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Title: "It made our eyes get bigger" : youth filmmaking and citizenship in London
Author: Blum-Ross, Alicia Lorna
ISNI:       0000 0004 2707 1220
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2011
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This thesis explores the ways in which discourses of citizenship are circulated and incorporated into the practice of non-formal educational filmmaking initiatives for young people in London. I utilise an ethnographic approach focusing on young participants, adult facilitators and funders to demonstrate how youth filmmaking facilitates an exploration of abstract conceptions of citizenship with the on-the-ground reality of young peoples’ “practice” as citizens. To provide context for this material, I present both a theoretical overview of the heady yet labile term “citizenship” and a historical narrative of youth filmmaking, particularly in its relationship to wider political economies of funding and youth policy. Although discourses of citizenship in youth filmmaking have changed subtly over time, the youth filmmaking programmes considered here marshal three central conceptions of citizenship; “engagement,” “empowerment” and “belonging.” To explore each of these notions, I draw on case studies to show how these citizenship discourses become operationalised. First, I consider the Reelhood project for young Muslims, which aimed at encouraging “political engagement.” I demonstrate how young people challenge notions of “disengagement” and operate as “justice-oriented” citizens, in contradistinction to the premise of the funding source itself. Second, I use the example of the This is My Story project, amongst other films that dealt with youth violence, to explore discourses of “empowerment.” Using the metaphor of the “shot/reverse shot” sequence, I demonstrate how youth filmmaking projects situate themselves as an alternative to the representation of young people in mainstream press. Finally, I describe the River Lea project in which the sensory and technological processes of filmmaking became a means for young people to “focus in” and attune their sensory and perceptive faculties to the experience of “place-making.” Each of these case studies exhibits how the creative, social and technical processes of filmmaking provide a challenge to or re-interpretation of citizenship discourse.
Supervisor: Banks, Marcus Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Social anthropology ; Visual and material anthropology ; Anthropology of policy ; Visual anthropology ; anthropology ; education ; film ; youth ; media studies ; visual culture ; gangs ; citizenship ; participation