Participation biographies: meaning-making, identity-work and the self

Grainne McMahon, Susanne Liljeholm Hansson, Larissa von Schwanenflügel, Jessica Lütgens, Marta Ilardo

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


This chapter explores young people’s meaning-making, identity-work and finding of ‘the self’ in narratives of participation. Young people’s meaning-making in the context of participation biographies was concerned with how they made sense of and drew upon their past selves, considered their present and evolving selves, and set out their imagined and desired selves in the future. The dimensions are ‘features’ of participation biographies and aspects of biographical constructions that illustrate the relationships between reconstructed biographies and participation, particularly in the context of identity-work and ‘the self’. Drawing upon reconstructions of young people’s biographical interviews, it considers the ways in which participation is an integral part of young people’s ‘process of becoming’ as they make sense of their past, their present and their imagined future, in participatory settings. Past experiences of institutions, caught up in the sense of belonging and empowerment explored, and particularly of formal institutions, also influenced young people’s participatory activities over time.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationYoung People and the Struggle for Participation
Subtitle of host publicationContested Practices, Power and Pedagogies in Public Spaces
EditorsAndreas Walther, Janet Batsleer, Patricia Loncle, Axel Pohl
Place of PublicationAbingdon
PublisherRoutledge, Taylor & Francis Group
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9780429432095
ISBN (Print)9781138362420
Publication statusPublished - 30 Jul 2019


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