'Is there a connection between young people engaging in society and non-formal education?'Ian Davies, University of York, UK.13thcitized conference, Seoul 2017
Acknowledgement:Youth Activism, engagement and the development of new civic learning spaces (Leverhulme International Network) Mark Evans, University of Toronto, Canada; Márta Fülöp, EötvösLoránd University, Hungary; Dina Kiwan, American University of Beirut, Lebanon and University of Birmingham, UK; Andrew Peterson, University of South Australia and Canterbury Christ Church University, UK; Jasmine Sim, National Institute of Education, Singapore. Project administrator: Alison Symington, University of York, UK
Argument • a civil learning society to be achieved through non-formal education • SECTION 1 • Definitions – activism, engagement etc. • Context – an optimistic view about some of the key contemporary social trends relevant to engagement • SECTION 2 • Levels of engagement – types of participation are partly determined by the distribution of social capital • Styles of engagement – there is increasing personalised involvement as opposed to institutionalised action • Engines of engagement – the key contexts and societal forces that promote engagement (e.g., social media) • SECTION 3 • Education - What are the key links between non-formal education and engagement? Overview
I focus on non-formal education. • I am arguing for the development of a civil society that is a learning society. Political institutions, the media, corporations, community-based organisations, NGOs, charities and others all have an educational role. This allows for “organisationally enabled connective action” (Bennett and Segerberg 2013) which is neither statist not libertarian. • It is an argument for a constructivist form of education in which the personal and public are recognised. • I make comments about definitions and context; engagement (levels, styles and engines) as well as professionally framed educational initiatives Overarching Argument
...a dimension of social life, with its own norms and decision rules... a set of activities, which can be (and historically has been) carried out by private individuals, private charities and even private firms as well as public agencies. It is symbiotically linked to the notion of public interest, in principle distinct from private interests; central to it are the values of citizenship, equity and service...It is ... a space for forms of human flourishing which cannot be bought in the market place or found in the tight-knit community of the clan or family. (Marquand, 2004: 27) When people take part in society they engage in the public sphere. This is …
What is activism? “Youth activism refers to behaviour performed by adolescents and young adults with a political intent” (Hart and LinkinGullan (2010) p.67).
Politics then can simply be defined as the activity by which differing interests within a given unit of rule are conciliated by giving them a share in power in proportion to their importance to the welfare and the survival of the whole community (Crick 1964 p.21). What is politics?
Individuals are citizens when they practise civic virtue and good citizenship, enjoy but do not exploit their civil and political rights, contribute to and receive social and economic benefits do not allow any sense of national identity to justify discrimination or stereotyping of others, experiences senses of non –exclusive multiple citizenship and, by their example, teach citizenship to others (Heater and Oliver 1994, p.6). Citizens
It should be: • created by and for all; • professional; • congruent with engines of engagement • about and for critically informed and socially engaged responsible action. • It should not be: • narrowly academic, • left to chance • constructed narrowly around morality and law. Preferred characterisation of citizenship education
Non formal education Non-formal education is about: ‘acknowledging the importance of education, learning and training which takes place outside recognized educational institutions’( Tight, 1996: 68)
Expressions of nationalism can be exclusive and divisive. “From this day forward, a new vision will govern our land. From this moment on, it’s going to be America First. Every decision on trade, on taxes, on immigration, on foreign affairs, will be made to benefit American workers and American families”. (Trump, 2017) The Age of Nationalism?
An emphasis on national citizenship may, despite much negative potential, help identify legal rights and duties. Crick (2000, p.136, 137) quoted Arendt twice within 2 pages to assert that “a citizen is by definition a citizen among citizens of a country among countries”. The Age of Nationalism?
Transnational activism includes three interrelated trends: an increasing horizontal density of relations across states, governmental officials and non-state actors; increasing vertical links among the subnational, national and international levels; an enhanced formal and informal structure that invites transnational activism and facilitates the formation of networks of non-state, state and international actors (Tarrow, 2005, p.8). Emphasising national contexts does not necessarily exclude other contexts
Commentators have suggested that the financial crisis leads to declining trust and uncertainty expressed in these ways: • 1. EU migrants took jobs and reduced pay for low skilled occupations. • 2. EU migrants put pressure on public services, in particular the health service and places in local schools. • 3. The migration crisis and Syrian refugees heading towards western Europe from Turkey and Libya posed a security threat and they could get to the UK • 4. Migration had changed the cultural identity of the UK Brexit (Hoskins 2016)
The message portrayed by the Leave camp was a vision that outside the EU people in the UKcould take back control of their country and their lives. • Van de Velde (2016) in her analysis of youth protests presents a sense of separation of the people from the political system and the establishment (politicians, bankers, big business), a general feeling of anger towards them and a desire for greater autonomy and control. • The difference in the UK is that young people did not vote this way and overwhelmingly voted to remain in the EU (71% voting remain for the age group 18-25) (YouGov 2016). Brexit and the young (Hoskins 2016). Negative nationalism is not embraced
Communitarianism extracts from the republican tradition the concentration on a feeling of community and a sense of duty, though omitting from its programme the strand of direct political participation and, some would argue, crucially, the central republican concern for freedom. (Heater (1999), p.77) Communitarianism may be a form of negative engagement
a society in which there is a common visionand sense of belongingby all communities; a society in which the diversity of people’sbackgrounds and circumstances is appreciated and valued; a society in which similar life opportunitiesare available to all; and a society in which strong and positive relationships existand continue to be developed in the workplace, in schools and in the wider community” (DCSF 2007, p. 3). The Age of Community? Community may be a form of positive engagement
… youth unemployment remains a serious concern: 8.7 million young Europeans cannot find work and the proportion facing long-term unemployment or involuntary part-time work remains high. In total, 13.7 million are neither in employment nor education or training (NEETs). Close to 27 million are at risk of poverty or social exclusion. Poverty rates are higher for young people than for the overall population and involuntary part-time work or protracted temporary positions expose this generation to a risk of long-term poverty.(p.9) (European Union (2016). EU Youth Report 2015. Luxembourg, Publications Office of the European Union). The Age of Austerity? Do economics prevent engagement?
