Young people and citizenship-delayed, diminished and empty?
Dee, Michael J. (1999) Young people and citizenship-delayed, diminished and empty? In Living at the Edge International Conference on Young People and Social Exclusion, 9-12 September 1999, University of Strathclyde, Scotland . (Unpublished)
This paper is presented in workshop format in order to meet the style and themes of the conference, and seeks to explore as fully as possible with participants issues, concerns and proposals around the discourse of young people and citizenship.
This paper takes the position that the relationship between young people and citizenship is complex and in places contradictory, and while Ruth Lister (1998), argues for an 'inclusionary potential', a central concern is that the citizenship that young people get is as Hartley Dean (1997), suggests, at best 'ambiguous', and at its worst, 'diminished'.
Under not so new Labour, the term has according to Gail Lewis (1998) re-emerged as a 'category of political articulation', imbued with the pronouncements of Charles Murray (1995) on the underclass, and Amitai Etzioni (1996), on the virtues of Communitarianism and the central assertion that in relation to young people and certain communities, 'rights have exceeded responsibilities'.
This body of opinion has proved to be seductive to a government dedicated to joined up solutions in the battle against social exclusion and to the reconfiguration of the welfare state to place the onus for welfare and social provision on to individuals and communities.
Those who work with young people and young people themselves may wish to be proactive in asserting the kind of citizenship they require, rights-based, expansive and supportive, rather than accept an imposed version devoid of rights but full to the brim of authoritarian measures, vindictive proposals and narrow horizons.
This paper will engender debate and reflection and offer a context of the erosion of young people's rights over the last 20 years, Hartley Dean (1996), and will consider the work of T.H. Marshall (1950) in dividing citizenship into three elements: the civil element, the political element, and the social element.
The paper will explore in workshop tradition, strategies and proposals for action relevant to practitioners and academics, such as the reduction in the voting age to 16.
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