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Youth Climate Activism: Addressing research pitfalls and centring young people's voice

Malafaia, Carla and Fernandes-Jesus, Maria ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-8868-1968 (2023) Youth Climate Activism: Addressing research pitfalls and centring young people's voice. In: Carvalho, Anabela and Rai, Tarla, (eds.) Handbook of Environmental Communication. De Gruyter Mouton (In Press)

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All over the world, young people have been leading and participating in multiple forms of climate activism. In this chapter, we discuss the main trends in contemporary literature, proposing new conceptual and methodological paths for centring youth voices in climate activism research. We first identify critical pitfalls in the field of youth participation which are related to research foci, assumptions, and practices: i) the old electoral dilemma, ii) the behaviourist perspective, iii) the ever-search for the spectacular, iv) the individual-collective
dichotomy, v) the intrinsic benefit of participation, vi) the extractivist research. We argue that there is a risk of reproducing these pitfalls when researching youth climate activism. Therefore, drawing from empirical evidence (ethnographic, interview and survey data), we propose three
pathways to foreground young people’s voices and experiences in climate activism: ‘beyond climate strikes’, ‘more than white activism’, and ‘not like adults’. Finally, we discuss the potential of a conceptual articulation of political agency and imagination and the need for incorporating participatory and visual methods. Such approaches will lead towards a more comprehensive understanding of the dynamics and facets of youth climate activism.

Item Type: Book Section
Status: In Press
Subjects: B Philosophy. Psychology. Religion > BF Psychology > BF636 Applied psychology
H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
School/Department: School of Education, Language and Psychology
URI: https://ray.yorksj.ac.uk/id/eprint/7601

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