Lynn Staeheli – Youth and citizenship: Struggles on and off the Street

Event Date: 1 December 2011
Royal Holloway University of London
2 Gower Street
London WC1E 6DP

City/ State/ Resistance: Spaces of Protest in the Middle East and Mediterranean

Interdisciplinary workshop from Royal Holloway University

Sponsored by The British Academy


Lynn A. Staeheli (Geography, Durham)
Youth and citizenship: Struggles on and off the Street

Young people may well represent the greatest potential and greatest challenges for democratic participation and change. In countries around the world, they are imagined as capable of effecting dramatic social and political change. As a result, a range of institutions and agents expends considerable effort to foster, but also to direct that potential. Citizenship education and civic engagement programmes, for instance, often promote pedagogies of active and responsible citizenship to be enacted in families, communities, and civil society.  Yet recent youth-led protests in Europe, North Africa and the Middle East make clear that youth often take the ëlessonsí of active citizenship into the streets, challenging and making demands on the state. The result is often an activist, insurgent pedagogy of citizenship, as compared to the active but depoliticised citizenship developed through education and civic engagement programmes.  The paper draws from examples of student activism in Lebanon and the UK to outline a framework for understanding efforts to shape young peoplesí citizenship on and off the street.



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