Do youth juries enhance youth political and societal participation? Lessons from the Vaasa experiment

Harri Raisio, Seija Ollila, pirkko vartiainen


The civic engagement of young people can be considered problematic in Finland. Still, the issue might be that youth actually are interested in politics and societal issues. They merely are not interested in the existing methods of political and societal participation. As a path forward the youth jury is tested in the Vaasa experiment. The underlying thought is that it would be something other than “politics as usual” and thus be more interesting to youth. So far only a few youth juries have been implemented and analyzed worldwide (e.g. Carson et. al. 2004; Iredale et. al. 2006). As a result Vaasa youth jury gives strong validity to the theoretical presumptions of youth juries. Participation into the youth jury was seen as a positive experience by many jurors. As a path forward on increasing youth involvement jurors underlined the possibilities of youth juries. Jurors also showed signs of positive attitudinal changes towards societal and political participation. However attitudinal change didn’t take place towards interest in positions of trusts. This can be seen as an indication that it is not that youth are passive and not interested, but that there are not possibilities to influence which would be stimulating enough for them.

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Scandinavian Journal of Public Administration

School of Public Administration, Box 712 - SE-405 30 Göteborg

ISSN: 2001-7405, E-ISSN: 2001-7413