Governing Youth Politics in the Age of Surveillance: 1st Edition (Hardback) book cover

Governing Youth Politics in the Age of Surveillance

1st Edition

Edited by Maria T. Grasso, Judith Bessant


248 pages | 2 B/W Illus.

Purchasing Options:$ = USD
Hardback: 9781138630123
pub: 2018-02-14
eBook (VitalSource) : 9781315209746
pub: 2018-02-06
from $27.48

FREE Standard Shipping!


Drawing on case studies from around the world, contributors to this ground-breaking book explore a major contemporary paradox: on the one hand, young people today are at the forefront of political campaigns promoting social rights and ethical ideas that challenge authoritarian orders and elite privileges. On the other hand, too many governments, some claiming to be committed to liberal-democratic values, social inclusion and youth participation are engaged in repressing political activities that contest the status quo.

Contributors to this book explore how, especially since 9/11, governments, state agencies and other traditional power holders around the globe have reacted to political dissent authored by young people. While the ‘need’ to enhance ‘youth political participation’ is promoted, the cases in this book document how states are using everything from surveillance, summary offences, expulsion from universities, ‘gag laws’ and ‘antiterrorism’ legislation, and even imprisonment to repress certain forms of young people’s political activism. These responses diminish the public sphere and create civic spaces hostile to political participation by any citizen.

This book forms part of The Criminalization of Political Dissent series. It documents and interprets the many ways contemporary governments and agencies now routinely use various techniques to repress and criminalise political dissent.


"Governing Youth in the Age of Surveillance may be one of the best books available documenting and analysing how the war on youth has become an international issue. Global in its reach, intellectually brave, and theoretically unsettling, this is a book that everyone should read if they are concerned about what is happening to youth in a world in which authoritarianism is on the rise. But there is more at work here than an insightful, if not brilliant critical analysis, there is also a language of resistance, hope, and a call for the renewal of public spheres that give democracy some substance and hope for the future."

-Henry Giroux, Professor for Scholarship in the Public Interest, McMaster University, Canada

"This timely edition of critical essays analyses political (re)action and resistance from young people to the growing inequality and injustices of neoliberal societies, and the state’s intensified effort at suppressing them through increased surveillance. From the criminalisation of Muslim youth in Britain and Kenya, the repression of student protest in Canada and Malaysia, and sexual identity in Russia, to the silencing of dissent in Spain and constricting of young women’s politics in India, this collection of essays provides both a warning, and hope for the future. These eclectic studies of what Mandela described as ‘the heroism of youth’ provide a crucial book for challenging times."

-Paddy Rawlinson, Associate Professor of International Criminology, Western Sydney University, Australia

"Mai ‘68, Puerta del Sol, Chilean, Maple and Arab Springs…Youth politics has always been a driving force of democratization and emancipation. The quelling of this force of change by attempts to depoliticize and criminalize it is much less known and discussed. The indispensable Grasso and Bessant’s Youth Politics in the Age of Surveillance sheds light on evolving strategies from governments that sacralise youth but penalize young people. Truly essential!"

-Marie-Christine Doran, Associate Professor, School of Political Studies, University of Ottawa, Canada

"Commitments in many countries to strengthening the political participation of young people, to combat the so-called democratic deficit, have been paralleled by the growth of ubiquitous surveillance of that behaviour. Youth political protest is, throughout the world, increasingly monitored and regulated. Grasso and Bessant’s important text documents these developments and demonstrates the importance of remaining on our guard, distinguishing the warm rhetoric of youth participation from the cold realities of state - and non-state - intervention and control."

-Howard Williamson CBE CVO, Professor of European Youth Policy, University of South Wales, UK

"The events of 9/11 and other more recent attacks on humanity have had global impacts on not only the economic and political landscapes but also the ethos of society. Perpetuated by both real and perceived threats, societal policies and practices, including those about and for young people, have been driven largely by fear. Fear responses rarely lead to improved social progress and rather reinforce images of "radicalized" youth culture. This book aims to debunk and add alternative and progressive perspectives, to the response of young people as they broaden and deepen their political and civic engagement under the stronghold of restricted government policies of surveillance and criminalization. It is a narrative that must be told and there is no one better to tell it."

