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The complex ecology of young people's community engagement and the call for community pedagogues

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posted on 2015-09-22, 10:41 authored by Paul Warwick, Hilary Cremin, Tom Harrison, Carolynne MasonCarolynne Mason
This paper focuses upon the community engagement of young people growing up in socio-economically disadvantaged areas and the creation of apt civic learning spaces. It is in direct response to public policy within the UK, as in many other democratic countries, giving continued attention to how young people’s active citizenship can be best supported. As a consequence of processes of globalisation, social change and technological advancement it is being increasingly recognised that young citizens face unprecedented challenges in the 21st century. At the same time young people growing up within areas of socio-economic disadvantage are commonly identified as being most at risk of social exclusion and discouragement with regard to their civic participation. This paper draws from the EngagED project, a two-year study based in England that used a mixed methods research approach to explore the civic action and learning of young people living in both inner city and rural areas of socio-economic disadvantage. It presents an eco-systemic model of the host of factors and agencies that influence young people’s civic identity and patterns of community engagement. It outlines two new civic learning spaces that were created in response to these complex ecologies and from these experiments in ‘pre-figurative practice’ proposes a set of key principles for the effective civic pedagogue. This radical notion of the civic educator moves away from educational strategies that seek to ‘transform’ young people into good future citizens, towards finding personalised ways of supporting young people ‘as’ citizens.



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Journal of Social Science Education






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WARWICK, P. ...et al., 2012. The complex ecology of young people's community engagement and the call for community pedagogues. Journal of Social Science Education, 11(3), pp. 64-86.


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This work is made available according to the conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0) licence. Full details of this licence are available at: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-nd/4.0/

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This paper was accepted for publication in the journal Journal of Social Science Education and the definitive version is available at http://dx.doi.org/10.2390/jsse-v11-i3-98


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