Category Archives: Informing Activists

Informing Activists: “Applying social movement concepts to immigration activism”

Lisa Martinez:

“Applying social movement concepts to immigration activism”

Classic:

Martinez, Lisa M. 2005. “Yes we can: Latino Participation in Unconventional Politics.” Social Forces 84(1): 135-155.

Review:

Mora, Maria De Jesus, Rodolfo Rodriguez, Alejandro Zermeño, and Paul Almeida. 2018. “Immigrant Rights and Social Movements.” Sociology Compass 12, no. 8

Contemporary:

Zepeda-Millán, Chris. 2017. Latino Mass Mobilization: Immigration, Racialization, and Activism. Boston, MA: Cambridge University Press.

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Informing Activists: “What responses should I expect from adults when I get involved in activism?”

Jessica Taft:

“What responses should I expect from adults when I get involved in activism?”

Classic: 

Gordon, Hava R., and Jessica K. Taft. 2011. “Rethinking youth political socialization: Teenage activists talk back.” Youth & Society (43)4: 1499-1527.

Review: 

Earl, Jennifer, Thomas V. Maher, and Thomas Elliott. 2017. “Youth, activism, and social movements.” Sociology Compass (11)4.

Contemporary: 

Terriquez, Veronica. 2015. “Intersectional mobilization, social movement spillover, and queer youth leadership in the immigrant rights movement.” Social Problems 62.3: 343-362.

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Youth, Social Movements & Activism Syllabus

Youth, Social Movements, and Activism Syllabus

This course provides an undergraduate level introduction to the study of youth political socialization and political activism. Young people are the backbone of most social movements from the Civil Rights and anti-Vietnam War movements to more contemporary examples like Black Lives Matter, #Occupy, and the anti-gun violence movement. The first half of the course presents an overview of theories of youth political socialization, political participation, and their role in social movements. The course specifically explores concerns about the state of youth political participation and the realities of participation, theories regarding how youth are socialized to participate in politics (and the impediments to participation), the history of youth in social movements (specifically why youth and college campuses are so important). The second half builds on this structure to review areas where youth are bringing new energy to political participation. The syllabus includes discussion in how youth have updated tactics, continue to redefine what counts as political, and incorporate new (intersectionality) and old (economic inequality) concerns into movements. The course is built around a midterm and final exam, as well as a research paper on a youth-oriented social movement that is broken up into several smaller “proposals” throughout the semester. Students are also assessed on their participation in class discussion over the substantive issues. The course serves as a point of connection between courses on youth and society, political sociology, political communication, and social movements.

 

The syllabus with usage notes and learning outcomes are available on the TRAILS website.

An un-gated link to Youth & Activism syllabus is available here.

Additional material are available here.

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Teaching Youth & Activism- Perceptions of Politics Assignment

This is a short (3-4pg) assignment that you may use as a part of the youth, social movements, and activism course.

Additional material are available here.

A link to a word version of this post is available here

 Assignment: Youth Political Participation Interview Study                      

Overview:  In class we have discussed, or will be discussing, how youth learn to be politically involved, perceptions of youth political involvement (particularly adults’ perceptions), and how youth may “avoid” being perceived as political. We have also discussed the realities around the diverse ways that youth are politically active. For this assignment, you will conduct one-on-one interviews (they should be at least 20-30 minutes, but you are encouraged to talk longer if it is going well) with THREE people you know or perhaps do not know so well regarding such themes. These can be friends, parents, family members, neighbors, strangers, etc. During your interview, like any sociologist, you want open and honest answers, and so you should make sure that they are comfortable sharing their beliefs, experiences, and perspectives. You should ask them the following questions. The goal is to get in-depth answers, and so you are encouraged to ask follow up questions (i.e. tell me more about that). It is okay if you do not get to all of the questions.

  • What were you taught about politics and activism growing up from your family, friends, and teachers? Did you have conversations about political issues at home or with friends?
  • Do you see yourself as politically active? What do you do that you would consider political? What would you consider activism?
  • Why do you engage in these forms of politics and activism? [If they do not participate in any activism or politics, as them why they choose not to participate]?
  • What do you think of politics in general? What do you think of people who are politically active? What would you think if someone referred to you as politically active or an activist?
  • Who do you talk about politics with? What do you talk about, and how often?
  • What sorts of issues do you think are worth getting active in response to?

