CIVICWEB analysed the contribution of the internet to promoting civic engagement and participation among young people (aged 15-25). It focused specifically on the range of civic sites now emerging on the web. Potentially, they constitute a powerful form of non-formal learning, affecting the development of social capital, and political, social and economic participation.
The research has focused on three key dimensions of this phenomenon:
· the production of such sites, including the motivations, working practices and economic models of the producers (primarily web content editors, designers and moderators);
· the nature and characteristics of the sites, both in terms of content and formal features (design, mode of address, structure);
· the uses and interpretations made of such sites by different social groups of young people, and the relationship between this online activity and their civic or political participation offline.
The purpose of this seminar is to bring project participants together with a wide range of experts from across Europe to discuss and reflect on the key findings of CIVICWEB: Young People, the Internet and Civic Participation. The seminar on 1 July is designed to promote debate about the Europe-wide dimensions and the importance of these issues for young people. A public seminar on the previous evening (30 June) will focus specifically on the work of youth activist groups.
In the run-up to the final seminar, the CIVICWEB researchers seek to launch a vigorous debate, bringing together practitioners, policy-makers and researchers around the following key questions which have guided the project:
· Are young people really apathetic and uninterested when it comes to political and civic issues?
· Is the internet the answer to the problem of civic disengagement? Is it going to motivate and engage those young people who are not involved already?
· How can civic and political organisations operating online take best advantage of all the opportunities offered by the internet as a medium?
· How can the online civic engagement of young people make a difference to the established formal political sphere?For registration: http://www.civicweb.eu/content/blogcategory/1/2/
For more information on the project: http://www.civicweb.eu