This chapter offers an introduction to the diverse field of youth media production and practice. To do so, it begins with a consideration of the “crisis of voice,” identified by Nick Couldry in his book Why Voice Matters: Culture and Politics after Neoliberalism (2010). In relation to this crisis and to the systematic silencing of young adults from low-income communities and from communities of color, media making is explored as a field of practice within which young people gain access to critical resources for raising their voices. The chapter brings these issues into focus through an ethnographic study of a youth media program for economically and racially diverse adolescents in Allentown, Pennsylvania.
In his book Why Voice Matters: Culture and Politics after Neoliberalism, Nick Couldry (2010) begins his bold project – that is, the project of naming a “crisis of voice” – from Paul Ricoeur's claim that “we have no idea what a culture would be where no one any longer knew what it meant to narrate things” (1984, p. 28). The contemporary crisis of voice documented by Couldry has its genesis in the global ascent of neoliberalism in the 1980s and has by now insinuated itself into all domains of the social world, so we can discern it in the realms of politics, economics, and culture.
Treating people as if they lack [the] capacity [to narrate their lives] is to treat them as if they were not ...