Austerity measures may promote engagement. “We have witnessed a big rise in support for higher public spending; support is now back to a level not seen since before the financial crash. After seven years of austerity the public is clearly worried about the funding of the NHS and reckons that, for some groups at least, spending on benefits should be increased. However, not all cuts to welfare are unpopular. Almost half the public want cuts to unemployment benefits and very few want to see them increased.” (NatCenBritain Divided? Public Attitudes after seven years of austerity, 30 June 2016). The Age of Austerity?
‘What the World’s Young People Think and Feel’ (2017), compares the experiences of teenagers and adults known as Generation Z, who were born around the turn of the millennium in Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Israel, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Nigeria, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey and the US, as well as the UK. The Age of Misery? Are young people too dispirited to take part?
Indonesia, India and Nigeria scored highest on the wellbeing scale, with scores of 56.2, 54.4 and 53.9 respectively (the highest possible score being 70), whereas Japan scored the lowest at 41.3, followed by the UK (47.3), New Zealand (47.6) and Australia (47.9). Vikas Pota, chief executive of the Varkey Foundation, said: “At a time of nationalist and populist movements that focus on the differences between people… young people – whatever their nationality or religion – share a strikingly similar view of the world. The Age of Misery?
“Teenagers in Nigeria, New Delhi and New York share many of same priorities, fears, ambitions and opinions. There is far more unity among young people than a glance at the headlines would suggest. Young people are passionate believers in the right to live the life that they choose, whatever their background, free of prejudice of all kinds”. (Vikas Porta, chief executive of the Varkey Foundation) The Age of Misery?
There is an overwhelming amount of evidence that the adult public regard young people as a threat (e.g. Bessant & Hill, 1997; Boyle, 2000; Camino & Zeldin, 2002; Remes et al., 2010). “half the adult population in Britain is fundamentally prejudiced against the current generation of children and critical of their "animal" behaviour”. (Carvel, 2008) National Foundation for Educational Research (NFER) (see Halsey & White, 2008) - adults think that young people are responsible for half of all crimes whereas the figure is actually 12%). Young people as a threat
The UK Government’s Prevent Strategy, as outlined in the Counter-Terrorism and Security Act 2015 and subsequent official guidance on its implementation (DFE, 2015a,b; HEFCE, 2015), is designed to undermine the process by which individuals become drawn into carrying out acts of terrorism. The implementation of this strategy became a legal duty for UK universities in September 2015. The Age of Radicalisation? Are young people dangerous radicals?
There are significant challenges about nationalism, community, austerity, well-being and radicalisation. Young people who are faced with such challenges are unlikely to find engagement easy. But it is possible to see some of these contextual matters positively and in any case there is evidence that young people are as positive and as idealistic as they always have been. In this context youth engagement is not only possible but likely and desirable. Section 1: conclusions
Levels of involvement Morrow (1994) found that 40% of 11-16 year olds in his sample of English young people had regular home responsibilities (minding siblings, cleaning, laundry etc.) and almost as many helped in a family business or earned money outside the home.
Urban youth from deprived neighbourhoods already make contributions to - and have a detailed and highly specialized knowledge of - their local communities (Alexander, 2008; Atkins & Hart, 2003; Flanagan & Faison, 2001). But those from lower socio-economic backgrounds may be less likely to engage in civic action (Andrews, 2008; Kahne & Middaugh, 2008; Jordan, 2003). Darton et al (2003, p. 9) have suggested that poverty leads to non-engagement and exclusion. Who takes part?
Surveys show that close to one half of young people have experience of volunteering .. the most common area being sports and exercise, followed by hobbies and recreation, youth and children’s services, and health and social welfare. ….. many young people of all types and backgrounds are involved … around three quarters of young people have been involved in ‘constructive social participation’ through community networks, neighbourliness, campaigning or informal political action (Gaskin, 2004, p. iv). How active are young people?
