Hylton, Patrick, Ben Kisby, & Paul Goddard (2018, December). Young people’s citizen identities: A Q-methodological analysis of English youth perceptions of citizenship in Britain. Societies, 8(4), art. 121 (open access). (doi: 10.3390/soc8040121) (Link: https://doi.org/10.3390/soc8040121)


Abstract: Since the late 1980s, successive United Kingdom (UK) governments have sought to develop initiatives designed to promote forms of “active citizenship” among young people. But despite the substantial amount of work done by social scientists on the topic of citizenship in recent decades, relatively little research work has been done in social psychology to analyse citizens’ actual understandings of citizenship, viewed in terms of membership of a political community. This article presents the findings of a Q-methodological study of how teenagers (n = 75) from different parts of England (M = 17.25 years; SD = 1.41) regard citizenship and construct their own identities as citizens. It sets out the three factors and four distinct stances on what it means to be a citizen that emerged in the research: The active citizen, the rooted citizen, the cosmopolitan citizen, and the secure citizen. Understanding the multiple ways in which young people construct citizenship is essential for effectively engaging with them. In this way, young citizens can be enabled to make an impact on, rather than simply being at the receiving end of, the development of citizenship policy in Britain.

Patrick Hylton <phylton@lincoln.ac.uk> is in the School of Psychology, University of Lincoln, Lincoln (UK).

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