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Social engagement among migrant youth: attitudes and meanings

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journal contribution
posted on 2014-08-01, 00:00 authored by Liudmila Druzenko, Fethi MansouriFethi Mansouri
This article explores migrant young people’s engagement, participation and involvement in socially meaningful activi-ties, events and experiences. This type of social participation is approached in the social inclusion literature using the notions of social capital and active citizenship (Bourdieu, 1986; Coleman, 1988; Putnam, 1993; Putnam, 2000). A key objective, therefore, is to explore the attitudes, values and perceptions associated with social participation for young people. They include the meanings that social engagement has for migrant young people, along with drivers and inhibi-tions to active participation. The article focuses on both the motives for being actively engaged as well as perceived barriers to social engagement. It is based on a large study conducted among migrant young people of African, Arabic-speaking and Pacific Islander backgrounds in Melbourne and Brisbane, and presents both quantitative and qualitative (discursive) snapshots from the overall findings, based on interviews and focus groups. While many studies have cen-tred on the management of migration and migrants, this article draws attention to the individuals’ active position in negotiating, interpreting and appropriating the conditions of social inclusion. Accounting for the multidimensional and multilayered nature of social inclusion, the paper highlights the heuristic role of social engagement in fostering the feel-ings of belonging and personal growth for migrant youth.



Social inclusion






17 - 27


Cogitatio Press


Lisbon, Portugal





Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal

Copyright notice

2014, Cogitatio Press