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Sofia Laine, PhD candidate, University of Helsinki, Department of politics and economics

Young People's participation U do 2: Youth´s role in integrated rural development (IRD), 1 st of March 2011, Nurmijärvi , Finland. Sofia Laine, PhD candidate, University of Helsinki, Department of politics and economics. What (all) is political participation?.

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Sofia Laine, PhD candidate, University of Helsinki, Department of politics and economics

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  1. Young People's participationU do 2: Youth´s role in integrated rural development (IRD), 1st of March 2011, Nurmijärvi, Finland Sofia Laine, PhD candidate, University of Helsinki, Department of politics and economics

  2. What (all) is political participation? “[...] freedom of movement is not the end purpose of politics, [...] it is rather the substance and meaning of all things political. In this sense politics and freedom are identical, and wherever this kind of freedom does not exist, there is no political space in the true sense” (Hannah Arendt, 2005, The Promise of Politics) • Political = influencing attempts to society or community – motivation to make a difference, change things • What the participation should create is the new forms of knowledge, power, action and know-how, needed to create a different type of society.

  3. Manipulatedparticipation • participants do not feel they are being forced into doing something, but are actually led to take actions which are inspired or directed by centers outside their control. • Who has planned the activity? What roles young people get in the process – are they just ’consuming’ what adults have created or are they active in all phases (planning, building, executing/realising, reflecting and evaluating)? • Young people should be the main actors in each phase, adults would give support when needed.

  4. Real participation • To understand the many dimensions of participation, one needs to enquire seriously into all its roots and consequences, these going deep into the heart of human relationships and to the socio-cultural realities conditioning them. • No form of social interaction or participation can ever be meaningful and liberating, unless the participating individuals act as free and unbiased human beings. “[…] to participate means to live and to relate differently. It implies, above all, the recovery of one’s inner freedom – that is, to learn, to listen, to share, free from any fear or predefined conclusion, belief or judgment.” (Rahnema 2010, 140)

  5. participatory ideal • includes qualities as attention, sensitivity, goodness or compassion, • and these qualities should be supported by such regenerative acts as learning, relating and listening • … these work for both inner and outer treansformations.

  6. Two different logics of participation: Everyday-makers & Expert citizens • Everyday-makers (EMs) invent a variety of ’small’ everyday tactics and narratives about how one can make a political difference as an ’ordinary’ political citizen (Bang and Sørensen 2001). Create new practices of participation here and now. ‘Way of subjectivity’ By establishing practices and empowering participants, their spaces of experience allow ordinary people to become actors in their life more and to contribute to social change in very concrete ways, starting with their everyday lives. (Pleyers 2010, 102). • Expert-citizens (ECs) work mostly full-time in a variety of administratively-initiated partnerships, teams and projects. Also workers in the youth organisations are many times part of this stream. ‘Way of reason’

  7. Consumer citizens – everyday makers • Ralph Nader (22.9.2010): consumers’ decisions are changing the companies. And the companies are changing the world. Consumers actions may have an influence on political decision-making. • Fair-trade, local and organic production • Recycling, ecological travelling, boycotting • Time-banking • “How our life here affects the lives on the other side of the world?” • ”How our living habits affects the lives of next generations? What we leave to them? Will there be anything left?”

  8. Mikaela (22) "I'm wearing my favorite, lucky piece of clothing: a pullover which my mother knitted for my father when they started dating. The pullover is my amulet. The bag is my mother's old, the scarf and the shorts second hand and the shoes from American Apparel (Sweatshop free).” (www.hel-looks.com)

  9. Experts in the EU youth policy (1) • European Youth Forum (YFJ) was independently established by youth organisations in 1996. As decided in the Youth in Action Programme 2007-2013, YFJ gets up to 80 per cent of its funding from European Commission. With this funding the Commission expects ‘active contribution by the YFJ to the political processes relevant to youth at European level’. • EU Presidency Youth Event (case study 2006): All the other youth participants who were not part of the YFJ were frustrated of the lack of the influencing possibilities and lack of roles. • For whom should these political spaces be? What is the aim of these meetings? Just to network and exchange experiences or something else too?

  10. Experts in the EU youth policy (2)

  11. Everyday-makers & Expert citizens continues... • The more ECs cooperate with each other and more established top elites, the greater the likelihood that ECs will exclude laypeople from the discursive construction of new publics and modes of democratic governance. • Different forms of participation include different forms of knowledge: we need both, everyday-makers and expert citizens – we also need better co-operation between these two logics.

  12. Ecs’ and Ems’ Main debates (Pleyers 2010) • Experts remote from citizens • (Inter)national cut off from the local • Institutionalization of the movement/organisation • Top-down • Effectiveness • Technical measures • Activists reject experts • Local cut off from the (inter)national • Very fluid, informal and sporadic networks • Bottom-up • Participation of all in decisions • Concrete, local experience Way of reason (ECs) Way of subjectivity (EMs)

  13. Thankyou – kiitos - tack • Rahnema, Majid (2010) Participation. In Wolfgang Sachs (ed.) The DevelopmentDictionary. A Guide to Knowledge as Power. London: ZedBooks. • Bang, Henrik P. & Eva Sørensen (2001), ”The everyday maker: building political rather than social capital”, in P. Dekker & E. M. Uslaner (eds.) Social Capital and Participation in everyday life. London: Routledge. • Pleyers, Geoffrey (2010) Alter-globalization. Becoming actors in the global age. Foreword by Alain Touraine. Cambridge: Polity Press. Email: Sofia.laine@iki.fi

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