This Social Science Research Council Web Forum seeks to foster discussion, debate and analysis on young people as civic and political actors. The Forum intends to be a virtual space for developing and disseminating new information, ideas and approaches to youth activism—especially those in which young people are involved in forms of advocacy through purposeful and organized collective action. Research and public attention to young people’s participation on political and social issues is often critical or negative in representation. It has tended to focus either on the most basic form of participation in the industrialized world (e.g. low voter turnout) or, in developing societies, the most extreme (e.g. child soldiers). A good deal of programming and advocacy works to encourage young people’s civic engagement or mobilize youth in social movements. But research of various kinds on young people's understanding of and engagement with the forces—local, state and global—that shape their lives, their sense of political efficacy and active citizenship, is sparse, fragmented and not easily accessed. The Youth Activism Web Forum hopes to positively impact on this state of affairs by highlighting different facets of youth activism. Each forum features short essays and think-pieces by scholars and practitioners in the field. In most cases, they serve as introductions to much more extensive research and writing. They should spark dialogue, new directions in research, deeper understandings, practical applications, and new networks.
Please find our newest forum on "African American Youth Activism" on a link to the left. The first forum focused on "Transnational Youth Activism."