Beyond Current Horizons, 2008.
This document has been commissioned as part of the UK Department for Children, Schools and Families’ Beyond Current Horizons project, led by Futurelab.
This review paper concerns the issue of citizenship as it applies to young people, especially those who have a sense of inefficacy in the political system. Starting from a normative point of view in political philosophy, concerning the meaning of democracy, citizenship is defined as a way in which people relate to and create communities, especially as active participants, in the formation of common rules that are open to revision (Castoriadis, 1987). Citizenship is also defined as a cultural and social dimension of the self. Many studies in the last ten years have underlined the absence of younger generations from the traditional channels of participation of representative democracy (ie Haste and Hogan, 2006). Based on field work with Greek young adults, (Magioglou, 2008) but also on evidence from other European (British, French) and North-American populations, this paper takes its starting point that there is a feeling of inefficacy in the pubic sphere, but that new technologies already channel in democratic or less democratic directions (Bennett, 2008). In that sense, the role of education, state, community or groups, could be to empower young people so that they may assume responsibility for their actions in the local and global community.
Key Words: citizenship, young people, technology, autonomy, community, democracy, society, politics, and philosophy.