After you have completed your interviews, you will write a research report on what you have found. Your report will be organized. It will have an introduction, conclusion, and a central conceptual focus (i.e. you should be able to summarize what you learned from your interviewees in one or two sentences). The body of the paper should be divided into several sections. The middle three sections should each receive equal weight in your write-up:

  1. An Introductory section that introduces the issue, broad research question, and the central conceptual focus of your paper.
  2. A Description and summary of your interviews. Describe who the THREE people you interviewed were, who they are to you, and when you interviewed them. Summarize their responses. What did you learn from them that you never thought about, or realized? What were the common themes and patterns of experiences that you saw across all of the interviews?
  3. An analysis and interpretation of these observations using one (no more than two) of the concepts developed in the text and class. Integrate your interview materials with lecture and text pertaining to political socialization, political participation, and political avoidance. Overall, you should demonstrate an awareness of some of the varied ways that engage with or avoid political participation. Make sure that you are not just defining the class concepts, but applying them. In other words, your paper should explain the concept, identify a couple of examples from you interviews, and then explains why they are examples of the concept.
  4. A reflective discussion about your own political socialization and participation. Have you ever thought about your political beliefs and actions? How did you learn “proper” political behavior, and do you express your political beliefs in culturally acceptable ways? Can you recall moments of ambiguity or tension, or peer pressure or policing, in your own development? Would you say that you generally conform your political beliefs to your friends and families’ beliefs or do you see yourself as challenging their political expectations? How and why?
  5. A conclusion paragraph that summarizes the main findings from your interviews and how they connect with the class concepts you selected.

 

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Teaching Youth & Activism- One Week Modules

We have created three one week modules for courses on Youth & Society, Social Movements, and Political Sociology for instructors who are interested in integrating the material, but not teaching an entire class on youth and activism. The modules include a selection of readings on the topic, and a brief description of how the readings fit together.

Additional material are available here.

A link to a word document version of this post is available here

Youth & Society ~ Youth and Politics

Earl, Jennifer, Thomas V. Maher, and Thomas Elliott. 2017. “Youth, activism, and social movements.” Sociology Compass (11)4

Lee, Nam-Jin, Dhavan V. Shah, and Jack M. McLeod. 2013. “Processes of political socialization: A communication mediation approach to youth civic engagement.” Communication Research 40.5: 669-697.

Dalton, Russell. 2013. “Chapter 4: Who Participates?” p.63-86 in Citizen Politics: Public Opinion and Political Parties in Advanced Industrial Democracies, 6th Ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: CQ Press

Munson, Ziad. 2010. “Mobilizing on campus: Conservative movements and today’s college students.” Sociological Forum. 25 (4): 769-786

This module offers a week overview of interdisciplinary research on youth political engagement ranging from political talk to activism. The Earl, Maher, and Elliott piece offers an overview of the literature focusing on youth participation in social movements, the role of campus for activism, how youth intersects with gender and race, and, finally, some insights into the future of the field. The other three articles offer more direct dives into these areas. Lee, Shah, and McLeod introduce the communication mediation approach to political communication, Dalton offers an overview of what youth participation looks like on a macro level, and Munson offers an excellent case-based analysis of why college campuses are so fertile for activism that focuses on the idea of “transition points.”

 

Social Movements ~ Youth activism on campus

Earl, Jennifer, Thomas V. Maher, and Thomas Elliott. 2017. “Youth, activism, and social movements.” Sociology Compass (11)4

Van Dyke, Nella. 1998. “Hotbeds of activism: Locations of student protest.” Social Problems 45.2: 205-220.

Munson, Ziad. 2010. “Mobilizing on campus: Conservative movements and today’s college students.” Sociological Forum. 25 (4): 769-786

Velasquez, Alcides, and Robert LaRose. 2015. “Youth collective activism through social media: The role of collective efficacy.” New Media & Society 17.6: 899-918.

This module offers a week overview of social movement research that focuses specifically on youth and campus activism. The Earl, Maher, and Elliott piece offers an overview of the literature focusing on youth participation in social movements, the role of campus for activism, how youth intersects with gender and race, and, finally, some insights into the future of the field. Van Dyke’s seminal articles offers a quantitative analysis of which campuses produce activism and why, and—in combination with Munson’s excellent case-based analysis of why college campuses are so fertile for activism will prove insightful for discussing youth activism—as well as connecting with literature on political process theory, resources, and micromobilization more generally. Finally, Velasquez and LaRose offer an insightful approach that hints towards the use of more innovative tactics and frames (i.e. intersectionality) that build on prior campus activism.

 

Political Sociology ~ Youth and Politics

Earl, Jennifer, Thomas V. Maher, and Thomas Elliott. 2017. “Youth, activism, and social movements.” Sociology Compass (11)4

Lee, Nam-Jin, Dhavan V. Shah, and Jack M. McLeod. 2013. “Processes of political socialization: A communication mediation approach to youth civic engagement.” Communication Research 40.5: 669-697.

Dalton, Russell. 2013. “Chapter 4: Who Participates?” p.63-86 in Citizen Politics: Public Opinion and Political Parties in Advanced Industrial Democracies, 6th Ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: CQ Press

Milkman, Ruth. 2017.”A New Political Generation: Millennials and the Post-2008 Wave of Protest.” American Sociological Review 82.1: 1-31.

