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Creative Activism: Youth Media in Palestine

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This paper examines the extent to which participatory media function as tools for youth expression, empowerment, activism, and advocacy in Palestine. I argue that, first, youth media provide opportunities for creative expression and civic engagement in spaces in which youth participation is often marginalized. Secondly, youth media offer alternative information sources to potentially challenge dominant discourses of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict generally and the roles of Palestinian youth specifically. However, youth media practitioners, especially those from outside the community, often face the challenge of preserving the very youth agency that they aim to promote. It is thus necessary to be aware of the power dynamics implicit in such projects, even when adopting a pluralist approach.

I begin by identifying the diverse approaches to youth media emerging in Palestine, and then examine the influence of youth media at the individual, community, regional, and international levels. I then discuss some of the limitations of youth media initiatives, and emphasize the importance of local ownership and youth participation. The findings are based on fieldwork conducted in the West Bank from 2006 to 2008, including interviews, surveys, program evaluations, and participant-observation.


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