This work is an examination of the popular discourse which claims young people are apathetic and disengaged from politics. It is argued that this discourse is based upon two faulty conceptual assumptions; firstly, that youth is a period of linear transition to adulthood, and secondly, that the discourse applies an unproblematised notion of politics which has its origin in the eighteenth century Scottish Enlightenment. The research used in-depth qualitative interviews to explore the ways in which young people operating across the political spectrum understand and practice politics. The findings suggest that the narrow, liberal model of politics is the hegemonic model of politics for participants. However, this hegemony is challenged by participants’ own ‘political’ practices, the collapse of liberalism’s public/private divide under conditions of late modernity, and an interconnected sense of self. Contrary to the discourse of apathetic and disengaged youth, the study identifies a number of ways of understanding and practicing politics, particularly in light of social processes – such as individualisation and new social movements – driving contemporary social change.