19 SES 01 A, Pedagogies and Partispaces: Power, practices, styles. A Symposium from the Partispace Study of Youth Participation in Eight European Cities
Considering evidence from Sweden, Germany and Bulgaria, this paper addresses the question of homespaces, of what is held sacred and how boundary work is undertaken to sustain the liminal and alternative nature of young people’s social spaces. In young people’s self-controlled spaces the ideas, and dreams, present were much associated with constructing an alternative to the world of today as it was perceived. Analysing these practices as a quest for an utopia led to question about what this could mean, what it was seen as in contrast with, but also how it was protected from internal and external threats (Wright,1995). The researchers asked what kind of space is utopian space and how does it arise momentarily only to escape swiftly from view. The link between ‘space’ and ‘temporality’ is therefore brought into focus in this paper. The desire for social and political change, for belonging, recognition and to find a place elsewhere than in the “ordinary” life and society were all motives in many cases realized as processes of joint and more or less open experimentation concerning what these could mean in actual life. In an open room for various suggestions about what activities should take place, what their goals on short term and long-term basis might be, and how these activities could link to group and individual enactments and self-understanding, the activities decided upon were generally scrutinized collectively, and by joint discussions given an explanatory and ideological frame. New-comers would also be given socialisation by supervision from the more experienced member in both practical, social and ideological aspects, and some of the events/activities were to some degree also monitored and afterwards evaluated. We will argue that the openness and the experimentation has an apparent link to learning and communities of practice (Lave & Wenger, 1998). By exploring how young people themselves stage their own participation performance when they are in control of both the structure and content of the space, we identified a utopian quest for authenticity and a pursuit of something yearned for – an ideal space, a family or a community, a place somewhat like home. In other respects these forms of participation are about resistance and struggle, exploration and experimentation in the pursuit of alternative ways of living.. This analysis leads us to gesture to conclusions for pedagogies of professional educators and philosophies of youth participation.
Lave, J., & Wenger, E. (1998). Communities of Practice: Learning, Meaning, and Identity. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Wright, E O (1995) The Real Utopias Project Association and Democracy London Verso
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