Young People’s Civic Engagement in Latin America and the Nordic Region

Department of Education and LIfelong Learning

Young People’s Civic Engagement in Latin America and the Nordic Region

A wall with posters with writing on them. Photo


Time:               Wednesday 31 October and Thursday 1 November 2018

Place:              DOKKHUSET, Dokkparken 4, 7042 Trondheim

Language:       English

Organizers:     Marit Ursin and Daniel Schofield, IPL, NTNU (SiPP research group) with funding from NorLARNet

Admission:      Free, lunch included (registration obligatory)

Free Amaya Coppens. Illustration

The anti-establishment tide that has swept much of the world is set to break over Latin America as a response to endless waves of corruption scandals, crime and violence. Amidst political turmoil riddled with right- and left-wing populism, the position of the contemporary youth generation remains unclear. Traditionally, young people have been portrayed as being uninterested in politics due to a decline in traditional modes of political participation, including a reluctance to vote at elections and join political parties. Drawing on statistics on political distrust and low levels of confidence in the political system, the United Nations (2007) argue that young people seem to grow up being “increasingly apathetic”. However, although many young citizens have become disillusioned with mainstream politics and with those who claim to speak on their behalf, this should not be interpreted as a lack of political interest and disengagement.

We are proud to invite you to our research seminar, which seeks to explore how young people engage in various forms of political activism and shape the present society and democracy. The seminar examines the complex ways in which digital technology (social media, internet, games, art, music, etc.) opens up spaces of resistance and contestations, and how young people in Latin America and the Nordic region employ them to enhance their active citizenship in a comparative perspective. The two-day seminar includes two international keynote speakers, talking about modern forms of youth activism and digital citizenship. In addition, researchers from NTNU will provide glimpses into a wide range of research projects on related topics. Both days will end with a roundtable discussion, engaging keynote speakers, researchers as well as the audience to critically reflect upon what youth citizenship entails today and how we can best study it.

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About the keynote presenters:

Mauro Cerbino is a professor, researcher, and former dean of the Facultad Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales Ecuador’s Department of International Studies and Communication. He is currently a counsellor in the Consejo de Evaluación, Acreditación y Aseguramiento de la Calidad de la Educación Superior in Ecuador. He has taught several courses and seminars in a number of Ecuadorian, Latin American and European universities. He has been developing two areas of research for three decades. The first focusing on youth cultures, violence and youth; and the second on means and power and the link between media, culture and politics. Based on the results of these investigations, he has published numerous books and articles in national and international academic journals.

Irene Rizzini is Professor at the Pontifical Catholic University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (PUC-Rio) and Director of The International Center for Research and Policy on Childhood (CIESPI) at PUC-Rio. Rizzini received her Master's degree at the University of Chicago (School of Social Service Administration) and her Ph.D. in Sociology from Rio de Janeiro Institute of Research (IUPERJ). She has conducted many research and policy studies and written extensively on children, families and their communities in Brazil especially on children living in situations of vulnerability such as poverty, violence, urban slums, institutionalized children and street connected children. Under her direction CIESPI research teams are currently researching the functioning of federally mandated Children’s Rights Councils and their role of proposing and monitoring the implementation of children’s policies at the municipal and federal levels, and the development of tools to assist key public, private, and non-profit sector actors to improve the state of and implementation of policies for children in contexts of vulnerability. Rizzini also directs CIESPI’s efforts in training professionals involved with children throughout Brazil especially professionals connected to the federal System for the Guarantee of Rights. She served as President of Childwatch International Research Network, a network of over forty university based research centers, from 2002 to 2009. In 2016 she received the Global Citizens Award “in recognition for her outstanding projects worldwide humanizing and protecting vulnerable children”. Her contribution to the seminar is dissemination of a research project on youth who care deeply about their communities and are active in diverse organizations and projects, connecting it to the current political, economic, and fiscal crises in Brazil impacting negatively on the lives of young people, particularly those in contexts of vulnerability.

About the local presenters:

Pål Aarsand is professor in educational sociology at the Department of Education and Lifelong Learning (NTNU). His research field is children’s use of digital technology in everyday lives. From a discourse analytical point of view, he has studied how children use digital technology in families, schools and after-school centers. In particular, he has been interested in phenomena such as gaming, playing, learning and identity work. In addition, he is interested in methodological and ethical dilemmas that researchers have to handle in research with children in different settings. His contribution to the seminar focuses on the potential of digital media to researching children’s and youth’s everyday realities.

Reidun Faye is post.doc at Institute for pedagogy, religion and social sciences at Western Norway University of Applied Sciences (HVL), Bergen. She holds a PhD in sociology from the University of Bergen, which focused on education among slum dwellers in Nepal. Her current research focuses on hate speech and group based prejudice in Norwegian schools and explores various ways to train teachers to address such issues in the classroom. Faye presents together with Ida Marie Lyså.​

Reijo Kupiainen is an adjunct professor of Media Education at the Department of Education and Lifelong learning (NTNU), and university lecturer of Media Education at the Faculty of Education, University of Tampere, Finland. He is a MC member of the Digital Literacies and Multimodal Practices (DigiLitEY) COST-network, member of the EU Kids Online network, and head of the research team Multiliteracies Through Life Cycles at the Faculty of Education, University of Tampere. He contributes to the seminar with a particular focus on Media Literacy, participatory democracy and active citizenship in the Nordic countries.

