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Citizens in the Present

Youth Civic Engagement in the Americas

Maria de los Angeles Torres

Publication Year: 2013

Although media coverage often portrays young people in urban areas as politically apathetic or disruptive, this book provides an antidote to such views through narratives of dedicated youth civic engagement and leadership in Chicago, Mexico City, and Rio de Janeiro. This innovative comparative study provides nuanced accounts of the personal experiences of young people who care deeply about their communities and are actively engaged in a variety of public issues. Drawing from extensive interviews and personal narratives from the young activists themselves, Citizens in the Present presents a vibrant portrait of a new, politically involved generation.

Published by: University of Illinois Press


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pp. 1-3


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pp. 4-7


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pp. vii-viii

List of Illustrations

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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xii

As we finished this manuscript in the spring of 2012, young people were back on the front pages of political news. From the Arab Spring uprisings to the pro-immigrant marches throughout the world to the Occupy Wall Street movements—to name a few—young people have become protagonists of protest movements and efforts to find alternative ways of thinking about equality, ...

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pp. xiii-xiv

It was through Harold Richman that this project became a reality. His lifelong commitment to research and advocacy on behalf of youth around the world helped inspire this project. It is to his memory that we dedicate this book. His invitation to Maria de los Angeles Torres to spend a year as a fellow at Chapin Hall allowed her to develop this project. ...

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1. Civically Engaged Youth

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pp. 1-28

In the Americas in the beginning of the twentieth century, some observers expected the emergence of independent nations in which citizens would participate in decisions that affected their lives. For many of these observers, one of the foundations of these democratic societies was the children, who would be trained to be active citizens ...

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2. Chicago Youth Activists

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pp. 29-59

Chicago, the third largest metropolis in the United States, prides itself on being a city of immigrants who forged their communities in neighborhoods, workplaces, and churches. The people of Chicago found their political voices through local neighborhood groups, and by organizing to provide for their children’s education, safety, and recreation, ...

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3. Affirming the Young Democracy

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pp. 60-89

The backdrop for contemporary youth’s civic engagement in Brazil was a series of events in the country’s recent history that aroused unheard of levels of political participation (Rizzini and Barker 2002). In 1989, the first direct election for the presidency of the republic was held after twenty-one years of military dictatorship. ...

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4. New Paradigms of Civic Participation among Youth

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pp. 90-121

Mexico may still be thought of as a country of young people, with more than half of its population under the age of thirty and one-third between twelve and twenty-nine years.1 With abundant resources—it has the thirteenth-largest world economy, based on gross domestic product (World Bank 2011) ...

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5. Emerging Political Identities, Practices, and Temporalities

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pp. 122-148

We set out to understand the trajectories, practices, and ideas of civically engaged youth in three cities of the Americas. The information we gathered in Rio de Janeiro, Chicago, and Mexico City showed a deep investment on the part of the young people. Their engagement may be positing new ideas about the place of young people in their political communities ...

Appendix. Details on Study Participants

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pp. 149-154


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pp. 155-164

E-ISBN-13: 9780252094910
Print-ISBN-13: 9780252037658

Page Count: 176
Publication Year: 2013