To be treated cautiously, but an interesting piece of research from the USA about young people and participatory politics. At the very least it poses some questions about the UK emphasis on drawing young people into ways of representing and organising – youth councils, youth parliaments – that mimic the deeply problematic institutions favoured by the political elite and the status quo.
IN ADVANCE OF 2012 ELECTION, NATIONAL SURVEY FINDS YOUNG PEOPLE ARE USING NEW MEDIA FOR PEER-BASED PARTICIPATORY POLITICS, BYPASSING POLITICAL ELITES AND INSTITUTIONS
The study report, Participatory Politics: New Media and Youth Political Action shows that contrary to the traditional notion of a technological digital divide, substantial numbers of young people across racial and ethnic groups are engaging in “participatory politics” — acts such as starting a political group online, circulating a blog about a political issue, or forwarding political videos to friends. Like traditional political acts, these acts address issues of public concern. The difference is that participatory acts are interactive, peer-based, and do not defer to elites or formal institutions. They are also tied to digital or new media platforms that facilitate and amplify young people’s actions.