Presentation at ”Youth on the Move” 3rd Maynooth International Youth Studies Conference

Youth and Citizenship: Changing value groups and citizenship types of Finnish young people. ”Youth on the Move” 3rd  Maynooth International Youth Studies Conference 23.06.2015. Maynooth, Irland.

Modern theories of citizenship have tried to find ideal types of citizenship (e.g. Frazer & Emler, 1997; Turner, 1993). Citizenship is a concept that relates to an individual’s direct relationship with the state, and also to a wide range of voluntary bodies, independent associations, and other individual citizens.
Participation by youth citizens in intercultural dialogue through structured co-operation with civil society is fundamental to creating an identity and belonging to the community. The importance of developing active citizenship means respect for cultural diversity and the common values. Youth identity development as citizenship formation i s closely connected with the socialization process, or the process of becoming a part of the community by learning its norms, customs, and traditions.
Utilizing theoretical discussions of social capital, identity, and action competence, this paper examines citizenship and its relationship with societal values, formal and non-formal education, and youth work. The analysis is based on four comparative follow-up studies on value changes amongst Finnish youth between 1989, 1992, 1996 and 2011. The citizenship values of young people seem partly to be formed in the process of dialogic interaction with peers (online or offline) and media.
Behind different value structures, the citizenship types of egalitarian, cosmopolitan, ecological, cynical, authori tarian, ethno-national and neo-liberal were identified with their own belief systems and doctrines. These variances were also seen as affected by gender and education level. The study ultimately reveals an observable decline in post-materialist values among young Finns during the last economic recession, and that economic scarcity could be seen as nurturing hard, materialistic values despite difficulties of categorizing youth citizenship types outright.