Young People's Politics

Term: Spring 2010

Subject Code: GPOL

Course Number: 6800

Politically, young people are imagined in a dual way: in the process of "becoming" citizens in the future, and "being" political actors in the present. Drawing on historical and contemporary examples of young people's involvement in civic engagement and political mobilization, this course will address both parts of this duality, and the connections and tensions between them. We will consider various approaches and analytical concepts developed to understand young people's politics, such as generation, political socialization, and rights-based approaches. Examples will be drawn from the U.S. and around the world, and include topics such as "youth" as a political identity and its similarities with and differences from other forms of political identification; "moral panics" about young people's politics as alternatively being apathetic or reckless and violent; student activism; and the role of young people in political change. The latter part of the course will focus on the kinds of issues that young people find politically resonant, and the ways in which they engage with these issues, including new media technologies. Throughout the course, we will re-visit whether and how young people do politics differently than their elders.




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