Social inclusion, participation and citizenship in contexts of neoliberalism: examples of adult education policy and practice with young people in the UK, The Netherlands and Ireland

Huegler, Nathalie and Kersh, Natasha (2021) Social inclusion, participation and citizenship in contexts of neoliberalism: examples of adult education policy and practice with young people in the UK, The Netherlands and Ireland. In: Kersh, Natasha, Toiviainen, Hanna, Pitkänen, Pirkko and Zarifis, George K (eds.) Young Adults and Active Citizenship:Towards Social Inclusion through Adult Education. Springer Open Access, Switzerland, pp. 57-78. ISBN 9783030650025

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Abstract

This chapter focuses on contexts where public discourses regarding the education of young adults have been dominated by socio-economic perspectives, with a focus on the role of employment-related learning, skills and chances and with active participation in the labour market as a key concern for policy makers. A focus on ‘employability’ alone has been linked to narrow conceptualisations of participation, inclusion and citizenship, arising in the context of discourse shifts through neoliberalism which emphasise workfare over welfare and responsibilities over rights. A key critique of such contexts is that the focus moves from addressing barriers to participation to framing social inclusion predominantly as related to expectations of ‘activation’ and sometimes, assimilation. Key target groups for discourses of activation include young people not in education, employment or training (‘NEET’), while in- and exclusion of migrant and ethnic minority young people are often framed within the complex and contradictory interplay between discourses of assimilation and experiences of discrimination. These developments influence the field of adult education aimed at young people vulnerable to social exclusion. An alternative discourse to ‘activation’ is the promotion of young people’s skills and capabilities that enables them to engage in forms of citizenship activism, challenging structural barriers that lead to exclusion. Our chapter considers selected examples from EduMAP research in the UK, the Netherlands and Ireland which indicate that as well as framing the participation of young people as discourses of ‘activation’, adult education can also enable and facilitate skills related to more activist forms of citizenship participation.

Item Type: Book Section
Schools and Departments: School of Education and Social Work > Social Work and Social Care
SWORD Depositor: Mx Elements Account
Depositing User: Mx Elements Account
Date Deposited: 21 Jul 2021 14:03
Last Modified: 23 Jul 2021 08:34
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/100633

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