Dissertation Abstracts

Youth Policy in Ireland and India: A Comparative Study

Author: Motcham, Casimir R, casisdb@gmail.com
Department: Applied Social Studies
University: National University of Ireland, Maynooth, Ireland
Supervisor: Maurice Devlin
Year of completion: In progress
Language of dissertation: English

Keywords: Comparative Research , Youth Policy , Youth Work , Youth
Areas of Research: Comparative Sociology , Youth


Young people today live in a globalized society characterized by a wide array of prospects and problems, innovations and challenges, promise and despair. The present demographic, economic, and social changes in global society affect the life situations and lifestyles of young people. Contemporary policy discourse about young people is frequently trapped in the dichotomous paradigm of simplistically portraying them as either ‘a problem’ or a ‘human resource’. This broadly applies both in Europe and in Asia. However, while significant comparative research on youth, youth work, and youth policies has been done within Europe, there is very little research which compares the European and Asian contexts, and there is none to date specifically comparing Ireland and India. This thesis explores and compares the youth policies of Ireland and India through the analytical lens of Ian Gough’s (2008) “five I’s”: industrialisation, interests, institutions, ideas and international environment. It examines the major ‘factors and actors’ that have influenced the historical development of youth policies in both countries and situates these in their broader regional contexts.

This research is a descriptive and explanatory study which utilises a qualitative method to gather in-depth information about the understanding of youth policies of Republic of Ireland and Republic of India. This method has proved to be appropriate for this research to address the research question. It helped to compare the factors and actors that influence the youth policies in Ireland and India. A good environment was created for the key informants of youth policy both in Ireland and India to express their understanding and perception freely and openly. This study finds that there are varied differences and similarities in Irish and Indian youth policy.

There are many obvious differences between India and Ireland in terms of location, demography, culture(s) and other economic and social factors. However, there are also significant connections between them, stemming not least from their common colonial experiences, meaning there are important parallels in political culture and public administration. The voluntary sector and its relationship with government agencies hugely influences policy making in both countries (the principle of ‘subsidiarity’ in Ireland can be fruitfully compared with that of ‘Panchayati Raj’ in India). In India, however, there is no forum for NGOs and the government to come together whereas ‘social partnership’ has been central to Irish social policy. In both countries, young people have been profoundly affected by economic change and globalisation presents them with a range challenges and opportunities, social and cultural as well as economic. Deep-seated inequalities, different but overlapping, also persist in both. Important policy initiatives underway in India and Ireland will be judged in the future on the basis of how adequately they respond to issues such as these.