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Beyond apathetic or activist youth: 'ordinary' young people and contemporary forms of participation

journal contribution
posted on 2010-01-01, 00:00 authored by Anita HarrisAnita Harris, J Wyn, S Younes
This article addresses the changing nature of participation for young people.
Our analysis is framed by the fragmentation of traditional institutions and the
increasingly unpredictable nature of life trajectories. As a result, the identifi cation
of a crisis in young people’s engagement has become a recurrent theme in the
literature, alongside a burgeoning interest in new forms of (sub)cultural participatory
practices. We argue that there is further complexity in the reshaping of
participation in times of social change, especially for a broad ‘mainstream’ of young
people who are neither deeply apathetic about politics nor unconventionally
engaged. Drawing on a research project with 970 young Australians, the article
suggests that many young people are disenchanted with political structures that
are unresponsive to their needs and interests, but that they remain interested
in social and political issues and continue to seek recognition from the political
system. At the same time, their participatory practices are not oriented towards
spectacular antistate activism or cultural politics but take the form of informal,
individualized and everyday activities.

History

Journal

Young: Nordic journal of youth research

Volume

18

Issue

1

Pagination

9 - 32

Publisher

Sage Publications

Location

London, Eng.

ISSN

1103-3088

eISSN

1741-3222

Language

eng

Publication classification

C1.1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2010, Sage Publications