This module offers a week overview of political sociology research that focuses specifically on youth and political participation. The Earl, Maher, and Elliott piece offers an overview of the literature focusing on youth participation in social movements, the role of campus for activism, how youth intersects with gender and race, and, finally, some insights into the future of the field. Lee, Shah, and McLeod’s article offers a theoretical approach for how youth are socialized to participate politically. Dalton’s piece focuses on trends in political participation—the outcome of socialization—among young people. Finally, Milkman offers a view on young people and the impact they are having on contemporary politics.

Additional Suggested Readings

Overview

Dalton, Russell. 2013. “Chapter 4: Who Participates?” p.63-86 in Citizen Politics: Public Opinion and Political Parties in Advanced Industrial Democracies, 6th Ed. Thousand Oaks, CA: CQ Press

Caren, Neal, Raj Andrew Ghoshal, and Vanesa Ribas. 2011. “A social movement generation: Cohort and period trends in protest attendance and petition signing.” American Sociological Review 76.1: 125-151.

Campus Activism

Van Dyke, Nella. 1998. “Hotbeds of activism: Locations of student protest.” Social Problems 45.2: 205-220.

Munson, Ziad. 2010. “Mobilizing on campus: Conservative movements and today’s college students.” Sociological Forum. 25 (4): 769-786

Political Socialization

Lee, Nam-Jin, Dhavan V. Shah, and Jack M. McLeod. 2013. “Processes of political socialization: A communication mediation approach to youth civic engagement.” Communication Research 40.5: 669-697.

Ojeda, Christopher, and Peter K. Hatemi. 2015. “Accounting for the Child in the Transmission of Party Identification.” American Sociological Review 80.6: 1150-1174

Youth & Social Movement Organizations

McAdam, Doug. 1986. “Recruitment to high-risk activism: The case of freedom summer.” American Journal of Sociology 92.1: 64-90.

Gordon, Hava Rachel. 2007. “Allies within and without: How adolescent activists conceptualize ageism and navigate adult power in youth social movements.” Journal of Contemporary Ethnography 36.6: 631-668.

Intersectionality & Youth Activism

Velasquez, Alcides, and Robert LaRose. 2015. “Youth collective activism through social media: The role of collective efficacy.” New Media & Society 17.6: 899-918.

Terriquez, Veronica. 2015. “Intersectional mobilization, social movement spillover, and queer youth leadership in the immigrant rights movement.” Social Problems 62.3: 343-362.

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Materials for Teaching about Youth and Activism

Materials for Teaching about Youth and Activism

Jennifer Earl & Thomas V. Maher

We have created a suite of materials for teaching about youth, political socialization, and activism as a part of the MacArthur Foundation-funded Youth Activism Project. We present this blog post as a centralized way to share these materials with the broader social movements community. Here, we include a syllabus on youth and activism, a series of one week modules that you might consider adding to your courses on social movements, political sociology, or political communication, annotated readings and discussion questions for those are unfamiliar (or who would like to get reacquainted) with parts of the literature, focus questions (to be used in conjunction with the syllabus), links to online materials including interviews with young people about politics, and a short assignment that asks students to interview three people that they know about political participation. We are producing more assignments and materials, and we look forward to sharing them when they are finished.

Syllabus

One Week Modules & Suggested Readings

Focus Questions & Annotated Readings

Online Materials

Short assignment: Perceptions of Politics Assignment

Seminar/Project Idea: Research Paper on Youth Activism

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Teaching Youth & Activism- Online Materials

These are additional online materials (videos, articles, radio reports, etc.) that you may draw on to supplement ideas and issues raised in class.

Additional material are available here.

A link to a word version of this post is available here

Henry Jenkins – By Any Media Necessary:

http://byanymedia.org/works/mapp/index

This website is a companion to Jenkins’ book of the same name. It offers articles that elaborate and exemplify concepts from the book. It also provides links to videos and examples of how youth have used culture and media to convey political ideas and issues. Finally, the website offers teaching and learning guides and conversation starters for instructors interested in incorporating these materials into the classroom.

Black Youth Project:

https://blackyouthproject.com/category/video/

The Black Youth Project is a platform for highlighting the voices of young black people and the issues that they are concerned about. The site offers a collection of news articles and videos that sit at the intersection of youth culture and black culture. The site is connected to the activist group BYP 100, and so it also acts as an opportunity for exploring the connection between an activism, information, and media.

Youth Radio:

https://youthradio.org/

Youth radio is an organization that helps get youth involved in telling their own stories. They have had stories shared on NPR and other media channels. The site offers tips and information for educators (including a wide range of “How To’s” such as fact-checking, controlling online presence, getting great interviews, etc.).   The site also includes links to a range of youth-created, youth-oriented journalism, and youth telling their own stories that can be used in several ways in the classroom.

 

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