Youth and Citizenship

Bob Coles
January 1, 1995

This publication discusses citizenship in Europe as it is understood in terms of “rights” and argues that various social and institutional factors interact to determine the realization of these rights for adults as well as young people. Young people are only “semi-autonomous,” as their rights are dependent on the family, the State and the labor market. Their rights are distinctive, including “welfare rights,” “protection rights,” “adult rights” and “rights against parents” that may increase or limit young people’s freedom. To promote the citizenship of young people, it is necessary to have a social policy, and not just a legal framework. The changing context of young people’s citizenship in the UK and Europe is discussed with reference to problems of unemployment and the social policy responses of the state and the European community.