Linn Cathrin Lorgen is currently employed as a researcher at the Department of Education and Lifelong Learning (NTNU). She is also a PhD student at the Department of Information Science and Media Studies at the University of Bergen. In her doctoral work, she explores notions of children and childhood in television news for children. Lorgen’s contribution to this seminar is based on interview data from a project entitled Children’s Election (Barnas Valg), led by Marit Ursin.

Ida Marie Lyså is currently employed as an assistant professor at the Department of Education and Lifelong Learning (NTNU). She has an MA in anthropology from the University of Bergen and a PhD in Interdisciplinary Child Research from NTNU. Her doctoral research is about disciplinarian practices in Chinese kindergartens, approached as relational everyday practice. Her research interest is childhood diversity and cultural encounters. Her contribution to the seminar focuses on the potential of Virtual Reality technology for stepping into the ‘virtual shoes’ of another.

Oda Nissen is a student at the Clinical Program of Psychology at NTNU. She is a graduate from from Li Po Chun United World College of Hong Kong, and has been a regional coordinator at United World Colleges Norway. Much of her engagement is connected to international work for peace. She has completed the Peace Research course at the University of Oslo International Summer School, and among her social engagements she has been active in the organization Children's International Summer Villages, both on a national and international level. She has also been a coordinator for the Dialog Section at the International Student Festival in Trondheim, working for peaceful dialog between people from areas with conflict. Currently her engagement has been focused largely on the campaign “Free Amaya Coppens”, a social media-movement created in support of Amaya Coppens and other political prisoners in Nicaragua.

Sigrun Haugdal Hitland is a student at the Clinical Program of Psychology at NTNU. She has been active as a leader in the Trondheim local chapter of SAIH (Norwegian Students’ and Academics’ International Assistance Fund), and participated in a FK Youth Exchange through the same organization, working with women’s rights in Norway, Zimbabwe and South Africa. She was a member of the committee creating SAIH’s campaign against commercialization of higher education, and has partaken in other campaigns, among them “We Dream Big” with the focus on indigenous peoples’ and afro-descendants’ rights in Latin America, and “Radi-Aid” on harmful stereotypical representation of people and culture in charity-appeals and media.

Ståle Angen Rye is a Professor in Geography at the Department of Geography, NTNU. In his current research he is studying political participation and civic engagement outside formalized political institutions as it is articulated in people’s daily life activities and within civil society organizations. Youth, transnational relations, and citizenship are all central dimensions in his work. A main issue in Rye’s research is the understanding of how political agency may be articulated across space and at distance. The empirical fundament for his work is Norway and Indonesia, but he also has some fieldwork experience from several African countries. In addition, he has also been researching global higher education and the use of Internet in transnational knowledge networks. In the seminar he will outline some critical reflections on the articulation of youth agency in the perspective of the current focus on Global Citizenship.

Daniel Schofield is an associate professor in Education at NTNU. He has a MA and PhD in Education (NTNU). His main interests are in media education and media literacy, primarily in the cultures of children and young people. He has researched young people’s narratives and reflections on media practices, democracy and civic engagement, as well as young people’s understanding of and practices related to news and social media. He has recently initiated the research project ELEMENT (Exploring Living and Learning through Media and New Technology Practices), which studies how young people learn, make meaning and cope with the media dense culture in Norway. He also participates in research on issues related to Young Enterprise in Norway and Europe. Schofield teaches BA and MA courses in media education and qualitative method. He has published several articles and book contributions nationally and internationally on topics related to media education, media literacy, identity and citizenship. He has, together with Vegard Frantzen, edited the anthology “Mediepedagogikk og mediekompetanse. Danning og læring i en ny mediekultur” (Media Education and Media Literacy. Bildung and Learning in a New Media Culture). His contribution to the seminar focuses on young people in Norway, and how they understand and reflect on democracy and civic engagement in their everyday cultures, which are characterized by media density.

Marit Ursin has a MA in anthropology and PhD in sociology, and is currently employed as associate professor at Department of Education and Lifelong Learning (NTNU). Her main research interests are marginalized children, youth and families, as well as social exclusion, inequality and youth resistance in Latin America. She has previously conducted longitudinal qualitative research with young people on the street in Salvador, Brazil. She has also interviewed children and youth about the impact of drugs and the drug trade in their everyday lives in a marginalized neighbourhood in urban Brazil. Ursin has organized NorLARNet supported seminars Youth, drugs and violence in urban Brazil and Social work with families in a Latin American perspective. Her contribution to the seminar explores how youth in marginalized neighbourhoods in urban Brazil employ technology and social media in an effort to improve their living conditions.

Kristine Øygardslia is a post doc at Department of Interdisciplinary Studies of Culture (NTNU). Her doctoral research is about the benefits and challenges of introducing game design as a learning activity into elementary school classrooms. She has a broad interest in games for other purposes than entertainment, and obtained her Master’s degree from Michigan State University’s serious game design program, focusing on games for education and social change. Other current research interests include young people’s media practices, design-based research, videography and ethnomethodological research. She contributes to the seminar with a focus on methods for promoting civic engagement through game design.