-Dana Fusco, Professor of Teaching Education, City University of New York, USA

"This book provides important insights into contemporary youth oriented groups involved in various kinds of political dissent. A particular strength is the rich breadth and depth of the cases which collectively provide timely insights into to how campaigners are mobilizing across the world- and how state institutions and other agents of power are responding."

-Dominic Wring, Professor of Political Communication, Loughborough University, UK

Table of Contents

Part I: Dissent and Democratic Practice

1. Governing Youth Politics in the Age of Surveillance

Judith Bessant and Maria Grasso

2. Theorising Student Protest, Liberalism and the Problem of Legitimacy

Rob Watts

Part II: Youthful Protest and Repressive Law

3. Panic Works: the ‘Gag Law’ and the Unruly Youth in Spain

Kerman Calvo and Martín Portos

4. Controlling Dissent through Security in Contemporary Spain

Laura María Fernández de Mosteyrín and Pedro Limón López

5. "Proxy Repression"? The Causes Behind the Change of Protest Control Repertoire by the Université Du Québec À Montréal during the 2015 Student Strike

Luc Chicoine

6. Governing, Monitoring and Regulating Youth Protest in Contemporary Britain

Sarah Pickard

Part III: Anti-Terror Legislation and the Youthful Other

7. Surveillance of Young Muslims and Counterterrorism in Kenya

Fathima Azmiya Badurdeen

8. On Becoming ‘Radicalised’: Pre-emptive Surveillance and Intervention to Save the Young Muslim in the UK

Vicki Coppock, Surinder Guru and Tony Stanley

9. Active Citizenship and Governmentality: The Politics and Resistance Of Young Muslims In The Security State

Anisa Mustafa

Part IV: Resisting and Creating New Public Spheres

10. What Future for Young People’s Artistic Activism?

Jane McDonnell

11. Effects of the Regime in Malaysia on Youth Political Participation

Norhafiza Mohd Hed

12. Russian Politics of Radicalisation and Surveillance

Anna Schwenck

13. Biocultural Metrics and the Moral Policing of Young People’s Politics in Contemporary India

Pramod K. Nayar

14. Surveillance and the Student: Government Policing of Young Women’s Politics

Paromita Sen

15. Electoral Engineering and Surveillance: British Young People and Politics

Matt Henn, Ben Oldfield and Judith Bessant

About the Editors

Maria T. Grasso is Professor at the Department of Politics, University of Sheffield, United Kingdom. She is the author of Generations, Political Participation and Social Change in Western Europe (2016) and co-editor of Austerity and Protest: Popular Contention in Times of Economic Crisis (2015). Her research focuses on political sociology and political engagement.

Judith Bessant is Professor at RMIT University, Melbourne, Australia. She is widely published with books in policy, sociology, politics, youth studies, media studies and history, and has worked as an advisor for governments and non-government organisations. In 2017, she became a Member of the Order of Australia for her significant service to education as a social scientist, advocate and academic specialising in youth studies research.

About the Series

The Criminalization of Political Dissent

This challenging new book series explores the way governments since 9/11 from across the political spectrum intensified their efforts to criminalize both traditional and new forms of digital political dissent. The series will features major contributions from the social sciences, law and legal studies, media studies and philosophy to document what happens when governments choose to regard activists campaigning for increased government transparency and accountability, environmental sustainability, social justice, human rights and pro-democracy as engaging in illegal activities.

The book series explores the legal, political and ethical implications when governments engage habitually in mass electronic and digital surveillance, outlaw freedom of movement real and virtual public assembly and prosecute digital activists. The books in this series are a ‘must read’ for anyone interested in the future of democracy.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General