Deliberation Models Featuring Youth Participation

Year of production: 2013

The article addresses the importance of youth participation in societal and institutional decision-making, by particularly analysing the shift from the illusion of participation ( tokenism) to genuine youth influence.

The authors pose deliberative democracy as a model to build bridges between youth and decision-makers. This concrete approach offers a platform for youth and adults to engage in a learning process as equal citizens and proactive leaders. Deliberative democracy can be understood as an umbrella term for different models of public deliberation. These models attempt to create carefully detailed conditions for increasing the legitimacy of decisions made through deliberation. Deliberative models that feature youth participation include youth juries, dialogue days between young people and decision-makers, and adult-youth participatory forums where the youth voice is usually a minority.

The paper explores the role of relationships, collaboration, and leadership in generating democratic spaces for the inclusion of youth in policy formation and reform. The challenges associated with engaging youth are discussed along with examples of models from Australia, Finland, Canada, and the United States that promote effective youth engagement.


Denise Bulling

University of Nebraska at Lincoln | NU · Public Policy Center. Doctor of Philosophy

Lyn Carson

The University of Sydney · Faculty of Business (Business School). PhD

Mark B. Dekraai

University of Nebraska at Lincoln | NU · Public Policy Center. PhD

Alexis Garcia

Alexis Garcia, MA is a consultant and researcher on the subjects of dialogue, change management, and democratic and inclusive governance in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.

Harri Raisio

Harri Raisio, PhD is an Assistant Professor in Social and Health Management at the University of Vaasa, Finland.