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Youth Sexualities: Public Feelings and Contemporary Cultural Politics [2 volumes]
PageV1:xxiii(24 of 592)
Introduction xxiii “movement in places where youth may have little room for maneuvering” (Cruz 2011, 548). LATERAL CONTACT AND MOVEMENT Before turning to an overview of these volumes, I gesture to examples of alternative spaces, movements, and practices in which youth participate in youth-only spaces and side-by-side with adults that point to the uses and circulations of feelings as well as the potential transformation of the dichotomy of adult and youth. In her research with girl activists in North and South America, Jessica Taft (2011) argued that their exclusion from formal politics (the adult “public sphere”) shaped the activists’ strategies of forming networks, educating others, and “teaching and learning new ways to feel” (111), often focusing on what might be considered “youth-y” issues that are often unaddressed by adults: school privatization, sex education, teenage reproductive justice, curfews, and police harassment (56). These young women enacted goals of “developing dissident feelings, intuitions, and desires” (115) as a pedagogical and community-building strategy not just by supplying others with knowledge or information but also by encour- aging “oppositional feelings: compassion, anger, outrage, shock, and the like” (111) through the arts, such as theater, music concerts, video and zine production, mural painting, and exhibits (100–101). The young activists’ use of horizontalist politics, which eschews hierarchy and bureaucracy and engages in dialogue and relationship in supportive and democratic spaces, constitutes an “affective politics” (130) that echoes feminist prac- tices and is rooted in the present. Their actions are not preparation for a future of adult “civic engagement” rather, by working for an open-ended future, these young women enact “a utopianism that guides the journey rather than fixates on the destination” (154). Another form of horizontalism is possible as youth and adults work side by side. In Drop That Knowledge, Elisabeth Soep and Vivian Chávez (2010) describe the work of Youth Radio, where youth and adults work together in a “collegial pedagogy” (16) to produce stories for the public. Youth and adults learn about promoting youths’ concerns and cultivating their voices to address publics: “Youth Radio is a collective effort to promote critical thinking, support positive youth development, convey underreported and media-distorted community experiences, and contribute media products marked by journalistic rigor and compelling analysis” (44). Youth and adults have different areas of expertise and knowledge that they bring to the collaboration as well as the need for “revealing their investments and vulnerabilities to one another in concrete ways” (55). The learning and change that both parties undergo leads the authors to the double meaning of the title of their book: