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Revista Brasileira de Educação

versão impressa ISSN 1413-2478


MISCHE, Ann. From students to citizens: youth networks and political participation. Rev. Bras. Educ. [online]. 1997, n.05-06, pp.134-150. ISSN 1413-2478.

The dramatic convergence of Brazilian young people in protests that demanded the impeachment of President Collor de Melo has produced contradictory explanations, ranging from euphoric celebrations of the rebirth of the 1960's student resistance to the cynical manipulation of the propaganda industry. In this article the 1992 youth demonstrations are examined in a historical perspective, analyzing changes in both the relational settings and the cultural-ideological contexts that have shaped the participation of Brazilian youth during the past three decades. The new arrangements where Brazilian youngsters are involved - family, study, work and sociability as well as the changes in the network structures of organized groups and their attempts to reach wider social sectors - are all explored in order to understand the social transformations that led youth from the strong "student" identity of the 1960's to the more universal "citizen" identity in the 1990's. In. considering "young citizenship" a reformulated concept of collective identity is pointed out - and its relation with social structure or position - which questions the static and deterministic visions that generally accompany such concepts. It is suggested that the systematic analysis of interpersonal and organizational networks, together with attention to “multivalence" in discourse and action, could shed new insight into how political culture is reformulated through the conflicting ambiguity of social interactions.

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