Children and youth are strengthening democracy in a multitude of ways in Europe, and are doing so not only through representative democracy. The thought that traditional representation does not exemplify the whole range of current democratic activities acted as a spring-board for the Finnish-Belgian research group who examined the numerous modes and opportunities of social and political engagement amongst youth and children in Europe today.
Based on material gathered from 22 European countries, direct, participatory, deliberative democracy as well as progressive counter-democracy is being extensively implemented in a variety of ways within youth and children’s regional and local activities. Although these forms of democracy are also acknowledged in the European documents and contracts that direct social and political engagement amongst youth and children, the general recommendations concerning Europe often highlight only representative democracy.
As the emergent examples of good practices from the material indicate, traditional representation does not exemplify the whole range of current democratic activities. This publication illuminates with a variety of examples, the different ways in which democratic activity manifests itself. In addition to representative democracy the publication covers direct, participatory, deliberative, and progressive counter-democracy. The study is connected to the desire of the Council of Europe (CoE) and the European Union (EU) to examine and develop opportunities for youth to participate and wield influence at a regional and local level in Europe. For the purposes of the study the researchers used a variety of examples of local and regional good practice in engaging youth and children from 22 countries in Europe.
The internet publication Youth Participation Good Practices in Different Forms of Regional and Local Democracy (Anu Gretschel, Tiina-Maria Levamo, Tomi Kiilakoski, Sofia Laine, Niina Mäntylä, Geoffrey Pleyers & Harri Raisio) can be ordered at the price of printing (12 euros) from the Youth Research Network web store http://www.nuorisotutkimusseura.fi/en. ISBN 978-952-5994-45-2, ISSN 1799-9227. 74 pages. Finnish Youth Research Network, internet publications 69.
A pdf version of the publication is available at: http://www.nuorisotutkimusseura.fi/julkaisuja/youthparticipation_goodpractices.pdf
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