Exploring Youth in Contemporary Brazil at BERA Annual Conference 2016, Leeds, 15 Sept 9.00-11.00, SS 10.05

peter_lang_coverAs Brazil enters a new phase of socio-economic and political turmoil, Dr. Michalis Kontopodis, will explore four everyday life scenes from contexts of youngsters involved in a variety of social and political movements in contemporary Brazil in an “innovative” storytelling session at BERA Annual Conference 2016 in Leeds. Playing with the word “movement” Dr. Kontopodis, who has recently been appointed director of the MSc in Psychology and Education at the University of Sheffield, will introduce the term youth in movement to refer to youth as constituted by and constitutive of broader social movements and transformations as well as to the “moving”, i.e. emotionally touching, aspects that their stories entail. At the same time, Dr. Kontopodis will provide broader, relevant information with regards to Brazil’s ongoing urban and rural youth and social movements and their educational dimensions. Michalis Kontopodis is currently launching a whole relevant book series with Peter Lang:  “(Post) Critical Global Studies” – the first volume has just been printed and will be presented at the BERA Conference: Facing Poverty & Marginalization: 50 Years of Critical Research in Brazil (edited in collaboration with M.J. Coracini & C. Magalhaes).

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Youth Development in Critical Times: Doing Collective Pasts & Futures

How to conceptualise youth development in critical times? What is the role of memory and imagination in doing development? My presentation at the South & Central European ISCAR Conference: “Cultural-Historical, Activity and Sociocultural Research at Times of the Contemporary Crisis: Implications for Education and Human Development” which took place at the University of Crete, Rethymnon in Crete, Greece (June 16-19, 2016) addressed these issues – the powerpoint slides are available here & your feedback will be appreciated: Kontopodis_Crete2016B

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Invited talk by M. Kontopodis in Oxford: Experiencing developmental crises in critical times

Let me kindly invite the readers of this blog to my talk on June 08, 2016 17:00 – 18:30 in Seminar Room G, School of Education at the University of Oxford on “Experiencing developmental crises in critical times: from realising potential futures to actualising virtual possibilities?”.

Summary: Most theories of psychological development refer to a crisis taking place in adolescence due to physical, cognitive and psychosocial changes. Little research has however explored how young people experience this psychological crisis in the context of today’s broader financial, socio-political and ecological crises. While a crisis indicates a period of intense difficulty, it can also be understood as the turning point when a difficult or important decision must be made – which involves the possibility for the emergence of radical novelty. Drawing on post-Vygotskian and post-structuralist grounds I aspire to explore in my presentation the challenges and possibilities for youth development in this frame. I will propose a differentiation between two modes of human development: development of concrete skills (potential development) and development of new societal relations (virtual development, which is at the same time individual and collective). I will reflect on the significance of this differentiation by exploring research materials from my recent projects with disenfranchised youth in Greece, Germany, US and Brazil. Last but not least, I will expand on the notion of virtual development to consider recent technological developments that enable the multimodal communication and transnational collaboration among young people from diverse linguistic and geographical contexts.

See also here: http://www.education.ox.ac.uk/research/osat/events/

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Materialities & Sensuous Media in Learning & Development

Neuchâtel 2016It has just been a pleasure for me to give a talk on “Biopedagogies, Materialities & Sensuous Media in Learning & Development” to colleagues and PhD students at the University of Neuchâtel in Switzerland. We spend a great day discussing the notions of “distributed agency”, “materiality”, “translation”, “doing” and “multiplicity” and their importance for understanding educational and developmental practices in a variety of pedagogical settings. Great thanks to F. Gfeller, & A. Iannaconne for the fantastic organisation!

