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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Global networks, local reels : youth media and civic engagement in transnational settings Hauge, Chelsey


Scholarship concerning youth, participation and media tends to celebrate the liberatory potential of both local and global youth engagement with networked technologies produced by the exponential rise in access to participatory media (Lesko & Talburt, 2012; MacIntosh, Poyntz, & Bryson, 2012). However, celebratory accounts of youth and media foreclose on the possibilities that research practices might document the multiple actualities and outcomes pertinent to an assessment of both: a) how young people navigate social justice and social media and b) what is produced in these landscapes of mediatic labour and relationality. This multi-sited qualitative research addresses this analytical gap by documenting the transnational relationships that shape youth engagements with media technology and by carrying out an analysis of the conditions of possibility for international youth who produce media in the context of an international youth media program in Nicaragua. The youth media program, jointly facilitated by Amigos de las Américas and a major international development agency, works at the intersection of youth leadership, civic engagement, and media production. Analysis of ethnographic data suggests that liberation discourses surrounding media technology, civic engagement, and youth are linked to the modernist belief that the amplification of public voice will facilitate political justice. The assumed foundation where capacity is defined as agency, empowerment, or voice actually functions to further marginalize populations who have been historically silenced, and facilitates the expansion of neoliberal relationality. Modernist development norms and post-feminist sensibilities contribute to the assemblage of complex pedagogical spaces that animate and inform my cautionary analysis regarding marginalization, power, and the limits of pedagogical interventions and liberation discourses. This research advances knowledge concerning youth media production as it has typically been imagined within modernist discourses about education, development, and “change,” by means of its re-conceptualization of agency through a “critical mobilities” framework that more fully attends to the complex and affective relationalities produced, sustained, and interrupted in youth media production.

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