Academic journal article Journal of Development Communication

Thomas Tufte and Florencia Enghel, Youth Engaging with the World: Media, Communication and Social Change

Academic journal article Journal of Development Communication

Thomas Tufte and Florencia Enghel, Youth Engaging with the World: Media, Communication and Social Change

Article excerpt

THOMAS TUFTE AND FLORENCIA ENGHEL, Youth Engaging with the World: Media, Communication and Social Change. Published by Nordicom, University of Gothenburg, Sweden. 341 pages. U$34.00 / Euro 23.00

Issues concerning youth are now gaining momentum all over the world. The negative perceptions towards youth as causes of social ills are slowly losing ground to an asset perspective perceiving youth as possessing potentials that need to be realised. Youth are increasingly finding avenues to assert themselves. With the already existing conventional media and communication channels and the advent of new media, youth now have access to variety of media and communication spaces to facilitate their participation in the democratic and socioeconomic process to effect social change. The Internet has been singled out as the main component of this new media space facilitating the participation of youth in socio-political affairs. However, even with the Internet which provides easy digital access, there are still inequalities termed by scholars as virtual or digital inequalities. It goes to say that having internet access is not enough. In other words, other divides ranging from skills to economic opportunity divide have to be taken into consideration. The articles in this book entitled, "Youth Engaging with the World: Media, Communication and Social Change" edited by Tufte and Enghel comprised studies from mainly countries where youth do not have equal access to socio-political and economic processes and involves mainly countries of the south, some of which are by and large undemocratic and under developed, show how youth despite all the hindrances they face, manage to make their voices heard and in doing so engage with their societies to bring about social change. Still one can say that the yearbook has covered all the continents from USA in North America to Brazil in South America, Zimbabwe in Africa, Belarus in Europe, Turkey in the Middle East to China in Asia.

Thomas Tufte, a Professor in communication and Florencia Enghel, PhD candidate in communication for development, have brought together an excellent collection of articles in this Yearbook. The book which is a joint initiative involving NORDICOM, University of Gothenburg and UNESCO, is divided into four sections covering four perspectives viz. (1) memory and identity: youth communicating for their rights, (2) voices of the youth: coping, criticising and calling for change, (3) youth as subjects--of content, programmes, projects and regulations, and (4) youth in processes: participatory production. The articles, seventeen in all, are grouped under the four perspectives.

The introduction by the editors sets the background and rational for the book and subsequently the articles selected for inclusion in the book. At first glance of the articles one may ask, what about youth in the north countries or even youth in Asia? For there is only one study on youth in USA and it appeared somehow different from the rest of the articles as far as the focus of the study is concern. My curiosity was set to rest after reading the opening statement of the introduction, which states that "85 percent of the world's young people live in developing countries; this simple demographic factor alone is enough to define global youth policy as being fundamentally a question of development," (p.11). In the introduction, Tufte and Enghel presented some facts from the final report of the Ad Hoc Working Group for Youth and the Millennium Development Goals from 2005 and these facts or social realities, according to the editors, have significant impact on the lives of youth worldwide, resulting in unequal living conditions and disparities. For Tufte and Enghel, therefore, "promoting an understanding of the local socioeconomic, political and cultural conditions in which youth become engaged, mobilise, narrate their experiences, produce their stories and influence the lives of their communities and peers has been the overall objective of this compilation" (p. …

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