Institute of Rural Studies

Deputy Director


Secretariat

Anja Herkner

Bundesallee 64
38116 Braunschweig
Phone: +49 531 596 5501
Fax: +49 531 596 5599


Institute of Rural Economics

Deputy Director

  • NN

Young and committed in associations

Project

Village study Westrup (c) Thünen-Institut/Ulrike Hochgesand
Youth, leisure and cultural facility "Life House" in Stemwede-Wehdem. (© Thünen-Institut/Ulrike Hochgesand)

Associations in rural areas have long complained about a lack of young people. In the JIVE research project, we are investigating the conditions and motives for the voluntary commitment of young people in rural areas and, in this context, we are asking about the role of associations. 

Background and Objective

In rural areas, civic engagement has a long tradition and is of great importance for the community. Most of this involvement still takes place in associations, which gives them an outstanding role in rural areas. With their cultural, sporting and social offerings, they not only provide a wide range of services, but also impart norms and skills to their members and are regarded as central to village cohesion. At the same time, associations in structurally weak rural areas in particular have long complained about recruitment problems.

Today, associations are no longer just fighting for financial resources, but also for members and committed people. Due to the decline in the birth rate and the migration of young people, the proportion of young people in structurally weak rural areas is declining. But the high value placed on individuality in modern society is in public opinion also considered responsible for the instability of the association landscape in rural areas.

There are indications that young people would like to help shape the future of their society, but often do not feel sufficiently involved.

The project identifies and analyses young people's engagement behaviour and attitudes towards volunteering and the role that associations play. In addition to identifying the engagement cultures of young people in rural areas, we ask what young people think about associations today, what expectations they have of associations and what associations can do to regain attractiveness for young people. Recommendations for action can be developed to strengthen locally organised associations.

Approach

In the project, firstly, the state of research and data on the organisation-related engagement of young people in rural areas will be reviewed. Secondly, the hitherto unsatisfactory data basis will be improved with its own qualitative and quantitative data collection and the limited expert knowledge on the engagement cultures of young people in rural areas will be significantly expanded (see here for our leaflet und placard). Thirdly, the data generated will be analysed in order to identify the cultures of engagement of young people and the role played by associations.

The results of this research project and the derived policy recommendations contribute to the knowledge in the field and improve the basis for decision-making on engagement policy by the Federal Ministry of Food and Agriculture, by municipalities and by those responsible for associations, for example, in order to counter the lack of young people in associations in rural areas.

Data and Methods

  • Qualitative, guideline-based expert interviews, focus groups with committed and non-committed young people
  • Quantitative online survey of young people (representative of the three districts studied)

Thünen-Contact


Duration

5.2021 - 4.2024

More Information

Projekt type:
Project funding number: 2821FE003
Funding program: Bundesprogramm Ländliche Entwicklung
Project status: ongoing

Publications to the project

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