Building Towards Effective Participation: A Learning-based Network Approach to Youth Participation

Youth is a phase of life during which people acquire culturally defined roles and statuses. These positions are mobile, as young people navigate between different locations of membership and marginalisation. It is vital that young people are supported and encouraged to take part in decision making within their communities, since participative activities may provide new kinds of political agencies, social relations and even societal change.

The aim of this article is to present theoretical concepts concerning youth participation and the Learning-based network approach to planning (LENA approach), as well as its application in an action research study in the context of one of the Nordic welfare states, Finland. The article concludes by discussing the constraints and opportunities of effective youth participation.