Research areas are located in the urban metropolitan area of Cologne (1.05 million residents) in the Ostheim and Südstadt districts, in the Vauban-Esquermes district in Lille in the Métropole Européenne de Lille (MEL, 1.1 million residents) and in the La Bourgogne district of Tourcoing. Thirty interviews with young people (fifteen in each country) and ten subject-field experts (five in each country) are to be conducted in these areas. The young people are interviewed to first determine the selection criteria for the interviews with the experts.
Regarding the forms of political participation, we distinguish conventional forms of political participation (e.g. participation in structures of representative democracy such as elections or party membership) and unconventional forms (e.g. petitions, participation in social movements, demonstrations, political opinion on the Internet, e.g. call to Flash mobs, initiating hashtag). In all forms of political participation, the media (television, radio, internet, etc.) have to be considered as relevant platforms, with a focus on their reception and utilization by young people.
This study will highlight behavioural differences amongst youth involved in different forms of political involvement, specifically regarding engagement, loyalty, partial involvement, withdrawal, political disinterest, or protest.
This international and comparative perspective allows for a study that exceeds a national scale. The results of this research project will benefit not only Franco-German Youth Office (FGYO) officials, but also research on youth, political education for young people and youth work in France and Germany, particularly when planning activities or new research projects and new perspectives, based on this study.
The results of this research should contribute to the prevention of extremism in both countries insofar as this project studies how young people develop their political opinion and observes how certain political activities are caused by particular events and experiences.
Methodology and procedures
The research group discussed the term “political participation" and agreed on an open and holistic concept with the goal of taking into account the many forms of political participation. In this process, we rely not only on exhaustive bibliographic research but also on the expertise of our colleagues.
To study a wide range of youth interpretation and behavioral models on political participation, the groups interviewed are young people of different educational backgrounds of both genders. Thus, it is possible to adopt an intersectional approach for this qualitative research (“intersections” designating attitudes and actions intersecting in several categories, such as gender and immigrant origin) and to minimize "blind spots".
This is an empirical qualitative study (database: 40 qualitative interviews in total) with young people aged 16 to 25, originating from privileged neighborhoods as well as marginalized neighborhoods. This method thus ensuring that the conditions under which they and they have grown, the development of political opinion and local political actions can be studied. The composition of the research group considers the diversity of the group and the characteristics studied (age, gender, ethnicity, social origin, level of training, etc.)
The following research questions are relevant to the project:
- Which forms of political participation exist in Germany and France (according to criteria such as conventional/unconventional for example, and considering forms of participation in public or private)?
- Which forms of political participation do young people favor (under which conditions and to what extent)?
- What is the relationship between different forms of political participation amongst young people (also from a historical standpoint, and according to criteria such as conventional/unconventional)?
- What significance does political participation have on social cohesion in France and Germany?
- What significance does political participation have on developing a political and democratic consciousness in France and Germany?
- What relationship do young people from migrant backgrounds have with youth social movements in their families’ countries of origin?
The project is planned to be completed in three years with a subsequent book release (in French and German) as well as scientific papers elaborating on solutions to research issues listed above.
Members of the research group in alphabetical order
- Özlem Aslan, TH Köln, Faculty of Applied Social Sciences, Cologne
- Adrien Benaise, PhD student, Center of Sociological and Economical Studies (CLERSE), Lille
- Dr. Veronica Fernandez Caruncho, TH Köln, Faculty of Applied Social Sciences, Cologne
- Prof. Dr. Schahrzad Farrokhzad, TH Köln, Faculty of Applied Social Sciences, Cologne
- Abdelhafid Hammouche, Professor, Center of Sociological and Economical Studies (CLERSE), Lille
- Laurent Lardeux, National Institute of Youth and Education, Institut National de la Jeunesse et de l’Éducation Populaire (INJEP), Researcher, Scientific Counsellor of publications about youth, studies and research, Paris
- Dietmar Loch, Professor, Center of Sociological and Economical Studies (CLERSE), Lille
- Stoyan Nikov, PhD student, Center of Sociological and Economical Studies (CLERSE), Lille
- Prof. Dr. Markus Ottersbach, TH Köln, Faculty of Applied Social Sciences, Cologne
- Dr. Sonja Preissing, Pedagogue, Head of Department, Child and Youth Policies, Arbeitsstelle Kinder- und Jugendpolitik, German Youth Institute (DJI), Munich
- Zaihia Zeroulou, Lecturer, Center of Sociological and Economical Studies (CLERSE), Lille