issue 5, year 3

Who is CATCH-EyoU

The LSE team

CATCH-EyoU Meets the LSE Team

The London School of Economics and Political Science team is small – just two members – led by Dr. Shakuntala Banaji and supported by Dr. Sam Mejias, both based in the Department of Media and Communications. The LSE team leads Work Package 8 (meanings and practices of youth participation and cases of successful participation) and co-leads Work Package 2 (development of an integrated theory of youth active citizenship in the EU). The team also contributes to Work Packages 3, 5, and 7 on policy, media and youth civic engagement.

Throughout the CATCH-EyoU project, the LSE team has focused on applying a critical social science lens to the study of youth active citizenship in the EU, firstly by deconstructing and interrogating the notions of youth, citizenship, and second by asking what it means to be ‘active’ in both a national and a European context. In particular the team has suggested an emphasis on understanding how gender, social class, culture, ethnic identity, austerity-driven economic precarity and unequal structures inflect the possibilities and barriers for young people’s civic and political engagement.

The LSE team’s local work in exploring the citizenship practices and identities of British young people has been simultaneously complicated and enlivened by the June 2016 national referendum vote that resulted in the decision to leave the EU, known colloquially as ‘Brexit’. Whilst the vote outcome has pointedly challenged the future status and identities of young people in the UK as European citizens, it has also exposed a significant generational divide in the country that has led to important insights about how young people conceptualise the relationship between the UK and the EU. In the current moment of an uncertain national political transition, research on youth participation in the UK in the context of European active citizenship has taken on new urgency and relevance.

Shakuntala Banaji, PhD, has twenty-five years’ experience teaching in schools and higher education. She is currently Associate Professor in the Department of Media and Communications at LSE, where she also serves as Director of Graduate Studies and Programme Director for the Master’s in Media, Communication and Development. She lectures on International Media and the Global South, Film theory and World Cinema, and Critical Approaches to Media, Communication and Development. Her current research addresses the intersection between socio-political contexts, media, identities and participation. Her focus is on the lives of children and young people in different geographical and class contexts, with a critical take on the ways in which rhetorical conceptions of citizenship, development, engagement and digital media construct and position children and young people. These themes are being pursued through two projects: The European Commission Horizon 2020 Young 5a funded project, CATCH-EyoU - Constructing Active Citizenship with European youth: policies, practices, challenges and solutions (2015-2018), which investigates media constructions, participatory practices and policy visions of youth active citizenship. And, Personalised Media and Participatory Culture (2015-2018) funded by the LSE Middle East centre’s Academic Collaboration with Arab Universities Programme. She has published over fifty articles, reports and books chapters on creativity and learning, young people and civic participation, internet activism, young people, children and technologies as well as gender, ethnicity and South Asian media. Monographs and co-authored books include Reading Bollywood: The Young Audience and Hindi Cinema (Palgrave, 2006), South Asian Media Cultures (Anthem Press, 2010), The Civic Web: Young People, the Internet and Civic Participation (MIT Press, 2013), Youth Participation in Democratic Life (Palgrave, 2015) and Children and Media in India (Routledge, 2017).

Shakuntala Banaji

Sam Mejias is a Postdoctoral Research Officer in the Department of Media and Communications at LSE for CATCH-EyoU and also a co-Principal Investigator on the Wellcome Trust (UK) and National Science Foundation (US) funded project ‘Science Learning Plus: Creativity and Equity in STEM Learning,’ which explores youth creative media learning practices. Sam’s research focuses on the epistemic intersections between media, societies, politics and justice and traverses both Western and non-Western development contexts. He specialises in the fields of citizenship, education, media and political participation, international educational development, youth media, and media for development. He holds a PhD in Education from the UCL Institute of Education and a Master’s degree in International Educational Development from Columbia University Teachers College. His current research projects explore changing forms of political discourse and participation in media, and the role of critical, equity-based education in navigating educational and political challenges to 21st century life.

Sam Mejias

CATCH-EyoU has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation Programme under Grant Agreement n. 649538