We know that young people are positive about engagement (e.g. Haste, 2005) and act as volunteers (Pye et al., 2009). Some authors suggest participation levels are already high and can be improved upon still further. Engagement
BehzadFallahzadehand Erik Amnå(2016) argue that reflexive modernity lead to a wide variety of styles of engagement: ‘political consumerism’ (Micheletti, 2003), ‘mundane citizenship’ (Bakardjieva, 2012), ‘self-actualizing citizen’ (Bennett , Wells and Freelon, 2011), ‘networking citizen’ (Loader, Vromenand Xenos, 2014), ‘critical citizen’ (Norris, 1999), ‘everyday-maker’ (Bang & Sorensen, 1999), ‘reflexive citizen’ (Bang, 2009) and ‘engaged citizen’ (Dalton, 2006 and 2008) Styles of engagement
Bonding social capital people sharing similar characteristics (religion, ethnicity, age, gender, social class etc.) are brought together into networks. But there are potential risks of exclusion (Putnam and Goss, 2002, p 11). Bridging social capital people with dissimilar characteristics, involving cross-cutting allegiances and toleration of difference. But there are potential risks associated with assimilation (p.35). Bonding and Bridging Capital (Micheletti 2016)
Macro and micro participation Micro level participation – i.e. the relationship between individual citizens and agents of the state (e.g., parents approaching their child’s teacher) Macro level participation – i.e. activities that can directly influence the state at the national level (e.g. voting; collective action by pressure groups).
Are there patterns of involvement? Sherrod, Torney-Purta and Flanagan (2010) argue that it is necessary to understand civic engagement as being conceptualized in multifaceted ways, that there is developmental discontinuity rather than smooth and consistent patterns of activity across the life span and that there are multiple developmental influences including cognition, the emotions and the impact of social contexts.
Styles of engagement • organizationally brokered collective action (lots of well organised people focusing on few objectives), • organisationally enabled connective action (loosely tied networks sponsoring multiple actions and people join in as they wish), • crowd enabled connective action (“dense fine grained networks of individuals in which digital media platforms are the most visible and integrative organisational mechanisms” (Bennet and Segerberg (2013): p. 13).
The engines of engagement • There are very many difficult issues but I argue that engagement may be promoted through: • Consideration of general societal factors • Distribution of social capital • Recognition of the power of emotion • Recognition of the power of language • Promoting voting • Promoting educational value of social media • Promoting consideration of consumerism
modernization (as people become better off and better educated so they are more likely to want more of a say in public affairs); • public institutional hypothesis (the design and performance of democratic systems may facilitate or hinder engagement); • social capital hypothesis (the connections between individuals facilitate or hinder engagement); • civic volunteerism (the resources available to people in the form of time, money and other things, the motivation that people have to be involved alone or with their friends, relatives and associates). • (Amnåand Zetterberg, 2010) What societal forces promotes involvement?
Why do young people engage? Whiteley (2004) suggests that there is a positive relationship between participation and health, educational performance and life satisfaction and that there is an inverse relationship between participation and crime. We need to be very cautious in disentangling cause and effect
Engagement occurs if: • resourcesare available to the young person (in terms of time and money) (Cusworth, 2009; et al.). It takes money to commute to and from volunteering sites, and there is for many families an opportunity cost endured by allowing a child to volunteer instead of working at home. • civic capitalexists i.e., “whether or not the young person has the knowledge, networks, and skills to be able to act upon a civic issue of concern” (Cremin et al 2009). • there is a sense of personal efficacy (Cremin et al 2009), i.e., if a young person feels that they can make a difference. Why do people take part?
There is increasing attention devoted to emotions or feelings in promoting engagement. • In the 1970s resource mobilisation theory develops (i.e., rational thought leads to the ability to mobilise resources – money, participants, communications infrastructure, skills, public support) • Now, emotion is seen as significant (e.g., in the identification of common enemies; establishment of personal relationships; performance of group rituals). (Edwards 2014, 26-7). Emotion or Feeling May be Important
has instrumental value to a citizen. The rights and duties of citizens are stated and absorbed through language. • is an aspect of culture. Citizens become socialised into societal norms and adopt preferences in part through language-based interaction. • is a form of social contract in which there are opportunities for democratic (or, other types) of dialogue. Advocacy and representation may occur principally through language. Language….
Those registered to vote at the referendum on Scottish independence included 109,593 16 and 17 year olds. Reflecting trends at previous referendums and elections … young people were the least likely of any age group in society to report having voted. 69% of 16-34 year olds said that they voted in the referendumcompared with85% of 35-54 yearolds and 92% of the 55+ age group. Claimed turnout amongst 16-17 year olds was 75%, significantly higher than amongst 18-24 year olds (54%). (The Electoral Commission 2014) Voting as engagement
Relatively low (possibly declining) turnout in elections especially among young people and especially in local and European elections. • Young people may ‘grow into’ voting • Not voting does not necessarily imply disengagement • Politicians may want young people to vote to secure short term electoral advantage (and to weaken young people’s rights to receive state support) • There may be a novelty value (increases in turnout have been followed by decreases in for example the Isle of Man and Austria) • Voting at 16 in light of rights held in other spheres is seen by some as a spurious argument (e.g. Russell 2014 sees those rights as “minimal, irrelevant and diminishing”). Should we promote engagement by allowing votes at 16?