Control, cohesion and consumption: constructing young people through participation and citizenship
AbstractThis article examines participation as a "discursive fact". Using the framework of Foucault, it explores the importance of participation and citizenship as "ordering concepts" in the New Labour project. Moreover, it argues that participation is part of a wider discourse of control, cohesion, and consumption. By de-politicising participation, New Labour serves to enhance its own legitimacy. This is the logical outcome of government as systems of thought and action. Youth and community practitioners also objectify youth, exercising similar discursive power in their own work. Putting participation into practice thus presents a challenge for workers, as they are required to recognise their power and to exercise it in a reflexive way.