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Revista Latinoamericana de Ciencias Sociales, Niñez y Juventud

versión impresa ISSN 1692-715X
versión On-line ISSN 2027-7679

Rev.latinoam.cienc.soc.niñez juv v.9 n.1 Manizales ene./jun. 2011




Presentation of Volume 9 N° 1 of January-June, 2011, monographic issue in Youth and Political Practices in Latin America

We are very pleased to present this new issue of our journal in collaboration with the “Youth and Political Practices in Latin America” Clacso Work Group.

With reference to the thematic contents in this dossier, recently in the Dictionnaire de l’Adolescence et la Jeunesse, and with reference to the engagement politique, Anne Muxel (2010) states: “les jeunes ne sont pas dépolitisés, mais ils son politisés autrement” 1 This appears to connect our Latin-American studies about the relationship between politics and youth beyond the Atlantic as the critic and the questioning to the supposed juvenile “apoliticism”. Accordingly, this supposes that youths “become politicized”, are we facing the raise of a new politicity? Can we take this certain renewed politicity as a modification to the youth and politics link or as a transforming processuality of politics itself? Can we decipher this complexity as a kind of “geology” of politics which allows us to go ahead from a superficial and evident stratum into a deep and imperceptible one? How can we assume such politicity without explaining it and how not to explain it without remaining in the externality of its manifestations?

When assuming the youth-politics relation, aren’t we, in one way or another, taking its disconnection as its premise? Is the political character intrinsic to the condition of being young? We are tempted to say that that the youth social production is, by definition, a political production, the power generated by its commands and logics in a complex field of forces, without power becoming domination. Both reproduction and counter-hegemony exercises insert themselves in the logics of youth political production.

Can we then think about comprehending the concrete manifestation of a structurally given symbiosis? The compendium of contributions contained in this issue coincides with the inquiry on the multiple and symbiotic connections between youth and politics in Latin America, thus turning to a certain variety of approximation approaches, where, in their subjects – research objects- the term youth indicates an elaboration and a density that are expressed differentiatedly in every case.

Multiplicity is probably a term used to qualify the richness of contributions that are offered here.

This is due to the plurality expressed by means of diverse dimensions: a) the approximation and interpretation frameworks, b) the interest and analysis categories, c) the ways to bind both the male and female youths in each study, d) the concerned places and contexts, e) the implied temporalities.

Before explaining this multiplicity in a more detailed way, we will state that what has been expressed hereto will not hinder the identification of the transverse and predominant aspects in these ways of approximation.

a) Thus, with reference to the approaches, the hermeneutic-interpretative framings, the ethnographic inquiry and the methodologies that appropriate qualitative methodologies are privileged. As a matter of fact, the study about the juvenile and the political matter is mediated by the emphases orienting a more singular analysis perspective in each case, e.g. the valuation of a socio-cultural approach of the juvenile and political matter, the historical approach, the notion of citizenship sometimes highlighted more as a perspective than as a category. The inquiry that integrates political economics and discourse analysis (Ocampo), the generative model that correlates objective conditions and subjective dispositions (Castellanos) contributes with research perspectives about the juvenile and political matter in Latin America. It highlights Laura Kropff’s work when stressing the relation between the academic approaches and the so-called native theories. On the other hand, Silvia Helena Simões Borelli’s effort makes emphasis on a research imperative: the inescapable reflection about the relations among the epistemological, theoretical/conceptual and methodological matrices.

Various premises are at the basis: on the one hand, the questioning about a supposed juvenile apoliticity; on the other hand, the interest to problematize the power relationships, the tensions between the instituted and the instituent matters; among the power logics, the resistance practices and the search for the construction of alternative forms for the legitimization of discoursivities and political practices.

b) The questions supporting these intellectual and research productions deal with a heterogeneity of categories which we could approximatively distinguish with the denomination of meanings and practices; which, far from corresponding to separate and exclusive variables become analytical and comprehensive tools that intertwine themselves to generate a conceptual tissue in each work.

Therefore, in a group concerning the meanings, the male and female authors become interested in the conceptions (Vergara, Montaño, Becerra, Arboleda, Kropff), the meanings and discourses (Ghiso, Tabares-Ochoa, Ocampo, Lozano, Alvarado), the imaginaries (Hurtado), the identities and social representations (Magno, Dula, de Almeida Pinto), the notions (Domínguez, Castilla) and the ideas, peace ideas (Urbina-Cárdenas, Muñoz). There is another important categorical group which emphasizes on the ways of doing: the actions (Lozano, Alvarado; Muñoz-López, Alvarado; Ghiso, Tabares-Ochoa; Dominguez, Castilla), cultural actions (Borelli), experiences and practices (López-Moreno, Alvarado; Vommaro). This double taxonomy shows the interest through the emphasis on one or another perspective without considering them exclusively.

