Young Europeans' constructions of a Europe of human rights

Ross, Alistair (2020) Young Europeans' constructions of a Europe of human rights. London Review of Education, 18 (1). pp. 81-95. ISSN 1474-8479

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Abstract / Description

This article argues that many young people (11 to 19) in Europe articulate a construction of their identity that includes European element. This articulation is often initially made in instrumental terms, but through deliberative discussion can move to become more idealistic. The data is drawn from over 300 small discussion groups across 29 European countries, and it suggests that the ‘specific risks’ to European values described by the Council of Europe in 2011 are not held by the younger generation. Contemporary and local political events were used in discussion to construct ideas of Europe as representing, for them, a relatively unique phenomenon of a group of countries who they felt shared similar conceptions of human rights, and who sought to enforce them. These included the acceptance of diversity (in terms of sexuality, gender and ethnicity), of freedom of expression within particular limits, of the obligations of countries to organise social services, and of participation in democratic processes. Discussion groups were held over the 2010 to 2016 period. The methodology adopted was particularly non-directive, and each discussion moved according to the interests of the group, so no quantitative analysis of this phenomenon is possible; but the overall impression is of a generation of young people who largely express support for rights-based societies, and reject intolerance, nationalism and authoritarian behaviours. The methodology used may have potential pedagogic implications.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: human rights, Europe, young people, identities
Subjects: 300 Social sciences
300 Social sciences > 320 Political science
Department: School of Social Sciences
Depositing User: Alistair Ross
Date Deposited: 01 Apr 2020 11:26
Last Modified: 01 Apr 2020 11:26


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