The Potential Of The European Youth Programmes To Strengthen Inclusion And Participation Of Young People
1RAY Youth Research Network; 2GENESIS Research Institute; 3Think Tank Youth Policy Labs
As of late 2018, Europe has two major European youth programmes: Youth in Action, a major strand embedded in the Erasmus+ programme, and the new European Solidarity Corps. In the context of the European Union's new Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2017, both programmes will soon be renewed: a good time to not only consider their achievements, but critically consider their potential.
Through the European Research Network RAY, multi-lingual online surveys have been conducted to analyse the implementation and impact of the European youth programmes in more than 30 countries, complemented by qualitative research projects on the long-term effects of these programmes on participation of young people, as well as the effects on young people with fewer opportunities.
More concretely, through our mixed-method research projects, we explore the effects of projects funded through the European youth programmes on the actors involved, in particular on project participants and project leaders, as well as their organisations and the local environments of these projects and the (lack of) access to the European youth programmes at the level of young people (in particular of young people with fewer opportunities) as well as at the level of organisations, bodies and groups in the youth field.
In our contribution, we will draw on this wealth of data to identify aspects where the European youth programmes currently stay below their potential to strengthen inclusion and participation, and will illustrate these aspects with quantitative and qualitative data from all current RAY research projects.
The (Em)power(ment) Of Seeing Things Differently: The Possibilities of Co-Research Methodology And Art Projects For Promoting Young Refugees’ Well-Being And Social Inclusion
1Tampere University, Finland; 2Kölvi Association, Tampere, Finland
The question of the refugees’ integration in the host society is currently a daunting political and social issue. In the presentation we focus on the experiences of well-being and social inclusion of young adult refugees who arrived in Finland as minors in 2000s and 2010s, mainly from the Middle East region and the countries of Northern Africa. We present findings from two research processes with a local NGO working with young refugee men, one focusing on art projects and the other on a co-research project around refugee youth’s employment. The objective was to examine factors influencing refugee youths’ well-being and inclusion (or exclusion) in society. The data includes youths’ narratives and photographs produced by Playback Theatre and Empowering Photography methods, peer interviews among the youths, and various ethnographic documentations of the processes. The data is analyzed through mixed qualitative methods.
In discussing the research results we utilize an approach which sees individuals’ inclusion in society as a phenomenon comprising three dimensions: having (economic well-being and sense of security), belonging (attachment to social life and groups as a recognized member) and acting (participation in social and political activities) (Allardt 1976; Raivio & Karjalainen 2013). While young refugees often face problems regarding all these aspects, our results show that art methods and involving young people in research projects as equal co-researchers carry a lot of potential for promoting their well-being and social inclusion.
The presentation, along with the article manuscript in the making, is drafted together with the young co-researchers and their coaches in the NGO.
Political Participation As a Missing Factor of Transition to Adulthood.
1University of Lodz, Department of Sociology of Politics and Morality, Poland; 2University of Lodz, Department of Applied Sociology and Social Work, Poland
At the beginning of the transformation (1989), the symbolic elites were describing Poland as a country offering a better future for young generations: civic freedoms and expected cultural changes. At the same time, the symbolic elites introduced to society the definitions of life’s success strongly related to material and financial criteria. They were aspiring to control the normative sphere and the meanings of crucial ideas in the public discourse. The freedom offered to young people was associated with taking responsibility for their own fate. This socially constructed adulthood conveyed the accents from familism to individualism that had an influence on setting and reproducing social order.
The paper focuses on the group of Poles who reached adulthood little before or not much after Poland's accession to the EU. Their entering into adulthood took place in the conditions of the regime transformation. Their transition to adulthood was usually described with the so-called „Big Five” factors but one rudimental factor was missing – political participation. The main research goals were: firstly, to identify various activities undertaken by the young adults in the political area, and secondly to answer the question if the political issues regarding young adults problem were included in public debate.
The combination of 3 FGIs and discursive analysis were used in the research procedure in order to get knowledge about young adults’ activity in public policies formulation and implementation. FGIs were carried out among young local political actors and supplemented with the analysis of political party documents, and social media content created by the young adults. The additional data were collected during 60 IDI with people who were born in 1986.
Youth Guarantee - additional guarantee?
Tallinn University, Estonia
Since the beginning of 2000s, young people have started to receive increasingly policy makers’ attention. Reducing social exclusion is one of the goals of the EU. Today youth social exclusion is recognised as one of the core challenges in the EU and the EU developed a youth-specific concept of social exclusion – NEET-status: Not in Employment, Education, Training. In 2013, the Council of the EU issued a related policy initiative – Youth Guarantee aiming to reduce the NEET-rate, together with financing mechanisms: European Social Fund and Youth Employment Initiative. In all countries, the YG came on top of national measures already addressing social exclusion in general as well as youth unemployment, school dropout and transition from education to labor market in particular. Against this background, the research question asks What is the potential impact of the YG on youth social exclusion?
The presentation focuses on three countries, which differ in terms of severity of the NEET-problem as well as in terms of social policies addressing social exclusion: Estonia (the rate of 15-29 year old NEETs in 2017 11%, level of social protection expenditure 16,1% of GDP in 2015), Italy (24,1% and 29,9%) and Belgium (12,6% and 30,3%). Empirical analysis is based on Horizon 2020 financed projects Enliven, Except, Edumap. Research identifies significant path dependence – the YG is built on interventions, that have been launched earlier. As a result, it adds little to addressing youth social exclusion. Additionally, impact analysis of the YG measures is mostly missing and the existing impact analyses of similar measures tell of low efficiency of such measures. Therefore, the potential impact of the YG is weak if significant at all.