Other works go back to the classical categories of politics, such as democracy (Vergara et al.; Lozano, Alvarado), citizenship (Saucedo, Taracena, Ocampo, Lozano, Alvarado), participation (Domínguez, Castilla, Vommaro, Vásquez-Ceballos), government and state (Ocampo), inquiring about approximation routes on the light of researches on an empirical support; thus, establishing a dialog among classical categories with renewed comprehension efforts from contemporary realities involving youths. Other categorical works inquiry about paths and perspectives (Kropff), judgments (Lozano, Alvarado), subjectivation (Hurtado, López-Moreno, Alvarado, Domínguez, Kropff), vulnerability and exclusion (Rivera-González).

A fourth set makes an emphasis on the search of new routes, on the questioning of power and on constructing other logics and courses of action. The following orienting categories outstand: alternatives and resistances (Magno et al.; Vommaro, Muñoz-López, Alvarado, López-Moreno, Alvarado), autonomy (Saucedo, Taracena, Muñoz-López, Alvarado), projects and individual change ideals (Guerrero, Massa, Durán), reconfiguration of social organization experiences (Vommaro), transformation, power and intergenerational relations (López-Moreno, Alvarado).

Finally, it is worth considering the quests coinciding, in their interest, with the processualities structured with reference to the spaces: city-spaces (Hurtado), place (Urbina-Cárdenas, Muñoz) and territories and territorial identity (Magno et al.).

This evidences a set of explorations and multivectorial approaches which move through the providing densities of social and political theories and through the creative search for emergent categories which become suggestive for the deconstruction/adequation of a deeper comprehension of a phenomenon which expresses continuities as well as mutations and ruptures.

c) When we talk about youth studies – contrary to the appearance of the term – in this dossier, “youth” is a polyphony. What refers to the youth appears in different ways which suggest specific compositions: collective actions, social movements, organizations, juvenile groups, juvenile collectives, armed militancies (which by definition privilege youths in confrontation and in war) is also studied. We state too that the interest is not always centered on the male and female youths as the central “object” of intgerest. Therefore, it is worth noting the effort which explores the meanings attributed to the notions of juvenile citizenship, youth and state in the discourse of the World Bank (Ocampo), thus evidencing the logics of political economics and giving a look that approaches youth matters out of their specificity within a problematization context linked to the definition of discourses that include and affect them.

This dossier, when contextualized in the field of youth studies, evidences a substantial advancement in terms of visibilizing youngsters and youths which are frequently anonymous. Under the term invisible youths, we mean those, in general, belonging to middle and popular classes, not formally organized and who are not used to calling the attention of the mass media, the political institutions or the academic research (Portillo, 2004). It is thus here evidenced a plurality of youths whose demands, bets, dreams and realities are staged in these works: youths in the war, legal and illegal group militants, youths in displacement conditions, rural youths, street youths, youths for work education, middle secondary, technical and tertiary education students, young artists, youths practicing skateboarding, capoeira, theater, death metal; mapuches, tapatios, cariocas, santiagueños, periphery juvenile collectives and the city scene and urban male and female youths who enjoy a privileged analysis place.

d) A research panorama from various latitudes in Latin America is also appreciated: Bariloche, Havana, Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Santiago de Chile, Viçosa (Minas Gerais), Cúcuta, Pereira, among others, so that the multiplicity of works here stated refers their quests to geographies including capital cities as well as intermediate cities and non-urban contexts. A polycromy of territories in the Latin American scenario is referred to as those territories are endowed with an intrinsec link characterized by the complexities that have been approached in every work.

e) Similarly, diverse temporalities are approached, which range from the 60’s to the 70’s, going through the last decade of the XX century, which allows to appreciate the state of studies in the last half of the century, in longitudinal and transversal sections.

Accordingly, the questions whose vectors intersect in the politics-culture-youth axis are renewed and strengthened to suggest and problematize inquiry routes, as well as to foster knowledge and action needs, that are of importance both to the research activity and to the formulation of public policies and intervention strategies.

From the “Youth and political practices in Latin America” Clacso Work Group, we will keep on promoting the consolidation of joint and collaborative efforts aiming at the production of new knowledge, as well as divulgation initiatives, training and action in this field, to advance the dialog, the debate, the exchange and the collective and participative construction, characterized by the decided inclusion of the male and female youths’ voices.

