Tensions and dilemmas in participatory youth projects working within institutional frameworks

Ditte Maria Børglum Tofteng, Anne Harju, Isabel M Bernedo Muñoz

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftsartikelForskningpeer review


The aim of the article is to explore the tensions and dilemmas that arise when bottom-up projects involving young people are placed within policy- and administratively driven institutions. The tensions and dilemmas are illustrated through three cases. The first case illustrates the colliding interests that can arise when institutions seem unable to create space for ideas from youth projects, while the second shows how bottom-up work is subordinated to policy priorities and high-level management anxieties. The third case illustrates the difficulties that arise when youth projects aiming at doing transformative and educative work collide with formal mechanisms of the legal system. The tensions and dilemmas at play are analysed through the concepts of disciplinary and project logic. The article concludes with a discussion of power relations, ownership, and control connected to youth projects and participation.

TidsskriftInternational Journal of Adolescence and Youth
Udgave nummer1
StatusUdgivet - 7 feb. 2024


  • Børn og unge
  • marginaliserede unge
  • Marginaliseringsprocesser
  • Undersøgelsesdesign, teori og metode
  • Aktionsforskning
  • Empowerment
  • Ledelse, organisationsudvikling og innovation
  • dilemmaer
  • udfordringer for socialt arbejde


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