You can access the powerpoint of my presentation HERE


Further suggested readings (in French): https://mkontopodis.wordpress.com/francais/

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New book series on (Post-) Critical Global Studies in Spanish, Portuguese & English

We are very happy to announce our new book series on (Post-) Critical Global Studies. This book series focuses on critical and post-critical research in the broader area of social sciences. It aims to establish a vivid movement of ideas between Latin America and the rest of the world on contemporary social issues as to explore the possibilities for local and global social change. Furthermore, we aim to explore, situate and possibly deconstruct the systems of reason that govern social problems and global change – including deconstructing Euro-American critical paradigms. The series explores innovative theoretical and methodological approaches to emerging phenomena in fields such as: urban, countryside and indigenous studies; human rights; social policy and social movements; intersectionality; media and technology; education; community organization; political economy; ecology; migration and globalization. It will discuss issues such as the geopolitics of knowledge, Paulo Freire’s legacy and post-Freirean approaches, feminisms in Latin America and other areas of the majority world, anthropologies of the state and civil society, de-/post-colonial perspectives among others.

The series will include publications in English, Spanish and/or Portuguese. It is addressed to social scientists from Latin America and all over the world as well as to global policy-makers and international organization and NGO workers who are interested in theoretical and methodological innovation in social studies.

The first book “Facing Poverty and Marginalisation in Brazil” is going to be published soon & we welcome proposals for edited volumes – please contact us for further details. 

MNLMLa serie se centra en las investigaciones críticas y post-críticas en el área amplia de las ciencias sociales. Busca establecer un movimiento de ideas rico y fluido entre Latinoamérica y el resto del mundo sobre cuestiones sociales contemporáneas, así como indagar sobre las posibilidades para el cambio social local y global. Más aún, busca explorar, situar y, si fuera necesario, deconstruir los sistemas de razonamiento que gobiernan los problemas sociales y el cambio global, incluyendo la deconstrucción de los paradigmas críticos euro-americanos. La serie indaga en perspectivas teóricas y metodológicas innovadoras sobre fenómenos emergentes tales como cuestiones urbanas y rurales, grupos indígenas, derechos humanos, políticas sociales, movimientos sociales, interseccionalidad, medios y tecnologías, educación, organización comunitaria, economía política, ecología, migración y globalización. Entre otros temas, incluye discusiones sobre la geopolítica del conocimiento, el legado de Paulo Freire y las perspectivas post-freirianas, los feminismos en América Latina, las antropologías del estado y la sociedad civil, y las perspectivas de-coloniales y poscoloniales. La serie contendrá publicaciones en inglés, español y/o portugués. Se dirige a cientistas sociales de América Latina de otras partes del mundo, así como a quienes trabajan y toman decisiones en organizaciones internacionales y ONG, que están interesados en la renovación teórica y metodológica en las ciencias sociales.

Esta série de livros tem como foco a pesquisa crítica e pós-crítica no amplo campo das Ciências Sociais. Seu objetivo é estabelecer um movimento vívido de ideias entre a América Latina e o resto do mundo no que tange às questões  sociais contemporâneas com o intuito de explorar as possibilidades de mudanças sociais locais e globais. Além disso, objetivamos também explorar, situar e, se necessário, desconstruir sistemas de racionalidade que governam os problemas sociais e a mudança global – incluindo a desconstrução dos paradigmas críticos euro-americanos. A série explora abordagens metodológicas e teóricas inovadoras em relação aos  fenômenos emergentes em áreas  como: estudos urbanos, rurais e indígenas, direitos humanos, política social e movimentos sociais, intersetorialidade, mídia e tecnologia, educação, organização comunitária, economia política, ecologia, migração e globalização. Serão discutidas questões como a geopolítica do conhecimento, o legado de Paulo Freire e abordagens pós-freirianas, feminismos na América Latina e outras áreas dos países em desenvolvimento, antropologias do estado e da sociedade civil, perspectivas decoloniais e pós coloniais – entre outras. Esta série de livros incluirá publicações em inglês, espanhol e/ou português. É direcionado a cientistas sociais da América Latina e de todo o mundo, bem como aos pensadores de políticas públicas globais e colaboradores de organizações internacionais e ONGs, interessados na inovação teórica e metodológica nas Ciências Sociais.

