From 25th to 28th April 2016, the 10 teams of the PARTISPACE project met in Gothenburg (Sweden) for the 3rd consortium meeting. Almost one year after the official start of the project, the objective was first to assess the progress of the research so far and to reflect and prepare the forthcoming steps of the project.
Up until now, national reports have been produced which allow for the understanding of the contexts of youth participation across the eight countries (WP 2). They document information on young people’s living conditions, youth policy structures at national and local level, research state of the art and dominant discourses of youth participation. In a comparative report, relations between broader societal structures and phenomona of youth participation have been elaborated. The comparative report is available for download here.
Another work package that is almost completed addresses the European context (WP 3). On the one hand this regards discourses on youth participation at European level (involving an analysis of documents of the EU, the Council of Europe and the European Youth Forum). On the other hand, a secondary analysis of data of the European Social Survey on young people’s attitudes towards democracy and European integration. Draft versions of reports were discussed during the meeting.
Discussions on the relevance of the findings of the context analysis for further research included questions how the widely reported correlation between social background, education and participation is constituted in specific cases or how transnational discourseson youth participation ‘trickle down’ to local levels and individual practices.
Discussions also addressed the ongoing fieldwork for the local case studies (WP4). Research teams have been working on the first phase, the mapping of local constellations of youth participation. Up to now, 175 expert interviews, 79 group discussions and 12 city walks have been conducted in the eight cities. Local advisory groups have been established and meetings held for getting access to the field and for the communicative validation of the sampling process. The mapping of actors, infrastructures and issues of youth participation will give an overview over key actors, settings as well as hot issues, policy networks, trends and conflicts. The meeting was the occasion to discuss especially methodological issues related to data collection and data analysis. During the meeting also 6 potential case studies per city were selected.
All in all, the meeting proved that the research process is largely in line with the planned work plan while the openness of the design requires constant and close communication between all researchers involved.
The next meeting will be held in Manchester from 7th to 11th November 2016.