Constraints on and facilitators of young people’s participation: The case of border regions of mainland Portugal

Authors

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.11576/jsse-5212

Keywords:

young people, civic and political participation, border and rural regions

Abstract

Highlights:

  • Young people are involved in diverse types of participation, being engaged, disengaged or unpolitical.
  • Young people perceive opportunities to organise initiatives but not to participate in local decisions.
  • Constraints on participation and responses to promote it were identified.
  • Context-specific barriers were mentioned by young people and policymakers.
  • Municipalities and schools are priority contexts for fostering youth participation.

Purpose: This article aims to assess constraints on and facilitators of youth participation in rural border regions. Knowledge about regional participation of young people is useful for developing territorialised policies.

Methodology: Using a mixed method approach designed in line with theories of civic and political participation and youth studies, we analysed responses from young people to a questionnaire (n = 3968) and interviews with policymakers (n = 36) and young people (n = 20).

Findings: Young people are involved in diverse types of civic and political participation and perceive more opportunities to organise initiatives than to participate in local decision-making. Constraints on participation relate to the distance between politics, governance institutions and young people, weak strategies of municipalities, lack of youth organisations and mobility. Facilitators of participation include supporting youth-led activities or involving young people in local decisions.

Research implications: the study contributes to understanding youth participation in rural regions.

Author Biographies

Sofia Marques da Silva, University of Porto

Sofia Marques da Silva, PhD, is an Associate Professor at the Faculty of Psychology and Education Sciences and a full member of the Centre for Research and Intervention in Education (CIIE-FPCEUP) at the University of Porto, Porto, Portugal. Her research interests relate to research methodologies, place-based education, youth, sense of belonging and regional development, resilient schools, and communities.

Nicolas Martins da Silvaa

Nicolas Martins da Silva, PhD student in Education Sciences at the Centre for Research and Intervention in Education, Faculty of Psychology and Education Sciences, University of Porto (CIIE-FPCEUP), Porto, Portugal. His research interests relate to citizenship education, youth participation, curricular contextualisation, territory in education and mixed methods.

Sara Arezes

Sara Arezes, Bachelor’s student in Economics at the University of Minho, taking a one-year Erasmus mobility in the University of West Bohemia. Her main fields of interest are development economics, political economy and economic history. She's currently developing a Bachelor Thesis on the Eurocentric narratives conveyed by Portuguese history textbooks, approaching the topic from an institutional economics perspective to stress the legacy of the colonial past on nowadays countries' prosperity.

Paulo Sérgio Martins

 Paulo Sérgio Martins, Degree in Philosophy, is a secondary school philosophy teacher with 27 years of teaching experience. He has taught in schools in the border regions of mainland Portugal. He currently teaches at the Dr Vieira de Carvalho School in Maia, Portugal.

Sara Faria

Sara Faria, PhD candidate of the Doctoral Program in Psychology at the Faculty of Psychology and Educational Sciences of the University of Porto (FPCEUP) and a research fellow at the Center for Educational Research and Intervention (CIIE/FPCEUP). She has been carrying out research activities in Psychology related projects and in projects in the areas of youth and education. Her research interests mainly relate to applying statistical data analysis procedures and quantitative methodology in areas such as mental health and education.

Vitor Dias

Vitor Dias, Degree in Education Sciences, has been the Regional Director of the Portuguese Institute of Sports and Youth, I.P. (North Delegation) since February 2017.

Ana Milheiro Silva

Ana Milheiro Silva, PhD student at the Doctoral Programme in Education Sciences – Faculty of Psychology and Education Sciences of the University of Porto. Her research interests are mixed methods, youth studies, educational pathways, resilient schools, border regions, equity, social justice and quality in education. She is a member of the Center for Research and Intervention in Education. Actually, she works as a science manager at the Rectory of the University of Porto.

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Further information

Published

2023-10-11

How to Cite

Marques da Silva, S., Martins da Silvaa, N., Arezes, S., Sérgio Martins, P., Faria, S., Dias, V., & Milheiro Silva, A. (2023). Constraints on and facilitators of young people’s participation: The case of border regions of mainland Portugal. JSSE - Journal of Social Science Education, 22(3). https://doi.org/10.11576/jsse-5212

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