Independent Research: Communication, youth, social change and…

Sooryamoorthy, R. (2011). Communication, youth, social change and… International Sociology Review of Books, 26(5), 604-612. Retrieved from http://iss.sagepub.com/content/26/5/604.abstract

This article presented a synthesis of a number of studies that focused on youth in varying countries and the ways in which they use communication tools such as the Internet and access to media in order to promote social change.  The studies varied in methodology, some researchers using interviews to acquire information, others gathered data by mining through message boards, some even offered workshops in order to obtain data. For example, researchers in Malawi used a series of workshops to learn about youth organizations fighting against HIV and AIDS. In a study of American youth, Felicia Wu Song observed 30 online communities, specifically focusing on “what happens to human beings at the deeper phenomenological level when their experiences are more and more mediated by technology; the assumptions people embraced about political activism and civic participation that make the technology such as internet a medium of political engagement; and the need to know better how the new technologies for communication and media increasingly restructure our everyday lives” (Sooryamoorthy, 2011, p. 605).  This study used three dimensions of the democratic process (dispositional, deliberative, and representational) to analyze the virtual communities and the process under which they operate. Another researcher, Jiwon Yoon, adopted methods of “participatory observation, analysis of blogs, content analysis of sample documentaries…and interviews” to investigate a group of immigrants from South Korea who were attempting to assimilate themselves into North Korean culture (Sooryamoorthy, 2011, p. 609).   These studies, along with a number of others served as the basis for a very brief discussion of evolving methods of communication in relation to youth, and social change.

While Sorryamoorthy a plethora of information, I found the reading to be somewhat confusing and lacking cohesion. The studies and articles that the author analyzed were incredibly different and aside from focusing on the same subject, failed to provide a sense of consistency. The studies were diverse in length, location, and methodology, among other variables. I do not mean to establish that all studies with many variables lack consistency, but the author failed to consider the connections in an effective manner. Additionally, as is made obvious in the previous discussion, not all studies examined included any discourse on the results, nor did all include a detailed methodology. I find it exceedingly difficult to hypothesize upon the relationships of communication, youth, and social change with the information presented. While it was not necessarily the authors intention to compare youth leading social change through communication, namely through internet and the media, it seemed to be an obvious theme. The author could have benefited greatly if he had assessed these themes in a different manner. Nevertheless, if this were the intention, a meta-analysis focusing on the results of the aforementioned studies would be more appropriate.

The subject matter in this article is incredibly interesting and could inspire a more in depth look into a younger generation serving as a catalyst for change. It would be beneficial to complete a longitudinal study that gives more than a brief glance at the state of youth involved in social change currently. This would provide a comprehensive look at the effectiveness of various methods that the world’s youth are using now and their subsequent results and/or consequences. Sorryamoorthy’s analysis offers several case studies that could serve as the subjects in this study. The revised method would also allow the author to discern how variables in different cultures effect the abilities and techniques of youth intending to revolutionize policies within their countries.

It is essential that professionals that intend to accomplish similar work realize the necessity of choosing subject matter appropriately. As stated previously, I felt that the article lacked consistency its discussion, bouncing around from study to study without truly connecting their respective themes. In order to keep the attention of our colleagues and the community we are attempting to reach, we must be sure that the information we present is relevant. In doing so, we also express ourselves as more capable researchers who truly understand the importance of looking at details, ranging from intricate aspects to more obvious qualities.

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