Tag Archives: youth

Italian elections 2013: social media and political participation

19 Feb

Italy’s general election has been called for on next 24-25 February. If you are Italian and living in a foreign Country without being registered with the AIRE (Anagrafe Italiana Residenti Estero, Register of Italian citizens abroad: applies only for stays longer than twelve months), the only way to participate elections held during your stay abroad is to travel back home.

This means that all Italians – from (exchange) students to (voluntary) workers – temporarily living in a foreign Country will have to consider whether they want their participation to the approaching elections easily to become their most expensive vote so far.


Motivated by their will to vote and by the inequality of rights between Italian citizens themselves, and between Italians and other EU-citizens (the parliament in Rome has so far been unable to provide any legal framework for voting abroad such as those available, amongst others, to Dutch, British and French citizens, no matter how long their stay abroad is), a number of students took in January different initiatives meant both to stigmatize the problem and to call for symbolic (online) polls to be organized at the same time of the election in different foreign cities.

Here they are on a row:
Studenti italiani che non potranno votare alle prossime elezioni (Facebook page; Italian students that will not be able to vote in the next election);
Vogliovotare (I want to vote) and Iovotofuorisede (I vote ‘fuori sede’), for students enrolled at Italian Universities elsewhere than in their own hometown (‘fuori sede’);
Iovogliovotare (I want to vote), for all Italian citizens temporarily living abroad.

Waiting for next week-end to see how many people will take part in these symbolic polls (let alone what the results of the general elections themselves will be), the students’ initiative seems to me already one more example of the potential of social media to facilitate political participation, if not always on such a (dramatic) scale as from 2010 in Egypt (see amongst others Mark Lynch’s After Egypt: the limits and promise of online challenges to the authoritarian Arab State, access restrictions possible), certainly in a fashion that proves how an even enthousiastic will to participate the electoral process still exists amid the disheartenment about the value of political commitment which seems at times to typify the attitude of a majority of (not only) the Italian people.

Picture comes from www.vogliovotare.org.


Children’s literacy: advertising, information, sexual

21 Jun

The RSS-feeds I am subscribed to usually give me inspiration when choosing a topic to blog on. This post is no exception to the rule, yet the latest cover page of UvA-Hva students’ weekly Folia Magazine (see picture) – and the article it actually refers to – provided extra input.

To start with, the magazine made me think of an article title in The Guardian I blogged on last year with regard to (needless to say) information literacy, and which could be restated in the case of Folia Magazine as «A case of never letting the topic spoil a good headline».

What the Dutch do better than the Americans («Wij doen het beter dan de Amerikanen») has namely nothing to do with fellatio, but with sexual awareness and education – in other terms (to make the case for this post), sexual literacy – such as this might be developed in young people by reading teen magazines. This is the topic of Suchi Joshi‘s dissertation, reviewed on pages 6-8 of Folia Magazine, and entitled «Adolescent sexual socialization and teen magazines: a cross-national study between the United States and the Netherlands» (defended June 7th; promoters: professor Patty Valkenburg, Spinoza Laureate 2011, and professor Jochen Peter).

To know more about Joshi’s research, you can read her interview on the site of CcaM, the Center for research on children, adolescents and the Media, which is part of ASCoR, the UvA Amsterdam School of Communication Research, and whose research focuses on the role and influence of media use in children’s and adolescents’ lives.

Esther Rozendaal is not only another CcaM researcher, but also one whose PhD thesis has been lately awarded the 2012 Dissertation Award by the ICA, International Communication Association. Entitled «Advertising literacy and children’s susceptibility to advertising», Rozendaal’s thesis explores the development and role of advertising literacy in children’s lives, contributing pivotal insights on how advertising-related knowledge is connected to children’s advertising susceptibility.

Sections of Rozendaal’s publication are available online at UvA-DARE, the Digital Academic Repository of the University of Amsterdam, while a (complete) print copy can be borrowed at the UvA-Bushuis library. By the way: as far as libraries are concerned, it is information literacy what we most care about:

«To be information literate, a person must be able to recognize when information is needed and have the ability to locate, evaluate, and use effectively the needed information» (ACRL’s Presidential Committee on Information Literacy: Final Report).

«Developing lifelong learners is central to the mission of higher education institutions. By ensuring that individuals have the intellectual abilities of reasoning and critical thinking, and by helping them construct a framework for learning how to learn, colleges and universities provide the foundation for continued growth throughout their careers, as well as in their roles as informed citizens and members of communities. Information literacy is a key component of, and contributor to, lifelong learning» (Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education).

Photo’s from CcaM-site.