A study led by Dr Bryony Hoskins at the University of Southampton for the European Commission (EC) has warned of the dangers of concentrating solely on economic policies to create growth in European countries.
The report Participatory Citizenship in the European Union funded by a 274,996 grant from the EC examines how and to what extent, people in Europe actively take part in society, communities and politics, and identifies any barriers to this.
Lead researcher from Southampton, Dr Bryony Hoskins says, "In the current harsh economic climate across Europe there has been a loss of trust in political leaders and a move towards more extremist parties. It is important for people, especially the young and unemployed, to have their voices heard in the political decision making to mitigate this.
"The study maps the state of play on levels of citizen engagement, and identifies policies and practices to facilitate this across Europe to help find effective strategies to encourage people to get involved."
The research, carried out in collaboration with eight partner institutions in seven European countries1 was based on the analysis of data on current policies and practices from each of the 27 member states in the European Union (EU), interviews with key experts, and data from existing European and international studies.*
Results have shown that in relation to the economic crisis and creating growth participatory citizenship, economic competitiveness and social cohesion are interrelated and reinforce each other. The report recommends that strategies are needed to encourage people to get more involved in communities, politics and decision making, at both national level in EU countries, and more locally within individual countries.
The report makes these key recommendations:
Barriers and key challenges to participatory citizenship were identified as:
The findings of the study will be used to help shape European policy and funding programmes, in particular the:
The full report, Participatory Citizenship in the European Union, can be found on the European Union website at http://ec.europa.eu/citizenship/news-events/news/29052012_en.htm
*this includes the recent International Association for the Evaluation of Educational Achievement International Civic and Citizenship Education Study (ICCS) and the European Social Survey (ESS).
Notes for editors:
1. This study was commissioned by the European Commission, Europe for Citizens Programme. It was led by the Institute of Education, University of London, with Dr Bryony Hoskins as Project leader, now of the Southampton Education School, University of Southampton. The project was co-led by David Kerr, now of the Citizenship Foundation, London and formally of National Foundation for Educational Research.
The consortium partners:
Denmark: Hans Dorf, Aarhus University, Department of Education
France: Jean Gordon, Antoine Bevort, Alain Michel, European Institute for Education and Social Policy (EIESP)
Germany: Hermann J. Abs, Tilmann Kammler, Institute for School Pedagogy and Citizenship Education, University of Giessen
Italy: Bruno Losito, Paola Mirti, Roma Tre University
Slovenia: Janez Krek, Mateja Perak, Faculty of Education, University of Ljubljana
Netherlands: Wiel Veugelers, University of Humanistics Studies, Utrecht
UK: Germ J. Janmaat, Christine Han, Andy Green, Yvette Ankrah, Institute of Education, University of London. Juliet Sizmur, Jo Morrison, National Foundation for Educational Research, Slough. Rebecca Ridley, Southampton Education School, University of Southampton
AAAS and EurekAlert! are not responsible for the accuracy of news releases posted to EurekAlert! by contributing institutions or for the use of any information through the EurekAlert! system.