examine patterns of the political participation of older people in Catalonia through the Iaioflautas organization. It is of our interest to inquire into their personal political trajectory over the lifespan, their participatory experience in Iaioflautas, the role of other actors in their political activity, and – last but not least – their use of (mobile) Information and Communication Technologies (ICT).

To this end, fifteen semi-structured interviews were conducted with members of the organization in Barcelona. Interviews were carried out by the first author between July and September 2013, spanning between 1 to 3 hours. Conversations allowed gaining insights of senior activist involvement, motivations and perceptions.

Preliminary results show, first of all, that most participants acknowledge moderate shift in their participatory patterns since the 15M movement uprising. They mostly hold vast experience in political participation, combining involvement in political parties, trade unions, and voluntary organizations. Second, participants describe mid-high to very high intensity of active engagement, and their motivations coincide greatly towards societal-level interests. Third, most of them manifest annoyance of negative social stereotyping of the elders; however, they perceive positive social reward due to their political involvement and their ICT uses. Finally, they remain skeptical regarding the possibilities of ICT as an enhancement tool for political participation opportunities for older people.

UOC Symposium 2013 Website

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