The editors – Prof. Marcia Mascia (Brazil), Dr Silvia Grinberg (Argentina) & Dr Michalis Kontopodis (International Coordinator, UK)

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Young People, Participation & Media: Report on Invited Talk by S. Banaji at the University of Roehampton

There has been widespread concern in contemporary Western societies about declining engagement in civic life; studies find that people are less inclined to vote, to join political parties, to campaign for social causes, or to trust political processes. Young people more than other groups are frequently described as disenchanted with elections, alienated or apathetic. Some scholars have looked optimistically to new media – and particularly the Internet – as a means of revitalizing civic life and giving young people a voice.

Governments, political parties, charities, NGOs, activists, religious and ethnic groups, and grassroots organizations have created a range of youth-oriented websites that encourage widely divergent forms of civic engagement and use varying degrees of interactivity. But are young people really apathetic and lacking in motivation? In what circumstances does the Internet have the power to re-engage those disenchanted with politics and civic life? And what role do social class, political and media literacy play in motivating sustained participation?

These among other contemporary issues of youth, participation and media were discussed during the invited talk and virtual pedagogy seminar which was organised at the University of Roehampton on the 2nd of March. The seminar was hosted by the Paulo Freire Institute/RISE  and the invited speaker was Dr. Shakuntala Banaji from LSE (London School of Economics and Political Science).


Michalis Kontopodis welcoming the participants.

Dr. Michalis Kontopodis presented the invited speaker after introducing the audience to related concepts of Virtual Pedagogy and his research project titled “Hyperconnecting Youth”.


Shakuntala Banaji presenting her work.

Dr. Shakuntala Banaji gave a lively presentation focusing on the findings of three major research projects funded by the European Commission between 2006 and 2016. The presented
findings of these projects offered useful insights into understanding the role the internet and media more generally play in young people’s participation in democracy and the civic sphere. After presenting her work and drawing on examples from various countries and data collected from online sites related to youth’s civic participation a discussion followed up with the participants of the seminar about crucial issues concerning youth civic participation and the role of media.

More information about the aforementioned research projects can be found in Dr. Shakuntala Banaji‘s publications. The books based on this research – ‘Banaji, S &
Buckingham, D. (2013) ‘The Civic Web: Young People, the Internet and Civic
Participation’ and Cammaerts, Bruter, Banaji et al. (2015) ‘Young People and Democratic
Life in Europe: Between Hope and Disillusion’ – address broader questions about the
meaning of civic engagement, inclusion and exclusion, the nature of new forms of
participation, and their implications for the future of civic life.

Myrto Nikolopoulou, PhD student, University of Roehampton

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New Book on Multimodality, Learning & Communication (Bezemer & Kress)

MultimodalityBook2016Just been reading the new book by Jeff Bezemer & Gunther Kress “Multimodality, Learning And Communication: A Social Semiotic Frame” (Routledge). “Multimodality, Learning and Communication” explores through detailed examples inter-modal and intra-modal changes in learning practices with reference to a wide range of learning environments such as textbooks, poetry albums, blogs, online tutorials, medical students’ education, museum exhibitions etc. Working together over a decade, Bezemer & Kress have managed to create a very accessible, easy to read and navigate through book that introduces beginners to multimodality theory and social semiotics as well as brings together (and forward) the relevant major discussions in the field. By analysing video recordings, photographs, screenshots, and print materials, Jeff Bezemer and Gunther Kress go well beyond the comfortable domains of traditional sites of (social) semiotic and multimodal research. They steer away from spurious invention and naming of ever more newly exciting domains, focusing instead on fundamentals in assembling a set of tools for current tasks: namely describing and analyzing learning and communication in the contemporary world as one integrated field. An especially useful and highly enjoyable book!

Posted in Books (Monographs), news

Vygotsky, Neoliberalism & Post-structuralism: Reflecting on Three Reviews of my Book “Neoliberalism, Pedagogy & Human Development” (Routledge, hardcover 2012, paperback 2014)

Printer-friendly version published in Outlines: Critical Practice Studies: http://ojs.statsbiblioteket.dk/index.php/outlines/article/view/24209 

If one would ask in a conference, whether Vygotsky was a cognitive scientist, an interaction analyst, a psychoanalyst, a constructivist or a critical realist, the discussion may be long with plenty of disagreement – given that different internationally renown scholars have promoted different interpretations of Vygotsky over years and years. However, all attendants will probably agree in one point: Lev S. Vygotsky was definitely not a post-structuralist!

