© 2016 The Author(s). Published by Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. The concept of empowerment has become increasingly widespread in recent years. Its use is still, however, somewhat controversial and diverse, particularly when referring to young people. This article presents a systematic analysis of how empowerment has been conceptualized over the past 15 years and has been applied to young people. A systematic search of the major databases filtered by relevance provided 297 bibliographical references. The results confirm the ambiguous nature of the concept and the imprecision with which it is used, although they do link its use to three common concepts: power, participation and education. The concept of youth empowerment needs to be defined in order to highlight any nuances that distinguish it from the generic use of the term. The main dimensions associated with youth empowerment have been identified as: (a) that of growth and well-being; (b) relational; (c) educational; (d) political; (e) transformative; and, finally, (d) emancipative.
- social participation
- social pedagogy