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Citizens in the Present

Citizens in the Present: Youth Civic Engagement in the Americas

Maria de los Angeles Torres
Irene Rizzini
Norma Del Río
Copyright Date: 2013
Pages: 176
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  • Book Info
    Citizens in the Present
    Book Description:

    Although media coverage often portrays young people in urban areas as politically apathetic or disruptive, this book provides an antidote to such views through narratives of dedicated youth civic engagement and leadership in Chicago, Mexico City, and Rio de Janeiro. This innovative comparative study provides nuanced accounts of the personal experiences of young people who care deeply about their communities and are actively engaged in a variety of public issues. Drawing from extensive interviews and personal narratives from the young activists themselves, Citizens in the Present presents a vibrant portrait of a new, politically involved generation.

    eISBN: 978-0-252-09491-0
    Subjects: Sociology, Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. I-VI)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. VII-VIII)
  3. List of Illustrations
    (pp. IX-X)
  4. Preface
    (pp. XI-XII)
  5. Acknowledgments
    (pp. XIII-XVI)
  6. One Civically Engaged Youth
    (pp. 1-28)
    Maria de los Angeles Torres, Irene Rizzini and Norma Del Río

    In the Americas in the beginning of the twentieth century, some observers expected the emergence of independent nations in which citizens would participate in decisions that affected their lives. For many of these observers, one of the foundations of these democratic societies was the children, who would be trained to be active citizens and, eventually, would take leadership positions at various levels in their societies (Dewey 1916; Martí 1979; Rodo 1961; Mariátegui 1988). The idea of training children and young people to be future leaders had been a concern of philosophers for centuries (Plato 1941; Rousseau 1956; Locke 1979); however,...

  7. Two Chicago Youth Activists: Home Matters in Their Search for Democracy
    (pp. 29-59)
    Maria de los Angeles Torres

    Chicago, the third largest metropolis in the United States, prides itself on being a city of immigrants who forged their communities in neighborhoods, workplaces, and churches. The people of Chicago found their political voices through local neighborhood groups, and by organizing to provide for their childrenʹs education, safety, and recreation, they became part of the cityʹs civic life. The future of their children was an integral part of their political narratives, so many of their efforts were aimed at youths themselves. Youth organizers and youth-related projects helped form the political and social fabric of neighborhoods.

    According to the 2010 census,...

  8. Three Affirming the Young Democracy: Youth Engagement in Rio de Janeiro
    (pp. 60-89)
    Irene Rizzini and Malcolm Bush

    The backdrop for contemporary youthʹs civic engagement in Brazil was a series of events in the countryʹs recent history that aroused unheard of levels of political participation (Rizzini and Barker 2002). In 1989, the first direct election for the presidency of the republic was held after twenty-one years of military dictatorship. In 1993, the nationʹs political passions were aroused again by the financial corruption of the democratically elected president, Fernando Collor de Mello, who was impeached and removed from office. His removal followed massive street demonstrations against him by, among others, student activists. In 2002, Luis Ignacio ʺLulaʺ da Silva—...

  9. Four New Paradigms of Civic Participation among Youth: A Study in Mexico City
    (pp. 90-121)
    Norma Del Río

    Mexico may still be thought of as a country of young people, with more than half of its population under the age of thirty and one-third between twelve and twenty-nine years.¹ With abundant resources—it has the thirteenth-largest world economy, based on gross domestic product (World Bank 2011)—Mexico nevertheless has one of the highest rates of inequalities in the region, with a Gini index of .49 (OECD 2011). Although compensatory policies have been implemented to reduce poverty levels, inequality and exclusion continue to affect women and youth in particular. Among adolescents (ten- to seventeen-year-olds), one of every five males...

  10. Five Emerging Political Identities, Practices, and Temporalities
    (pp. 122-148)
    Maria de los Angeles Torres, Irene Rizzini and Norma Del Río

    We set out to understand the trajectories, practices, and ideas of civically engaged youth in three cities of the Americas. The information we gathered in Rio de Janeiro, Chicago, and Mexico City showed a deep investment on the part of the young people. Their engagement may be positing new ideas about the place of young people in their political communities as well as redefining ways of being politically active. In this final chapter, we compare and contrast the ways in which the young people in our three cities became involved, what issues were important to them, how they acted upon...

  11. Appendix. Details on Study Participants
    (pp. 149-154)
  12. Index
    (pp. 155-164)
  13. Back Matter
    (pp. 165-168)