My book “Neoliberalism, Pedagogy and Human Development” (Kontopodis, 2012) has provoked much discussion in this frame – and occasionally even confusion – among students, friends and valued colleagues since it was first published as a hardcover edition in 2012. The book builds on process philosophy and post-structuralism, as well as on Vygotsky’s psychological theory and differentiates between two discrete modes of human development:

  • development of concrete skills (potential development) and
  • development of new societal relations (virtual development, which is at the same time individual and collective).

Through case studies of young people from urban and countryside marginalized populations in Germany, USA and Brazil, the book investigates emerging educational practices and takes a critical stance towards what can be seen as neoliberal educational politics. [1]

The paperback edition of “Neoliberalism, Pedagogy and Human Development”, which was published in 2014, almost coincided with the publication of two book reviews: one kindly written by Fabienne Gfeller (2014, in French for Cahiers de psychologie et éducation) and one by Jacob Klitmøller (2014, in English for Outlines: Critical Practice Studies). A third review of “Neoliberalism, Pedagogy and Human Development” has recently been published with Power and Education (by Matthew Connolly, 2015).

Fabienne Gfeller (2014) focused more on the fourth chapter of the book, which explores the links between human development, pedagogy and social movements in the case of the Landless Rural Workers’ Movement in Brazil. Jacob Klitmøller (2014) kindly reviewed the whole book while relating it to my previous publications (Kontopodis, 2007, 2009, 2011a, 2011b). Matthew Connolly (2015) discussed the book as situated within a broader stream of relational approaches, which have been developed in and beyond psychology by scholars such as Bruno Latour, Steven Brown and others in the last 10 years. These reviews also echo my informal discussions with colleagues in the UK, the Netherlands, Greece, Denmark, Germany, Brazil and US about the book, as well.

For different reasons in each case, all reviews were generally favorable – for which I would like to kindly thank the reviewers. At the same time a wide range of issues and open questions were raised by the three reviewers, such as:

  • how to closely investigate by means of qualitative methods an educational project or a broader social movement while maintaining a critical distance from it?
  • how to define novelty in relation (or in opposition) to meanings and practices that are already existing?
  • how to move between different levels of analysis (such as intra-individual, inter-individual, inter-group, intra-group, societal) etc.

Addressing all these issues would not only necessitate a long text – it may require the writing of another book. As a first step in this direction, I have recently edited a special issue of the European Journal of Psychology of Education in collaboration with Anne-Nelly Perret-Clermont, on “Educational settings as interwoven socio-material orderings” (Kontopodis & Perrret-Clermont, 2016). This special issue aimed at addressing the complexity of moving in-between different levels of analysis by combining thick ethnographic descriptions and theory-dense analyses in and across a variety of educational and developmental contexts such as a Japanese nursery, a Danish primary school or an indigenous Mexican Mazahua community. Furthermore, I reflect on the challenges and the possibilities of combining critical social research with participation in social movements in “Facing Poverty and Marginalization: 50 Years of Critical Research in Brazil” – a co-edited volume that is going to appear soon with Peter Lang (Kontopodis, Magalhães & Coracini, 2016).

There is however one central issue – that underlies everything else – which I aspire to briefly explore below: Is linking post-structuralist thinking and Vygotskian scholarship meaningful? Establishing links between post-structuralist thinking and Vygotskian scholarship is exactly what Matthew Connolly praised yet Jacob Klitmøller criticized my book for. Jacob Klitmøller is neither critical of post-structuralism in general nor of my post-structuralist analysis as such, but as he pinpoints:

“I have difficulty seeing what Vygotsky contributes that is not already available in other (post-structuralist) authors that Kontopodis uses” (Klitmøller, 2014, pp. 99-100).

Several open questions raised by Fabienne Gfeller (for example the issue of establishing continuity or ruptures between the past, the present and the future or the role of school with regards to encouraging novelty) can also be traced back to the positioning of my work in-between Vygotskian scholarship and post-structuralist thinking. The different views between the reviewers reflect their diverse backgrounds and are representative of the different stances distinct audiences have manifested towards my book since the day it was published. Which is indeed the “added value” of bringing Vygotsky and post-structuralist authors in dialogue? Why is this necessary, would this be meaningful, is this possible?

