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Summary of PARTISPACE outcomes

There is widespread concern across Europe about the future of democracy, and in particular about young people’s apparent failure to participate, often attributed to lack of motivation or capability. The PARTISPACE project shares the concern, but questions the diagnosis. It starts instead from an assumption that the dominant understanding of youth participation in research, policy and practice is too narrow, often limited to institutionalised forms of participation, and ignores much of what young people do in public space. This bias is related to structures of social inequality, and thus is itself a part of the problem of democracy.

PARTISPACE aims at a rethinking of youth participation by analysing what young people do in public space, what it means to them and to what extent this can be understood as political, civic and social. The research question is: How and where do young people participate, across social milieus and youth cultural scenes? What styles of participation do they prefer and develop – and in what spaces?

The project has undertaken a comparative mixed-method study in 8 cities across Europe: Bologna (IT), Frankfurt (DE), Gothenburg (SE), Eskisehir (TK), Manchester (UK), Plovdiv (BG), Rennes (FR), Zurich (CH). The design included reviews of national youth policies, a secondary analysis of survey data, and a critical discourse analysis of European policy documents. Then, qualitative local studies were conducted consisting of 188 expert interviews, 100 group discussions and 96 biographical interviews with young people as well as 48 ethnographic case studies of formal, non-formal and informal participatory settings. Additionally, 18 participatory action research projects have been conducted by and with young people. Continue reading

Forthcoming Book Publication

Contested Practices, Power and Pedagogies of Young People in Public Spaces: The Struggle for Participation

edited by Andreas Walther, Janet Batsleer, Patricia Loncle and Axel Pohl (Routledge)

The book aims at offering a new perspective towards youth participation. It starts from a critique of a narrow institutionalised interpretation of participation and the exclusion of a majority of young people’s activities in public spaces form what is being recognised as participation. Against this backdrop, it provides empirical analyses and theoretical reflections on young people’s practices in formal, non-formal and informal public spaces. It is based on the research carried out in the framework of the EU-funded project “Spaces and Styles of Participation. Formal, non-formal and informal possibilities of young people’s participation in European cities” (PARTISPACE). The book is expected to be published in late 2019.

Focus on the style analysis

The style thematic group is interested in how styles of participation can be compared across the case studies of youth participation in eight European cities included in PARTISPACE. The notion of style is concerned with the performance of participation or put more simply the ‘how and the what’ of participation. The focus of analysis is primarily at the group level, using a grounded theory approach the group has compared the case studies in terms of repertories of practices, reasons and aims, internal/external relationships and political meaning. Researchers from this thematic group are working towards the second draft of the thematic report, consisting of a state of the art section, which outlines the relationship between style and participation at a conceptual level, followed by four analytical chapters each primarily comparing two case studies.  Researchers from the style thematic group are looking forward to bringing the material together and thinking about what the implications are for how they can understand the relationship between styles and participation, also more broadly, the considerations for policy and practice.

A New Democratic Youth: Citizen participation revitalized?

On 14th December 2017 at the meeting of the National Institute of Youth and Community Education (INJEP) in Paris, Céline Martin, University of Cergy-Pontoise, EMA, will present the first findings of PARTISPACE research, with a focus on public concerned and European perspectives from the comparative case study report of the research project.

Find out the whole programm (in French) and the abstract below:

Nowadays, there is a wide range of young people styles of participation in the city life. Many surveys on this topic are highlighting this issue in France. The last few years have been marked by a lot of changes concerning citizen practices, which is questioning again the relationship to politics and democracy. We are especially observing a significant increase of engagement in collective’s movements or associations.

Some new spaces of democracy, of exchanges and some initiatives strengthening participation of citizen are at the margin of traditional political parties, in the public space or on the internet

From a generational point of view, to what extent do young people have a specific relationship with democracy and politics? Who are those young people, what are their motivations? Are they innovating in a way of doing politics, what are these news forms of participation? What instruments are set up to develop and renew this citizen participation? Finally, are these experimental practices revitalizing democracy or, on the contrary, weakening it?

It is in this context that Céline Martin will present the first results of PARTISPACE. The statement will focus on the profiles of young people met in the case studies and on motivation of  young people to participate.

Partispace final conference in Paris, 18th April 2018

Youth Participation in Europe: Diversity, (Mis)Recognition and (In)visibility

the final conference meeting of the project took place on April 18th 2018 at the High School of Public health campus located in Paris.

In the presence of the European Commission (REA), European research stakeholders, policy makers and practitioners in the field of youth, this conference presented the final results of the research including implications for policy and practice.

Find out the programme for download here: Flyer_final meeting

Have a look at the conference report



Youth Rights Workshop in Eskişehir

On 9th-10th September 2017, The research team from the University of Yeditepe (Turkey) organized a workshop with the Youth Rights Association in Eskişehir with prominent names from youth work and youth participation field in Turkey: (in alphabetical order:  Burcu Oy, Evren Sener Ünal, Necmettin Yemiş, Nurdan Terzioğlu and Musa Çopur alongside with PARTISPACE researchers Demet Lüküslü and Berrin Osmanoğlu ).  After fruitful discussions on how to advocate youth rights and how to integrate the knowledge gained from PARTISPACE research on youth participation, the participants decided to design a “tool” based on the Council of Europe’s “Take a Step Further”.

PARTISPACE Project vists youth Atelier in Frankfurt

On 8th May 2017, in the frame of the 6th consortium meeting in Frankfurt, The PARTISPACE consortium visited the NaXoshalle Bornheim where Stefan Mohr – a social worker by the city of Frankfurt / Main – works with young people to create a constructive approach to deal with graffiti. A participative approach is used to work with young people, therefore projects are designed with young people together.

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6th Consortium meeting in Frankfurt, 8th-10th November 2017

From 8th to 10th November 2017, the 10 teams of the PARTISPACE project met at the Goethe University Frankfurt (Germany) for the 6th consortium meeting. Five months from the end of the project, partners were glad to receive Gudrun Quenzel, reviewer of PARTISPACE for a presentation of the progress in the research especially concerning the local case studies (work package 4), the action-research process (WP5) and the ongoing analysis phase (work package 6). Discussions included sharing about how to get an impact on policy-makers and practitioners, and how the results of the project will help policy makers and youth workers to increase youth participation?

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