Design of the Second Part of the Study
The ultimate object of this research project is to investigate the situation of young Europeans in rural areas, and to provide new perspectives concerning their living conditions. Our research findings will be applied in the youth policy and practical youth work of the participating rural areas. The results of this study are also intended to provide information for local, national and European Union youth policy regarding the various concerns of our continent's rural young people, and to encourage initiatives for the betterment of their futures.
This second volume of the Comparative Study of Living Conditions and Participation of Rural Young People in Changing Europe (RYPE Report, Part II) has been carried out by our network partners in Vasa (Finland), Umeň (Sweden), Brandenburg (Germany), Calabria (Italy) and Tartu (Estonia). The results of the first part of this study were reported in RYPE Report, Part I (on internet at http://www.nuorisotutkimusseura.fi/rype/).
During the process of doing research work together over the past two years, the network partners have gathered for seminars five times. Our initial seminar on methodology was held in Helsinki on August 13 - 15, 1997, where we discussed the theoretical and practical implications of the multi-disciplinary framework we intended to use. The next seminar was arranged in Calabria on the topic, "Young Europeans in Rural Areas," where we discussed the results of secondary analysis. At this point a comparative research design was approved for the second part of the project. Our next seminar was in Munich on September 11 - 13, 1998, with discussions centring on the theoretical frameworks and methods of qualitative analysis which had been used in ethnographic studies which had previously been carried out in each of the respective countries. Further seminars in Helsinki on December 5 - 7, 1998 and February 26 - 28, 1999 were used to discuss the findings of the qualitative portion of our project. RYPE Reports I and II are based on drafts of the research papers which the partners presented and discussed together at these seminars.
Part II here not only provides information on the living conditions and participation of rural young people in five European countries, but also considers the importance of ethnic group-identity for rural young people. These young Europeans, from Southern Italy to Northern Finland and Sweden, and those from post-socialist Estonia and Eastern Germany, are living with a process of political and economic shift, which can be seen in their attitudes and values.
In our joint-research we have encountered not only methodological problems of comparative research but also theoretical and conceptual difficulties which had to be solved. I am most grateful for the understanding and intensive combined efforts of our research partners, which have served as the basis for this report. As co-ordinator and editor of this endeavour I wish to thank all of my research partners very warmly. I also wish to thank Directorate-General XXII of the European Commission for supporting us through our being included in Action E.II, Youth research. We hope that our contributions to the Youth for Europe programme will prove to have been a good investment, and we hope that our experience as a research team will be of further use to you in the future. Further thanks are due to David Huisjen for his linguistic help and to Marko Laitinen for "secretarial" help in finalising this volume.
Helsinki: March 20, 1999
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