Involving young people as researchers: uncovering multiple power relations among youths
University of Exeter; University of Plymouth
In this paper, we address the issue of giving young people a voice by involving them as interviewers in the research process. While highlighting the beneficial outcomes and the empowering potential of this method, we critically discuss the assumption that peer-led interviews create less hierarchical power relations as no adult is involved. We thus caution against seeing this method as the ultimate solution to young people's marginalisation. Considering that participation is a form of power, we argue that it is essential to acknowledge and work with the power relations that characterise young people's everyday lives and that thus also affect the creation of a participatory arena with them. Power relations among young people, however, have been mainly neglected in previous research. The paper draws on a participatory research project conduced with young people (14-16 years old) in rural east-Germany that focuses on the complexity of young people's daily life experiences and perceptions of their future prospects.
This is a postprint of an article whose final and definitive form has been published in Children's Geographies © 2008 Copyright Taylor & Francis; Children's Geographies is available online at http://www.informaworld.com