“Neoliberalism, Pedagogy & Human Development” presents qualitative research that explores how mediating devices such as CVs, school reports, school files, photos and narratives shape the ways in which marginalized students reflect about their past as well as imagine their future. Vygotsky’s conceptual toolbox is pivotal in understanding the developmental effects of employing such mediating devices in everyday activities with reference to students who experience developmental (and broader societal) crises.

This was for example the case of Felix (pseudonym) – a student from chapter 1, who had been deviant, had a failed school career, and was placed at a German experimental secondary school specially designed for students like him, when I began my research. Felix did not want to be the “parents’ terrible boy” any more, he wanted to be an “adult” (his own words) and made an intensive effort to give sense to his dramatic experience and gain control of his behavior by appropriating available meanings and mediating devices such as CVs, school reports, and narratives. He was supported by the school teachers, e.g. during consultancy sessions, until he could “stand on his own feet”. It would be difficult to micro-analyze this case just by means of post-structuralist thinking without the conceptual and methodological tools elaborated by Vygotsky such as crisis, experiencing, mediation, sense, social situation of development etc.

Yet, even if Vygotsky was very critical of the capitalist political economy, he did not provide us in his short life with specific tools how to evaluate youth development in terms of its qualitative characteristics, entailed values or broader socio-political dimensions. Felix’s development, as I explain in detail in the book (esp. chapter 1 & interlude), was well aligned with neoliberal technologies of self-reflection, self-control and self-management. These technologies favored a certain understanding of individual success that went together with (others’) failure while they undermined broader socio-political engagement and viewing oneself as part of a community.

Development took place in quite different ways in other cases explored in the book, e.g. in the case of the anonymous female student of Chicano background, who was expected because of her gender, ethnicity and class-background to get pregnant and drop out of school in Long Beach, California (see chapter 3). As part of a broader innovative school project, this student developed in a very different way than it has usually been the case with students with similar ethic, gender- and class-related characteristics. She did not only pursue an unexpected personal trajectory beyond binary dilemmas such as “pregnancy vs. schooling” or “failure vs. success” but also contributed to broader change on school and community levels.

As I explain in the book, micro-analyzing and understanding certain procedures and developmental arrangements in terms of Vygotskian theory was crucial as an analytical step in exploring such cases of youth development. It would however be quite difficult to evaluate the qualitative differences between these cases through the conceptual tools elaborated by Vygotsky (and relevant post-Vygotskian scholars) without employing post-structuralist notions such as technologies of the self, power relations, potentiality vs. virtuality. Deconstructing the notion of development in post-structuralist terms (cf. Burman, 1994) is a very important analytical step – as important as the Vygotsky-inspired analysis briefly presented above. Valuing certain procedures, mediating devices and developmental procedures more than others and establishing criteria for this (e.g. whether they reproduce established power relations or not) is a meta-analytical step, which follows from the previous ones, linking individual development to broader socio-political change.

This meta-analytical step is fully deployed in the fourth chapter of the book with reference to the Landless Rural Workers’ Movement (“Movimento dos Trabalhadores Rurais Sem Terra” or “MST”) i.e. one of Brazil’s most radical and successful socio-political and educational movements of the last 30 years. As the analysis reveals this step requires a complex combination of conceptual and methodological tools that cannot easily be reduced to the one or the other approach. Linking individual development to broader socio-political issues and vice versa with reference to concrete cases and contexts of human development brings to fruition both Vygotskian theorizing and post-structuralist analysis.

Obviously Vygotsky is not a post-structuralist – given that he was long dead around 1968, when scholars such as Jacques Derrida, Gilles Deleuze, Michel Foucault, Julia Kristeva and others argued for epistemological uncertainty while exploring the interplay of power, difference and Otherness in human and other-than-human relationships. Vygotsky indeed never raised concerns with regards to epistemological uncertainty, to the microphysics of power or difference – let alone différance. Yet, both post-structuralist scholarship and Vygotsky’s thinking were considerably influenced by Friedrich Nietzsche’s philosophy and psychoanalysis as well as by Marxism – a resemblance, which has so far been rather unexplored in the relevant literature, and which informs the twofold approach outlined above and in the book.

