19 SES 01 A, Pedagogies and Partispaces: Power, practices, styles. A Symposium from the Partispace Study of Youth Participation in Eight European Cities
In the EU HORIZON 2020 project “PARTISPACE: Spaces and Styles of Participation” www.partispace.eu. one city in eight European countries – Bulgaria, France, Germany, Italy, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey and the UK – has been the focus of a qualitative case study consisting of expert interviews, group discussions and in-depth interviews with young people as well as ethnographic field work, conducted between 2015 and 2017. The ethnographic work of the project has highlighted how different spaces and places structure and are in turn structured by young peoples’ participatory activities. This symposium responds to the Network 19 call and the question of how we manage the complexity of the simultaneously local, regional and global. It presents findings concerning the borders created by pedagogic and philanthropic interventions designed to enhance young people’s participation in public life one the one hand and, on the other, by young people’s reappropriation of places which become spaces (Massey,2005 ). But it also draws attention to different styles of participation and how these address European and global issues out of specific urban places. It asks how young people construct different narratives in formally institutionalised forms of participation (like youth councils initiatives) as well as in informal activities that are not categorised as ’participation’ (like doing ‘parcours’ or graffiti).
Theoretically, Partispace has drawn on a range of critical sources. In considering the dynamics of spaces and the construction of ‘front stage’, ‘back stage’ and off stage, we re-engaged with Goffman (1958). From cultural geography we draw on German accounts of the work of Henri Lefebvre (Schmid, 2005). But perhaps the main inspiration in this paper is the socialist feminist exploration of the links between space and place, the local and the global ,the personal and political and the consequent exploration of the politics of normativity and boundary marking (Massey,2005; Butler,2002 ), underpinned by a cultural materialist orientation (Hall 2017) as a consequence of an enduring interest in the ways in which ethnographic and textual readings are partners in cultural studies.
The use of ethnography in a large scale study which was in part designed as a comparative study posed many challenges for the Partispace consortium. One of the most important concerned the development of a common theoretical language at the same time as remaining open to empirical enquiry, in the spirit of the ‘grounded theory’ approach which animated the study. Discourse analysis, and the commitment to laying open to enquiry our own theoretical framings along with those of the more obvious ideological policy discourses about ‘youth participation’ has become a significant tool for us (Clarke 2005). Through devising common schedules for enquiry and sharing and analysing examples of ethnographic fieldnotes in consortium meetings, it became possible to gain a sense of shared meanings, but less easy to share the sense of the bodily reality and affects of being in the field (Stewart,2007 ). Each of the papers in the symposium will present an aspect of the study as it concerns our ethnographic engagements with place/space, with styles of participation and with the ambivalent role of the pedagogue, in order to explore further our claims that there needs to be a great re-awakening in Europe to the democratic potential of the creative spaces of civil society. In each case presented, it will be evident that young people across Europe are already alive to the challenges posed by this claim for democratic learning and practice.
Clarke,A (2005) Situational AnalysisL Grounded Theory after the Postmodern Turn London Sage Schmid, C. (2005) . Stadt, Raum und Gesellschaft. Henri Lefebvre und die Theorie der Produktion des Raumes. Sozialgeographische Bibliothek – Band 1. Stuttgart: Franz Steiner Verlag. Hall, S. (2017). Selected Political Writings: The Great Moving Right Show and Other Essays. London: Lawrence and Wishart Butler,J (2002 ) ‘Bodies and Power Revisited’ Radical Philosophy 114 13-19 Stewart,K.(2007) Ordinary Affects Duke University Press Massey,D.B. (2005 ) For Space London Sage
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