ERG SES C 14, Context and Content in Education
Social and political youth participation have been central to policy and research agendas in recent years because of its influence on the promotion social cohesion and citizenship (Ferreira, 2016; Quintelier & van Deth, 2014; Rodrigues, Menezes, & Ferreira, 2015; UE, 2015). Social participation is interconnected with the involvement in different social interests as culture, sports, religion, environment and animal protection, solidarity, unions, etc. In what concerns religion dimension, data from Ferreira (2016) suggest that 11,8% of Portuguese young people are involved in religious groups. Religion seems no longer to be a solid identification and an identity organizer narrative (Bauman, 2001). Given this, our question is what makes thousands of young people to become engaged and participate in Catholic groups? Buy asking this we are interested in understanding how these contexts are working as places for producing youth cultures (Willis, 1990) and what models of participation can we find. Considering that these experiences can be educational, we are willing to analyse how do they interpret, appropriate ate integrated it in their educational pathways. This paper is drawn on data collected in the scope of a doctoral project focused on the participation of young people in Catholic groups in Portugal and their effects and meanings. We particularly have choose data collected in the World Youth Day.
The organization and participation of young people in groups is understood by the Catholic Church as a youth ministry and corresponds to the “...action of the Church with young people, in evangelization and Christian education...” (CEP, 2002). One of the most important events in the life of Catholic youth groups is the World Youth Day (WYD). This event is an opportunity for Catholic young people (from all around the globe) to meet with each other and with the Pope. In the last editions, in Brazil in 2013 and in Poland 2016 participate 3,5 and 2 million youngsters, respectively.
The interpretation of this type of engagement can only be understood within a concept of Youth that considers the existence of different youth cultures intersected by different class belongings, economic backgrounds, gender, ethnicity and occupational opportunities, which allows to perceive youth “not only in their apparent unity but also in its diversity” (Pais, 1993, p. 37). Young people participating in youth catholic groups are considered “bearers of meaningful and countable experiences and as agents in the process of constructing their contexts” (Silva, 2010, p. 81). These groups and events such as WYD are important for socialization and shared experiences, and constitute, therefore, spaces and times with a high educational potential, the educational being understood as a process of socialization (Abrantes, 2011; Dewey, 1963; Dominicé, 1988). The multiplicity of experiences that can be experienced in this event, make possible the realization of numerous learning, which it is important to know in depth, explaining how they are integrated by young people in terms of personal and social skills (Ferri, 2006; Snell, 2009). These processes may as well have a positive influence in the school trajectories of some youngsters, as shows the study of Badura et al. (2016) about the involvement in organized leisure time activities.
Considering this background the main objective of this part of the research is to understand the role and effects of the WYD in the participation of young people Catholic groups.
 http://www.agencia.ecclesia.pt/noticias/vaticano/jmj-2013-37-milhoes-de-pessoas-na-missa-final-da-jornada-mundial-da-juventude/ in 30 de June 2016
 http://www.agencia.ecclesia.pt/noticias/internacional/polonia-jovens-preparamse-para-passar-noite-ao-relento-em-festa-final-da-jornada-mundial-da-juventude/ in 2 September 2016
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