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Toward a social construction of an European youth-ness: experience of inclusion and exclusion in the public sphere among second generation migrated teenagers

Final Report Summary - TRESEGY (Toward a social construction of an European youth-ness: experience of inclusion and exclusion in the public sphere among second generation migrated teenagers)

TRESEGY project's main area of interest was focused upon 'the social construction of inequalities in European societies' and the project has been implemented by enforcing 'a comparative approach to second generation migrated teenagers' experience of perceiving and accessing material and non-material resources available in the public sphere'. Given this, TRESEGY aimed to explore second generation migrated teenagers' life experiences in nine different local urban localities within six national contexts. This target group represented - and still represents indeed - an important challenge for the EU and its Member States. Their social and cultural location and representation varies dramatically within different European host societies. From this perspective, the proposed project aimed to evaluate and compare the different structural, cultural, economic and socio-political factors that contribute to organisation and orientation of socio-economic exclusion / inclusion phenomena among these groups in the public sphere. Ultimately social actors' perceptions about degree of inclusion and / or belonging to their receiving societies as well as relation to EU oriented values and principles were explored and compared from an European perspective.

Tresegy employed, as the core of the research - an ethnographic and 'emic' approach in order to put mainly into light upon social actors' perspectives. From this different and somehow innovative standpoint, it has been possible to achieve two main goals: firstly, to understand the shift between institutional dimensions on the one hand and teenagers' perceptions and expectations concerning their access to public material and non material resources on the other. In a second instance, it has been possible to compare and to assess how different national contexts provide, in a policy recommendation oriented view - positive and negative conditions that lead either to participation and integration or to marginalisation and exclusion. TRESEGY investigated social inclusion / exclusion factors among second generation migrant origin youths in nine European cities, developing a three year research in each context, foreseeing four different steps through different but complementary methodologies. The project envisaged investigation both on a national and a local level. All research teams have applied a mixed methodology: quantitative and qualitative approaches were brought together with theoretical and methodological models borrowed from statistics, sociology and anthropology. Despite the whole research design and methodological back-bone have been maintained similar, some variations in methodological / methodic components' involvement occurred according to contextual conditions / demands in every location and each team's expertise and disciplinary specialisation.

The final result is a 57' feature length documentary entitled 'In between - 09 takes from the European scene'. In it, the nine terrains are featured through one or more than one individual and respective communities, in it the individuals express in their own terms their main concerns and perspectives on the issues tackled by TRESEGY during the project. The film has been imagined as the main dissemination tool toward a broader public audience. As in such from the beginning of the project it has been agreed that the production and filming of the documentary would be divided by the two teams who had showed an interest in doing the filming: UFP and University of Genoa.

As a work methodology, the film crews worked in close collaboration with the researchers team in each terrain; the individuals filmed were so by indication of the group of researchers working that unit; the general script for each terrain was also constructed between the filmmaking team and the researchers team so as to make sure the representation of the reality in film was according to the researchers' aims and relation to the terrain. However, as a work that is an artistic endeavour, the documentary produced is always the view of its makers on the reality being filmed, and the filmmakers are never representatives of any community, they are only representatives of themselves and their cinematographic vision. Having said this, one of the major filmmaker concerns, as to make sure the documentary would serve the project's purpose adequately, i.e. that would supply the viewers with the diversity encountered by the researchers and the project as a whole and that would promote discussion and reflection of the project's subject matter.

The final dissemination conference that took place in Lleida Spain on May 2009 has been designed to discuss the issue of inclusion and exclusion among second generation migrant origin / descent youths in a open and dialogic structure with both representatives from the institutions and public bodies and with same representative youths from TRESEGY participating localities. Especially, the last public session has been specifically turned to this end and researchers, stake-holders, politicians, social workers and young second generation immigrant origin / descent youths joined together to discuss TRESEGY findings and main emerging issue in a future perspective.

Participating youths from Lisbon decided to take a step forward by presenting and reading to the audience a declaration letter as their way to make clear and to claim for a proactive role in decision making processes and policy making planning about their condition and future. It represented also a great chance for TRESEGY project to fulfil one of the objective of the project to create a new working framework - and not only in scientific academic terms - to give voice to those individuals that are part and represent the future of our societies. TRESEGY project considered such occasion as an opportunity and decided to make this text an integral part of official documentation of the project.

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