Constraints on and facilitators of young people’s participation: The case of border regions of mainland Portugal
Keywords:young people, civic and political participation, border and rural regions
- 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.
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