A1 Journal article (refereed)
An Intersectional Analysis of Young People’s Cultural Participation in the Context of the European Capital of Culture : The Case of Oulu2026 (2023)

Pekkarinen, J. (2023). An Intersectional Analysis of Young People’s Cultural Participation in the Context of the European Capital of Culture : The Case of Oulu2026. Nordisk Kulturpolitisk Tidskrift, 26(2), 238-263. https://doi.org/10.18261/nkt.26.2.9

JYU authors or editors

Publication details

All authors or editorsPekkarinen, Jenni

Journal or seriesNordisk Kulturpolitisk Tidskrift



Publication year2023

Publication date17/11/2023


Issue number2

Pages range238-263


Publication countryNorway

Publication languageEnglish


Publication open accessOpenly available

Publication channel open accessOpen Access channel

Publication is parallel published (JYX)https://jyx.jyu.fi/handle/123456789/92060


The European Capital of Culture (ECoC) highlights the importance of promoting social inclusion and equal participation opportunities for a wide range of citizens, with special attention paid to young people, as well as marginalised and disadvantaged groups. In light of the looming risk of global youth disillusionment, such goals appear increasingly important. Enhancing participation and a sense of belonging among young people is a centrally important goal for the ECoC project of the city of Oulu and its wider region (Oulu2026), which aims to tackle existing issues related to, for example, youth unemployment, mental health issues, and negative net migration among young adults.

This mixed methods study adopts an intersectional lens to examine young adults’ cultural participation and experiences of disillusionment in the Oulu2026 region, as well as related strategies presented in the bid book of Oulu2026. Special attention is paid to questions of marginalisation and disadvantage. The research data consists of a survey among young adults in the region, document analysis of the bid book, and review of the ECoC criteria and guidelines. Supported by existing research and academic discussion on cultural participation, cultural citizenship, and intersectionality, the paper concludes that the bidding phase strategies of Oulu2026 fail to recognise the diverse participatory needs of those young adults who experience marginalisation and/or disadvantage, especially when such experience is based on multiple categories of difference.

Based on the findings, I suggest that cultivating a profound understanding of the issues limiting full cultural citizenship among young adults in the region and adopting an intersectionally aware approach would help Oulu2026 to better respond to the participatory needs of young people from diverse groups and backgrounds. Moreover, I propose that the official ECoC guidelines and criteria, as well as contemporary cultural citizenship debates would benefit from the integration of an intersectional dimension.

Keywordscapitals of cultureparticipationinfluencingculturecultural lifecitizenshipyoung peopleyoung adultscultural policyintersectionality

Free keywordsEuropean Capital of Culture; Oulu2026; youth disillusionment; cultural citizenship; cultural participation; intersectionality; young people

Contributing organizations

Ministry reportingYes

Reporting Year2023

Preliminary JUFO rating1

Last updated on 2024-03-04 at 21:56