|Editor||P. Cunningham & N. Fretwell, Lifelong Learning and Active Citizenship|
This is the first of a projected series of five presentations from 2010 to 2014, based on the development of the project being undertaken under the aegis of the Jean Monnet Professorship. In the current academic year I have conducted a series of focus groups with pupils (some aged c 12 years old, some c 16 years old) and some of their teachers, in one country that is a Candidate for membership of the European Union (Turkey) and three countries that joined the Union six years ago (Estonia, Latvia an Lithuania). I was trying to establish the discourses these young people use to construct their sense of identities, particularly with reference to the idea of possibly holding a European identity, or not. The survey is deliberately small scale and discursive, trying to avoid the pre-construction of categories by the researchers, and attempting to make an analysis through 'one pair of eyes', using some forms of discourse analysis that have been adapted to be used in the context of a range of languages. This presentation of initial findings highlights some of thoughtful and insightful views young people in these countries have on their identities and futures. In subsequent years the study will be extended to further candidate countries and other countries that have fairly recently joined the Union, and by the development of analytic themes that will help us explore how young people variously engage with the development of their identities in the context of changing borders and boundaries in Europe.