The concept of youth participation

Terry Barber

    Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


    A conceptual framework of youth participation is necessary for its development. How to turn rhetoric and language to a genuine and authentic engagement with young people? We need to examine the philosophy and the context. How and where young people participate? And when looking at participation, we also need to look at non-participation: why do young people not participate? For example in the UK, there is a whole debate going on about the democratic deficit. About how and why young people are simply “off” due to the bureaucratic language and mechanisms which do not motivate them to participate in any way. Also there is to some extend and in some cases a manipulative approach that tends to “skip” young people and consider them as adults but not in a positive sense: rather in denying their right to be young. Adults don't want young people, they want young adults. And this is an experience shared by many colleagues around Europe. We need to realise that participation is central to democracy, to well-being, to the socalled “global village”. The quote of Kofi Annan on the slide 2 places the young people at the centre of these notions of citizenship, democracy, power and society. Truly Margaret Thatcher thought that “there is no such thing as society”. There is! There is a society that condemns and sometimes tries to domesticate young people.
    Original languageEnglish
    Title of host publicationNew ways of youth participation: based on information and communication technologies: documentation of the seminar organised by the Directorate of Youth and Sport of the Council of Europe, European Youth Centre, Strasbourg, 16-18 March, 2009
    EditorsGisele Evrard
    PublisherCouncil of Europe
    Number of pages21
    Publication statusPublished - 2009


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