DEMOCRACY, CITIZENSHIP AND YOUTH Towards Social and Political Participation in Brazil

Itamar Silva and Anna Luiza Salles Souto
I.B. Tauris, IDRC
220 pages

What is the place of young people in today’s complex and rapidly changing world? Young people are both a mirror for and a reflection of their societies, and yet the subject of youth is radically under-researched. To enable a greater understanding of the dynamics of society, it is therefore fundamentally important to understand the perceptions and practices of its youth.

Drawing from over 8 000 interviews and 40 focus groups with young people in eight metropolitan areas of Brazil, this book presents a searching and comprehensive picture of youth – demonstrating both its diversity and singularity, and helping to dispel many of the myths, discriminations, stigmas, and prejudices attached to this segment of society.

The first three chapters examine the most important aspects of young people’s social participation, the importance of school, and the resulting challenges for creating public policies. The remaining chapters consider the study process, the choices made relating to the methodology, how the network of researchers was formed, the reactions of the young people studied, the successful media-relations strategy, and the rewarding partnerships generated from the research.

This book is relevant beyond the Brazilian and South American context, with implications for countries throughout the developing and developed worlds. It presents findings that have already had a major impact on public opinion in Brazil and have helped firmly fix the issue of youth onto government agendas. It will be of particular interest to government experts, representatives of youthrelated government agencies and NGOs, academic researchers and students working in the areas of youth issues, political science, governance studies, and international development.


Anna Luiza Salles Souto is deputy coordinator of the study Brazilian Youth and Democracy: participation, spheres and public policies. She is a sociologist and Director of Pólis – Instituto de Estudos, Formação e Assessoria em Políticas Sociais.

Itamar Silva is coordinator of the study Brazilian Youth and Democracy: participation, spheres and public policies. He is a journalist and Coordinator at IBASE – Instituto Brasileiro de Análises Sociais e Econômicas.