My review of Stuart Aitken’s book The Ethnopoetics of Space and Transformation: Young People’s Engagement, Activism and Aesthetics has been published in Emotion, Space and Society, linked here. (Contact me for the full text if you do not have access.) I cut-and-paste the first paragraph below.
Stuart Aitken’s The Ethnopoetics of Space and Transformation draws from and contributes to contemporary debates in the geography of children and young people to examine the how young people exercise political agency by relating to and producing space. The book comes at a time when geographers and other scholars of young people are renewing debates on the specificity of young people’s politics, and on how to theorize the political. This is evident, for example, in Space and Polity 17(1), a special issue on “Children and Young People’s Politics in Everyday Life.” The stated goal there, and in many other recent publications on these themes, is to achieve conceptual and theoretical consistency for geographical research on young people’s politics. Amidst these debates, Aitken’s recent book does not lead us towards consensus. But the book does convincingly demonstrate young people’s potential to intervene in how we collectively make sense the world, and how young people may productively introduce dissensus into everyday life. Aitken presents or reinterprets his three decades of research with young people, from his critique of adultist research on young people in the 1990s (e.g., Putting Children in Their Place) to his more recent methodological experimentation in the context of research on the geography of families and communities (e.g., The Awkward Spaces of Fathering). As a collage of writing, photographs, mental maps, and other forms of representation, this book stands an aesthetic intervention in geographies of young people that draws attention to young people’s less frequently recognized modes of political participation, and which pushes theoretical debates on solidarity, development, and citizenship that extend beyond the sub-disciplinary literature. […]