Young Europeans’ constructions and discussions of migrancy and racism

Loughran, Tom, Ross, Alistair and Spinthourakis, Julia Athena (2024) Young Europeans’ constructions and discussions of migrancy and racism. In: Promoting Inclusive Systems for Migrants in Education. Routledge, London. ISBN 9781003263999


This chapter [9] considers how young people in Europe - of both migrant and non-migrant origins - construct attitudes towards migrants and refugees. We argue that accessing the voices of young people may provide necessary and significant starting points for the development of systems of policy and practice for migrant education. We are particularly focused on how these young people articulated their discussions about migrancy and racism, and how they utilised contextual resources to develop and elaborate their arguments, rather than what particular view they came to. We focus on the necessity of supporting young people in discussing their values and experiences in a deliberative context, following their specific contingent concerns, and using the vocabulary and terms they use. Deliberation with peers promotes the growth of personal development and an inclusive culture, respecting and including heritages and the marginalised groups. We argue that simply having discussions improves understanding and awareness, leading to personal development. We thus suggest there needs to be a greater focus on the processes and structures that ensure group discussion, and a curricular requirement to discuss issues of migrancy and racism, at least within the European context. We illustrate how such discussions can be developed and supported to focus on issues of social justice and equality, particularly in the data analysed with reference to racism in society, and the treatment of refugees and migrants. We shows the immediacy and news-led focus of the subjects of discussion, but also demonstrate in many cases that young people can analyse their own and their family’s experiences, or will listen to, and appreciate, the experiences of members of their discussion group and friends who have experiences of racism and discrimination, and that many young people – clearly a substantial majority – empathise with them.

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