Politics, Media and Youth

Understanding Political Socialization via Video Production in Secondary Schools

Article appearing in Learning, Media, & Technology

  • Co-Author:
  • Taso Lagos with Kate Dunsmore
  • Date: Spring, 2008

Research on the lack of civic and political engagement on the part of today’s youth has relied on traditional, often quantitative, measures of political knowledge that may miss important elements of the process. Using an ethnographic approach with a group of inner‐city high school students, our study reveals a richer construction of students’ awareness of political issues, or political socialization than previously documented by conventional survey measures. Notably present is a sophisticated awareness of and identification with non‐news television formats which suggests that sources such as TV talk and reality shows may be important sources of political discourse and even civic engagement. Our study also supports the value of hands‐on media production projects for understanding youth political knowledge and awareness, suggesting an additional tool for political communication and civic engagement research.