Presenters: Dr Rhys Jones and Dr Elin Royles (Aberystwyth University) and Professor Lindsay Paterson and Dr Fiona O’Hanlon (University of Edinburgh)
Chair: Dr Huw Lewis
Location: Interpol Room, Main Hall, Aberystwyth University

Much has been written in various disciplines about the role played by governmental organisations – most notably statutory and more informal educational institutions – in shaping the political and civic identities of young people.

Recent research has increasingly focused on how these kinds of processes are being played out in devolved contexts.  This paper builds on this literature by developing a comparative study of youth identities in Scotland and Wales.  Drawing on policy literatures from the two countries, as well as interviews with their respective policy makers, it examines the role played by statutory and non-statutory forms of education in shaping civic identities among young people and discusses how these processes are reinforced and complicated by linguistic abilities, especially in relation to the minority languages of Scots Gaelic and Welsh.  While certain common features exist in the policy discourses of Scotland and Wales – witness the positive connections that are made in official contexts between minority language ability and devolved youth identities in both countries – there are also marked differences. The paper concludes by developing a place-based approach to understanding youth identities in the two devolved territories, one that may have broader applicability in other non-devolved contexts.

This seminar relates to Work Package 2.3 of WISERD’s Civil Society ESRC grant.