Recognition, inclusion and democracy: learning from action research with young people

Percy-Smith, Barry, McMahon, Gráinne and Thomas, Nigel Patrick orcid iconORCID: 0000-0002-5310-9144 (2019) Recognition, inclusion and democracy: learning from action research with young people. Educational Action Research, 27 . pp. 347-361. ISSN 0965-0792

[thumbnail of Author Accepted Manuscript]
PDF (Author Accepted Manuscript) - Accepted Version
Available under License Creative Commons Attribution Non-commercial No Derivatives.


Official URL:


This paper draws upon learning from three action research projects conducted as part of a Europe-wide project exploring young people’s social and political participation. Challenging dominant discourses about what ‘counts’ as participation and what does not, the paper explores how, through the action research projects, young people engaged in knowledge democracy in ‘new democratic arenas’. Building upon experiential knowing and creating knowledge and learning through practice, the young people explored their own democratic knowledge production, communication and engagement within a context of shifting discourses of participation, democratic engagement and active citizenship. The increasing preference of young people for more informal forms of participation as lived practice reflects a shift to young people constructing their own modes of participation and ‘remaking democracy’ in their own vision and according to their own needs. By working outside of the confines of normative assumptions of democratic practice and participation, young people exercised their own ‘political’ agency in response to their own priorities, interests and concerns and, in doing so, illustrated that new forms, understandings and practices of knowledge democracy can emerge that reflect the promise of inclusive democratic societies more meaningfully.

Repository Staff Only: item control page