Different dynamics of youth participation in Mardin, Turkey

Konuralp, Özge
This study aims to find out different dynamics of youth participation in Mardin, which is one of the least developed regions of Turkey. Throughout the thesis I try to find out different dimensions that influence the level of participation and the different dynamics through which young people differentiate in terms of their social, cultural and political participation. Beyond youth participation researches conducted with young people living in urban areas, I decided to conduct the research in Mardin/South-eastern Anatolia which has one of the lowest scores in terms of human development indicators, in order to reveal the different dynamics of youth participation linked to space. The region has many structural inadequacies such as limited employment opportunities, social provisions as well as insufficient social services, so the level of social and cultural participation of young people in the region is also lower than the state average. Beyond structural barriers that affect young people living in the region equally, it is observed that factors that affect youth participation are not homogenous and vary according to different social, cultural and political states. In this sense, one of the main findings of the study is that the level of youth’s social and cultural participation, recognition of civil, political and cultural rights, as well as their political participation, differs depending on their ethnic consciousness, political standing and gender aspect. Thus, young people who have participated into the interviews are classified and analysed under three different categories. The first category is composed of young people who have a certain extent of ethnic consciousness, claim constitutional citizenship rights without excluding any ethnic origin and religion, and who are aware of right abuses as well as conscious about their social, cultural and political rights. The second category is composed of young people who have a conservative political approach which is more close to the policies of the ruling party (Justice and Development Party-AKP) and who do not emphasize certain rights or ways of participation, but consider the youth activities/projects as a source of cultural participation. Lastly the third category is composed of young women who face with gender discrimination in terms of their social, cultural and political participation and mainly stuck between conservative society and family. In addition to the classification of young people under three categories in terms of their different patterns of participation, it was revealed that young people, independent of their level of participation, within the structured conditions are reconstructing a unique public sphere, set of values and new means of social, cultural and political participation.


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Citation Formats
Ö. Konuralp, “Different dynamics of youth participation in Mardin, Turkey,” M.S. - Master of Science, Middle East Technical University, 2016.