When exploring young people’s integration in rural society, we came across evidence of the polarisation to which they fall victim, with some more integrated and others much less integrated into community life, education, employment, and with different groups and categories benefiting to rather different extents from local and non-local opportunities. It is therefore a matter of deep concern that an understanding of what “being young” means in different contexts, and how young cope with the changes currently affecting rural life and youth development. In this regard, it seems important first of all to listen to what have to say, then to be open to the alternative approaches to problem solving, development and participation that young people directly articulate. Only a society that is genuinely open to dialogue with different, divergent and sometimes uncomfortable views can space in which to promote real participation and increase the integration those currently or potentially threatened by social exclusion.
Dax, Thomas, Machold, Ingrid, Gerry, Chris (2003): "Youth spirit" - the ingredient that makes all the difference? In: Dax, Thomas, Machold, Ingrid (Hrsg.) (2003): Voices of Rural Youth. A Break with Traditional Patterns? Bundesanstalt für Bergbauernfragen. Wien. 158-178.