In the Third Section of the Journal, we present the author Cumulative Index and the Thematic Index, updated until Volume 8 Nº 2 of July-December 2011. There is also a comment on a document from OEI about “Energy and social-environmental crisis. The nuclear plants are not an energetic alternative against the climatic change”, where it is stated that we are in time to switch from our energetic model into a sustainable one, based upon the saving, the efficiency and the use of clean technologies; that we are in time to start a “green” [r]evolution which will set the bases for a sustainable future for the humanity and for the biodiversity from which we are part of and we depend upon.

It also informs about the symposium “Frontier youths: actors and juvenile subjects’ situations, transits, processes and emergencies”, at the 54 Americanist International Congress. This congress is held as a proposal to call researchers and scholars interested in exchanging and discussing about recent findings and theoretical-methodological reflections about the phenomena concerning youth, ethnicity and migration.

The Fourth Section comprises a wide range of interviews and reviews we will keep on publishing and which will give you the opportunity to make your contributions in case you are interested in. First, Carlos Alberto González Quitián reproduces two interviews about Creativity and Education. The first interview to Saturnino de la Torre, Professor at the University of Barcelona who presents his work in this field and his contributions to the creation of very useful tools to develop creativity; the second interview is about creativity in education and development scenarios, where Carlos González talks about the importance of creativity and its various achievements in the educational scenario; a concept that has been admired by many people, but that, at the same time, has been unknown from its pedagogical dimension.

Ángela Hernández Córdoba presents a review of her book entitled ”Links, individuation and human ecology; towards a complex clinical psychology”. This text presents the challenges of the project/institutional line known as “Links, Ecology and Networks”, at the Master’s Program in Clinical and Family Psychology, at the School of Psychology at Universidad Santo Tomás in Bogotá, in 2003. She (Hernández, 2010, p.5) implements a methodology based on “modelization of complex systems”, whose developments have been on the process of validation to fulfill the ethical imperative concerning scientific rigor criteria and socio-cultural relevance.

Next, there is a comment to the book entitled “Systemic reading about the family and the violence pattern” by María Hilda Sánchez Jiménez and Sandra Milena Valencia, who recreate the scientific production in Spanish, but with the aim to rescue national literature, with a focus on higher studies centers and the authors and groups who, from the decade of the 80’s ventured in the systemic approach and presented a different perspective of human dilemmas in order to propose a holistic view of the world. All of the above is supported by a solid and diverse bibliography and by the ethical and collaborative acknowledgement and the contributions from those preceding this work.

In the third place, Graciela Tonon presents the book compiled by her and entitled “Community, participation and political socialization”, where she indicates that the community has been a field of specific and traditional intervention with its impact on Social Work. Likewise, this issue has become, in the last decades, a field of interest for other disciplines, such as Psychology, Political Science and Economics, among others. Accordingly, this text consists of seven chapters written by authors from different countries (Argentina, Colombia and Mexico) and belonging to various disciplines.

Carlos Eduardo González Quitián presents a description of his book entitled “Guidelines for Eco-environmental Coexistence. To coexist with nature in conurbations and horizontal property”. It is a pedagogical text taken from the author’s study and experience in the field of horizontal property, particularly from the experience of coexisting in rural spaces where the owners and the dwellers of private properties share common goods and services by using legal procedures and standards to coexist with the environment in balance and harmony; thus enjoying the rights that define the private property and the respect for common and public issues.

A farewell to Eloisa Vasco Montoya

We deeply regret the death of our friend and dream colleague Eloísa Vasco Montoya, who was cofounder, co-editor and a member of the Editorial Committee of the Latin American Review of Social Sciences, Childhood and Youth. Eloisa leaves her path, engraved with tenacity, concerning her great contributions to the strengthening of the journal, her commitment to education and, above all, her happiness to live fruitfully, especially when responsibilities had to do with the high-quality training of new generations of both male and female teachers, researchers and the spread of knowledge through our journal and other publications.



Muxel A. (2010). “L’engagement politique”, in: Le Breton, David ; Marcelli, Daniel, Dictionnaire de l’adolescence et la jeunesse. Paris: PUF.

Portillo, M. (2004). Culturas juveniles y cultura política: la construcción de la opinión política de los jóvenes de la Ciudad de México. Doctoral dissertation. Barcelona: Universidad Autónoma de Barcelona.


The guest editor,


Liliana Galindo
Doctorante en Science Politique
Sciences de l’Homme, du Politique et du Territoire
Université de Grenoble, France


The director-editor,


Héctor Fabio Ospina



1 “Youngsters have not become depoliticized, they are politicized in a different way.” T. of Ed.


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