I can neither claim that my book “Neoliberalism, Pedagogy and Human Development” explored all issues related to these theoretical legacies and approaches – nor can I claim that linking Vygotsky to post-structuralism is straightforward and would not require further work. Yet, I hope that my book presents an innovative relational account of learning and human development, which can prove of particular importance for the education and development of young people – especially the marginalized ones.

I hope that this brief response is adding clarity to the relevant discussions and once again would like to thank the reviewers Fabienne Gfeller, Jacob Klitmøller and Matthew Connolly for taking time and engaging in such a helpful and fruitful way with topics and issues that have been imperative to me for about a decade. That much work yet remains in this area is both exciting and a challenge.


Burman, E. (1994). Deconstructing developmental psychology. London and New York: Routledge.

Connolly, M. (2015). Book review: Michalis Kontopodis: Neoliberalism, pedagogy and human development: Exploring time, mediation and collectivity in contemporary schools. Power & Education, 7(3), 370-371. 

Gfeller, F. (2014). Terrain au sein du mouvement des sans-terre au Brésil: quelles visions du développement, de l’éducation et de l’engagement? Notes de lecture de Kontopodis, M. (2012). Cahiers de Psychologie et Education (Université de Neuchâtel), 50, 15-20.

Klitmøller, J. (2014). Review of Kontopodis, Michalis (2012): Neoliberalism, Pedagogy and Human Development: Exploring Time, Mediation and Collectivity in Contemporary Schools. Outlines: Critical Practice Studies, 15(3), 97-101.

Kontopodis, M. (2007). Fabrication of times and micro-formation of discourse at a secondary school [88 paragraphs]. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 8(1). http://www.qualitative-research.net/fqs-texte/1-07/07-1-11-e.htm (open access).

Kontopodis, M. (2009). Documents’ memories. Enacting pasts and futures in the School for Individual Learning-in-Practice. Memory Studies. 2(1): 11-26.

Kontopodis, M. (2011a). Enacting human developments: from representation to virtuality. In: M. Kontopodis, C. Wulf & B. Fichtner (Eds) Children, development and education: Cultural, historical, anthropological perspectives (pp. 185-206). Dordrecht, London, New Delhi and New York: Springer.

Kontopodis, M. (2011b). Transforming the power of education for young minority women: Narrations, meta-reflection, and societal change. Ethos, 39(1), 76-97.

Kontopodis, M. (2012). Neoliberalism, pedagogy and human development: Exploring time, mediation and collectivity in contemporary schools. London and New York: Routledge.

Kontopodis, M.; Magalhães, M.C. & Coracini, M.J. (Eds) (2016, in print). Facing poverty and marginalization: 50 Years of critical research in Brazil. Bern, Oxford & New York: Peter Lang.

Kontopodis, M. & Perret-Clermont, A.-N. (2016). Educational settings as interwoven socio-material orderings: An introduction. European Journal of Psychology of Education, 31(1), 1-12.

[1] For videos & films that can be used as additional teaching materials to the book see: https://mkontopodis.wordpress.com/neoliberalism/

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March 2: RISE Seminar by Dr. Shakuntala Banaji at Roehampton University in London, 11.00-12.30

Welcome & Introduction  Dr. Michalis Kontopodis & Dr. Julie Shaughnessy

Young People, Participation & Media: Between the Rhetoric & Practice of Democracy  Dr. Shakuntala Banaji, LSE


Picture credits: LoboStudioHamburg

There has been widespread concern in contemporary Western societies about declining engagement in civic life; studies find that people are less inclined to vote, to join political parties, to campaign for social causes, or to trust political processes. Young people more than other groups are frequently described as disenchanted with elections, alienated or apathetic. Some scholars have looked optimistically to new media – and particularly the Internet – as a means of revitalizing civic life and giving young people a voice. Governments, political parties, charities, NGOs, activists, religious and ethnic groups, and grassroots organizations have created a range of youth-oriented websites that encourage widely divergent forms of civic engagement and use varying degrees of interactivity. But are young people really apathetic and lacking in motivation? In what circumstances does the Internet have the power to re-engage those disenchanted with politics and civic life? And what role do social class, political and media literacy play in motivating sustained participation?

