Civic Engagement Paper

1219 Words5 Pages
This paper draws on an ongoing participatory action research project in order to explore the civic engagement practices of social change-oriented youth living in Windsor, Ontario. In particular, the paper explores how social change-oriented youth people become aware of issues of public concern and attrempted to address these concerns. Overall, our study demonstrates the significance of young peoples’ everyday, localized, and relational lives in shaping their civic participation. Furthermore, in their efforts to effect change, participants forge largely pragmatic approaches to their social change efforts, opting to strategically navigate traditional and non-traditional forms of civic engagement. Consistent with Bang’s (2004) conception of “everyday makers” (EMs) (as cited in Harris and Roose, 2014, p. 801) and Harris & Wyn’s (2009) localized lens approach to civic engagement, this paper demonstrates that young people tend…show more content…
Institutional supports enable opportunities for some but not others. Adult gatekeepers, such as teachers and social workers, remain critically important in selecting those who have access to opportunities. In our view, the dynamic of gatekeeping, ‘othering’, and exclusion are important when attempting to capture the multifaceted contemporary landscape of youth civic engagement. These insights suggest that traditional markers of difference (i.e. ethnicity, gender, S.E.S.) continue to mediate access to civic engagement landscape in powerful ways. The study reminds us that while the new landscape of youth civic engagement is exciting in many ways, traditional markers of difference (i.e. age, ethnicity, gender, religious affiliation, and socioeconomic status) continue to importantly mediate how ‘social change-oriented’ youth access opportunities and advocate for
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