Constructing AcTive CitizensHip with European Youth

CATCH-EyoU aims to identify the factors, located at different levels which have been deemed to influence different forms of youth active engagement in Europe

CATCH-EyoU: Constructing AcTive CitizensHip with European Youth is funded under the Young 5a stand of the European Union’s Horizon 2020 programme. The consortium is led by the University of Bologna in Itlay and in addition to LSE in the UK has partners in Orebro, Sweden; Mararyk, Czech Republic; Porto, Portugal; Athens, Greece; Tartu, Estonia and Jena, Germany. 


The apparent gap between young Europeans and EU Institutions has proved challenging in both policy and practitioner communities, each of whom have worked hard to improve dialogue, in order to improve young people’s experience of EU Institutions and, in tandem their active engagement in EU issues. This cannot be accomplished, however, without a mutual commitment on the part of EU institutions to listen to and respect the voices and views of a diverse cross section of young people. Including young people’s perspectives policy making and democratic practice is essential to ensuring the resilience of participatory and representative democracy.

Through the joint contribution of different disciplines (Psychology, Political Science, Sociology, Media and Communications, History and Education) CATCH-EyoU aims to identify the factors, located at different levels (psychological, economic, political, social and contextual) which have been deemed to influence different forms of youth active engagement in Europe. Through a range of studies, literature reviews, ethnographic work with active citizens, qualitative interviews, quantitative surveys, and an active citizenship intervention in schools, the project will provide a multifaceted understanding of the different factors influencing the perspectives of young people on local and national civic life, democracy, and Europe, and of the ways in which young people engage in society.

At one level this offers policy makers new instruments and “conceptual lenses” to better understand contemporary young people, how they approach public authorities, and how they engage materially and symbolically in order to participate in the construction of the societies they inhabit and shape the governmental regimes under which they live. At another level this analysis will reveal the gaps and flaws as well as the strengths in previous international studies of active citizenship and youth, emphasizing the varieties of interests that have been served by keeping alive particular conceptualisations of young people and of citizenship, and ignoring or delegitimizing others. The project’s aim is to scaffold new understandings which will help to bring the European Union closer to all its citizens, and to democratic ideals, not only the young.

Project website:

LSE Participants


Dr Shakuntala Banaji
UK Project Director 

Dr Shakuntala Banaji is Associate Professor in the Department of Media and Communications at LSE, where she also serves as Director of Graduate Studies and programme director for the MSc Media, Communication and Development. She lectures on International Media and the Global South, Film theory and World Cinema, and Critical Approaches to Media, Communication and Development in the Department of Media and Communications at the LSE.  She is UK project director for the 7-Country Horizon 2020 Young 5a project CATCH-EyoU on Active Citizenship amongst young people in Europe, led by UNIBO, Italy (2015-2018) and is the recipient of numerous teaching prizes, including the prestigious European Teaching Award for Excellence in the Social Sciences and Humanities (2015).

Her previous position was at the Institute of Education, University of London, where she undertook research into young people and learning technologies, creativity and education, pedagogy, civic participation and online media cultures and was been part of several large-scale research projects for the European Union and other funders; among these ‘Stakeholder Perspectives on Creativity and Innovation in Schooling in the EU27’ (IPTS 2009-2010); CivicWeb: Young People, the Internet and Civic Participation (EU, Framework 6, 2006-2009); Children in Communication about Migration (CHICAM, EU, Framework 5, 2001-2004) and Rhetorics of Creativity (Creative Partnerships, 2005-2006). She has taught English and Media studies in secondary schools, guest-lectured on film, young people and digital technologies in India, Sweden and the UK, taught on the Media and Society BSc at South Bank University. She continues to work in schools across the UK with teachers and students of all ages and has an abiding interest in the social and civic contexts of children and young people and social equality in the global south.


Dr Sam Mejias
Research Officer

Dr Sam Mejias is a researcher specialising in the fields of human rights and citizenship education, international educational development, youth media, and media for development. He holds a PhD in Education from the UCL Institute of Education and a Master’s degree in International Educational Development from Columbia University Teachers College. He is currently the research officer at the Department of Media and Communications for the Catch-EyoU project, a multi-country European Commission Horizon 2020 project running from 2015-2018.

Dr. Mejias’ past work includes development research for BBC Media Action, UNICEF and the Economist; academic research at UCL Institute of Education; curriculum development for Amnesty International and the British Institute of International and Comparative Law; and film and music production on freelance multimedia projects. 


Selected publications

Dr Shakuntala Banaji

  • Cammaerts, B., Bruter, M., Banaji, S., Harrison, S., and Anstead, N. (2015) Youth Participation in Democratic Life: Stories of Hope and Disillusion. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.
  • Banaji, S. (2015). Behind the High-Tech Fetish: children, work and media in India. The International Communication Gazette. Volume 77, Issue 6. Online June 2015, pp1-23. 
  • Banaji, S. (2014). Bollywood horror as an uncanny public sphere: genre theories, postcolonial concepts and the insightful audience. Communication, Culture and Critique. Volume 7, Issue 4: 453-471
  • Banaji, S. and Cammaerts, B. (2014). Citizens of Nowhere Land: youth and news consumption in Europe. Journalism Studies. Journalism Studies Volume 16, Issue 1: 115-132. July.
  • Cammaerts, B., Bruter, M., Banaji, S., Harrison, S., and Anstead, N. (2014). The myth of youth apathy: young Europeans' critical attitudes toward democratic life. American Behavioral Scientist. Volume 58, issue 5, pp.645–664.
  • Banaji S. and Buckingham, D. (2013) The Civic Web: Young People, the Internet and the Civic Sphere, Cambridge MA: MIT Press. 
  • Banaji, S. (Ed.) (2010, 2011 (paperback) South Asian Media Cultures: Audiences, Representations, Contexts, London UK and New York, USA: Anthem Press
  • Banaji, S. (2006, 2012 (second edition, paperback) Reading ‘Bollywood’: The Young Audience and Hindi Films Basingstoke: Palgrave-Macmillan.

Dr Sam Mejías

  • Mejias, S. (Forthcoming). Politics, Power and Protest: Rights-Based Education Policy and the Limits of Human Rights Education. In Bajaj, Monisha (Ed.), Global Perspectives on Human Rights Education. 
  • Mejias, S. and Starkey, H. (2012). Critical Citizens or Neoliberal Consumers? Utopian Visions and Pragmatic Uses of Human Rights Education in a Secondary School in England. In Mitchell, Richard C. and Moore, Shannon A. (Eds.), Politics, Participation & Power Relations: Transdisciplinary Approaches to Critical Citizenship in the Classroom and Community. Toronto: Sense Publishers.