Based on three major research projects funded by the European Commission between 2006 and 2016, the paper attempts to understand the role the internet and media more generally play in young people’s participation in democracy and the civic sphere. Examples are drawn from Hungary, the Finland, France, Netherlands, Slovenia, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, and the United Kingdom – countries offering contrasting political systems and cultural contexts. The books based on this research – ‘Banaji, S & Buckingham, D. (2013) ‘The Civic Web: Young People, the Internet and Civic Participation’ and Cammaerts, Bruter, Banaji et al. (2015) ‘Young People and Democratic Life in Europe: Between Hope and Disillusion’ also address broader questions about the meaning of civic engagement, inclusion and exclusion, the nature of new forms of participation, and their implications for the future of civic life.

Dr Shakuntala Banaji is a Lecturer in Media and Communications, and Programme Director of the Master’s in Media, Communication, and Development at LSE. Her teaching and research covers children, youth and media cultures in South Asia and Europe, Hindi films, the internet and civic participation. She has worked on several largescale funded projects, and is currently UK project director for CATCH-EyoU: Constructing Active Citizenship with Young People in Europe (Horizon 2020, 2015-2018).

Location: Convent Parlour/ Digby Stuart College, University of Roehampton, London

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Virtual pedagogy, dynamic literacies & collaboration with new media industry – J. Marsh & J. Potter at Roehampton University, 11/11/2015

Communication is nowadays taking place through interactive, mobile and online platforms that enable the distributed production and circulation of multimedia designs across different institutional, geographical and community spaces. The digitally-enabled representations developed in these spaces concern a wide range of educational and cultural practices, in which children and young people are often involved or seen as primary audiences of. Much scholarship has explored the major influences of digital technologies on young people. Terms such as the Net generation (Tapscott, 2009), digital youth (Subrahmanyam & Šmahel, 2011), the app generation (Gardner & Davis, 2013), and networked teens (boyd, 2014) have been used to describe a radical shift in the lives of the young in the “new media” era.


In this context, a seminar on “Virtual Pedagogy” was organised at the University of Roehampton on the 11th of November. The seminar was hosted by the Paulo Freire Institute/RISE and it focused on issues of Virtual Pedagogy. The invited speakers of the seminar were John Potter (Institute of Education – UCL) and Jackie Marsh (University of Sheffield).

Julie Shaughnessy welcomed the participants and Michalis Kontopodis presented the invited speakers after introducing the audience to the concept of Virtual Pedagogy and his related research project titled “Hyperconnecting Youth”.

2During the first part of the seminar, John Potter spoke about the notion of “dynamic literacies” in his presentation and the frame of reference that it can provide for mediated learner activity. His presentation led to a discussion around examples of good practices concerning the use of media in education and also around the meaning of being literate in “third spaces” of learning.

3Jackie Marsh presented the findings of an ESRC-funded research project that was co-produced with media industry partners. The presented project aimed to examine how far apps used by children aged under 5 promoted play and creativity. After presenting the methodology and the findings of the research, as well as some interesting videos from the fieldwork, a discussion was initiated concerning the relationship between acting online and offline and also about the implications of the use of apps for education. 

The PowerPoint slides of her presentation can be downloaded from here: PP_JMarsh_RoehamptonNov2015. Please don’t copy or circulate any of these contents without the written permission of the author.

(Report by M. Nikolopoulou & M. Kontopodis, photography by M. Nikolopoulou).

Follow-up event at Roehampton – 2 March 2016: 

Young People, Participation and Media: Between the Rhetoric and Practice of Democracy with Dr Shakuntala Banaji from London School of Economics (for more details contact: michaliskonto (at) googlemail.com)

More photographs and further updates:




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