Young people are instigators of social change - so how can they best be integrated into society?

© Roman Bodnarchuk, Shutterstock
Young people are instigators
of social change – so how
can they best be integrated
into society?
Democratic participation is a right and duty for every citizen, but it’s important that each new
generation feels welcomed and respected in the body politic and feels that their contributions
are appreciated. Following years of austerity, that have disproportionally aected Europe’s
young people, encouraging them to engage both politically and socially in a positive manner is
crucial. One EU-funded project has been investigating the best ways in which to enable this.
“Young people are instigators of social change, driven, in part, by
the challenging circumstances that prevent their social progress:
lack of opportunities, resources and respect,” begins Dr Jo Deakin,
coordinator of the PROMISE (PROMoting youth Involvement and
Social Engagement: Opportunities and challenges for ‘conflicted’
young people across Europe) project. “The aim of our research is
to explore young people’s responses to these challenges, focus-
ing particularly on youth who encounter conflict with authorities.”
Stigma, labelling and
stereotypes: A toxic concoction
In particular, the notion of stigma and labelling are key sources of what
causes young people to switch off from social and political engage-
ment. “Young people need to feel that they belong in order to truly
engage,” explains Dr Deakin. “Our research found that a key factor
CORDIS Results Pack on elections and democratic participation
Understanding turbulent political times through innovative EU-funded research

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