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Joining the adventure? Exploring young people’s experience within spaces for youth participation in the United Kingdom and Greece

Tsekoura, Maria (2012)
Ph.D. thesis, University of Birmingham.

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Youth participation has gained increased prominence within recent policies and is expected to serve a number of agendas and aims including the empowerment of young people, the creation of future active citizens, the prevention of anti-social behaviour and the integration of youth into society. When young people’s involvement in participatory activities is discussed, it is often done on the basis of its expected outcomes, and more rarely in terms of how young people themselves make sense of and use existing opportunities. This study addresses this issue by focusing on how young people conceptualise participation, how they represent their experience within particular projects and how such experience relates to participatory policies. Drawing from different contexts - Greece and the UK - this thesis presents examples of how engagement with similar processes of participation is mediated through the environments within which young people shape their everyday lives.

The particular values and strategies that the participants associated with their involvement allowed for commonalities to emerge across contexts. Such approaches to participation are summarised in three profiles, namely the professionals, visionaries and adventurers.In this study, young people’s perceptions of themselves as participants are often in stark contrast with policy frameworks which construct young participants as active citizens in the making in both countries.

Processes within the explored spaces for participation were dominated by policy priorities, while minimal space was allowed for a type of deliberation which enables young people to affect the contexts within which their lives unfold. While young people were expected by policies to populate spaces for participation, there were examples of the participants making efforts to reinterpret/contextualise the meaning of participation according to their lived experience, to maintain a critical distance from funding bodies and to enlarge their repertoires.

Type of Work:Ph.D. thesis.
Supervisor(s):Hughes , Nathan and Connor, Stuart and Matthews, Bob
School/Faculty:Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Social Sciences
Department:School of Public Policy
Subjects:HM Sociology
HV Social pathology. Social and public welfare
JN Political institutions (Europe)
Institution:University of Birmingham
ID Code:3783
This unpublished thesis/dissertation is copyright of the author and/or third parties. The intellectual property rights of the author or third parties in respect of this work are as defined by The Copyright Designs and Patents Act 1988 or as modified by any successor legislation. Any use made of information contained in this thesis/dissertation must be in accordance with that legislation and must be properly acknowledged. Further distribution or reproduction in any format is prohibited without the permission of the copyright holder.
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