Developing action competence - How can it happen?

The objective of the study is to increase understanding of the process of developing action competence for sustainable development, through the perspectives of active youth. What have been the roles of formal education, non- and in-formal learning in this? What does active youth express as being motives and driving forces behind their actions for sustainable development?

In this study, action competence for sustainable development is used in the meaning, willingness and capability to impact for changes in individual life style, as well as for structural changes of society, in a way that includes responsibility for future generations, as well as for now living generations globally.

Data has been gathered through ethnographically inspired interviews on basis of life-world phenomenology. The researcher has searched for and participated in youth activities organized by youth themselves. In this way individuals have been found who, based on knowledge and critical thinking, through different action strategies, engage in sustainability issues e.g. climate change, bio-diversity and food-security. From a larger sample, three 25-year-olds have been selected for several and deepened life story-interviews, resulting in three case studies. Data has been analyzed phenomenologically and by use of tools from narrative theory.

The results are presented as three stories, presented as thick descriptions, through which the winding paths towards aspects of action competence appear followed by a cross-analysis. The cross-analysis presents six themes in common for the three cases and highlights significant experiences and driving-forces that have appeared in the analyses, as relevant for developing action competence.