Citizenship as practice: critical evaluation of educational communication as means of young migrants’ social participation
- Publisher: Faculty of Social Work, University of Ljubljana
In the years 2004-2006 the Education Office and the Social Polices and Integration Office at the City Council of Modena designed three projects addressed to sustain social participation of Children of International Migrants (CIM) empowering their active citizenship. The premise of these interventions was that social integration depends on social participation. Social participation describes social actions that are both autonomous and visible in society.\ud This projects looked at citizenship not as a sort of cognitive status to be reached but as the outcome of the experience of everyday participation to social processes. The activities proposed to CIM wanted to stimulate a reflection about everyday experience of participation to host social processes, with the help of adult social operators.\ud Our research highlights that once they materialised in concrete interactions all of these three projects produced paradoxical results: it was possible to observe that social operators systematically violated CIM spaces of communication, that is to say CIM opportunities to experience, in the context of the social interventions, an active and autonomous social participation. Social operators interfered with CIM autonomous participation to interactions as soon as it brought about meanings inconsistent with the ideological and theoretical premises of the interventions; this brought CIM to mistrust their opportunity of an autonomous social participation.\ud A social intervention aiming to offer an opportunity to experience social participation needs a communication form specialised in promoting self-expression of communicators, a communication form that creates mutual trust, that is able explore common ground and continuity of views between interlocutors. We offer a sketch of a communication form that promises to be much more effective than education in sustaining social integration of young migrants by mean of the promotion of their autonomous participation. This communication form is called “dialogue”.\ud The limits of educational communication suggest that for social workers that operates among adolescents and young adults, dialogue is an opportunity to experiment, to make their work more effective and the projects in which they are involved more efficient.
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