Centre for Political Youth Culture And Communication

The Centre for Political Youth Culture and Communication (CPAC) is dedicated to exploring the socio-cultural factors influencing the civic engagement of young people and its means of communicative expression. Young networking citizens in many parts of the world today play a crucial role in shaping the future prospects for democratic societies. The styles, nature and means of their political engagement is therefore of increasing importance to policy-makers and academics alike. Our research is focused upon the communicative, emotional, embodied, and aesthetical modes of youth citizenship. We examine the social construction of the political identities of young people within the context of widening social inequality, climate change, reflexive individualism and a networked media ecology.


About Us

CPAC is interested in a whole range of questions about young people's political cultures and forms of political communication:‌

  • How do young citizens understand and practice politics?
  • How do young people become political agents?
  • In what ways are forms of political culture changing?
  • How are young citizens using social media and user generated content for political ends?
  • What kinds of political cultures do university campuses promote and what role do these play in young people's political socialisation?

The Centre is affiliated to The Worldwide Universities Network Study group on Networking Young Citizens – http://www.wun.ac.uk/wun/research/view/networking-young-citizens

Current Activity

Nisha Kapoor was recently interviewed about her work on citizenship deprivation in the context of the war on terror. You can find further information about Nisha's current research by following this link - https://www.york.ac.uk/sociology/research/current-research/kapoor-esrc/

Brian Loader recently participated in The Speaker's Commission on Digital Democracy. For further information see -  http://www.parliament.uk/business/commons/the-speaker/speakers-commission-on-digital-democracy/ddc-news/engagement-meeting/

Brian is currently working on a comparative study involving research in Australia, the UK and USA - The Civic Network: A comparative study of the use of social media for enhancing young people's civic engagement

Nathan Manning has recently (2015) edited a book which explores Political (Dis)engagement: The Changing Nature of the 'Political' CPAC is home to the international journal Information, Communication & Society Brian Loader recently (2014) co-edited a book with Ariadne Vromen and Michael Xenos on The Networked Young Citizen


Brian Loader and Ian Davies along with other academics met with young citizens and Karen Buck MP at The House of Commons to discuss recent research and potential policy developments. Brian Loader and Ian Davies co-organised the International Communication Association's Preconference on The Political Communication of Young Citizens through Social Media at the LSE in London, June 2013. Pictured (left to right): Susan Mellor, Alex Segerberg, Lance Armstrong, Ian Davies, Kjerstin Thorson, Chris Wells, Michael Xenos, Stephen Coleman and Brian Loader.

Brian Loader and Nathan Manning were involved in 'Young Futures', an initiative in Hartlepool aimed at encouraging young people to express their needs and opinions of local health services through art.


We acknowledge the creators of the images used in the CPAC banner:



Associate Members:


A selection of recent publications.



PhD Research

PhD Research

We welcome applications form prospective postgrad students both from the UK and around the world who wish to study some aspect of political youth culture and communication. Information on our PhD programmes is online on these web pages

Please send an outline of your research proposal by email to either: Nisha Kapoor, Brian Loader or Nathan Manning.




‘During my time as a postgraduate researcher at York I was able to apply my transferable skills and engage with leading international scholars by organizing an international conference on digital democracy’.

- Dr Dan Mercer, City University London.

Holly Steel

'My research has been greatly enriched by my time here in York, where I have been offered a range of opportunities to develop my work beyond the bounds of a written thesis. I have been able to run a conference and act as guest editor for a special issue, as well as teach undergraduate students. These opportunities are enlivened by a vibrant academic community.'

- Ms Holly Steel, PhD candidate.


'Coming to York as an international student, I had many expectations, uncertainties and even fears. It did not take me too long to realize that I made the right choice. At York, I learned how to be independent while getting all the academic and personal support I needed. The University of York provides all the facilities a student might need; a highly-equipped library, psychological and financial care, and, above all, professional academic guidance.

Being a York graduate, I could build and maintain long-term professional relationships that help me enhance my competences. While doing my research, I worked as a research consultant with the BBC and the Open University. Soon after I got my PhD, I was awarded an associateship at one of the most prestigious universities in the US, Mount Holyoke College, Massachusetts. Currently, I am a researcher in a research project that is led by the University of York and the American University in Cairo.

If you aspire for a unique education and learning experience, the University of York is definitely your best choice.'

- Dr Nermeen Kaseem Hanafy.

Some of our current and past PhD students include:

  • Dr Dan Mercea, PhD Communication Studies (2012) Title: Communicating Offline Protests Online: Mapping Changes in Mobilization, Identity-Building and Organization.
  • Holly Steel - PhD Sociology (current candidate) Title: Content curation in conflict coverage by news organisations and alternative media producers.
  • Dr Nermeen Kaseem Hanafy, PhD Communication Studies (2013) Title: Young Egyptian Activists’ Perceptions Of The Potential Of Social Media For Mobilisation.


Contact Us

Twitter: follow us - @PoliticalYouth2              

Facebook: join our Facebook group - https://www.facebook.com/groups/1503505606622951/


Telephone: +44 (0)1904 323041


Department of Sociology
Wentworth College
University of York


2017 Events

Call for Papers
Digital Media, Political Polarization and Challenges to Democracy

Organized by
Institute for Comparative Media and Communication Studies, Austrian Academy of Sciences, Alpen-Adria University of Klagenfurt
Centre for Political Youth Culture and Communication, Department of Sociology, University of York

21-22 September 2017 - Austrian Academy of Sciences, Vienna

Public Lecture
W. Lance Bennett, Department of Political Science, University of Washington
21 September 2017, 18:00
ORF – The Austrian Broadcasting Corporation

Keynote Speakers
Michael X. Delli-Carpini, Annenberg School of Communication, University of Pennsylvania
Jörg Matthes, Department of Communication, University of Vienna
Barbara Pfetsch, Institute for Media and Communication Studies, Free University of Berlin

Call for Papers

The forms of communication through which politics is conducted by states and citizens have been, and will continue to be, subject to a constant process of change, which is accelerated by technological innovations. With the rapid rise of digital media, this development has reached a new level. For centuries, processes of political communication used to be primarily linear, with messages transferred from politicians, governments and parties to the media and from the media to the citizens at large. The question here is to what extent and with which societal and political consequences digital media disrupt this linear form.

This question is fueled by growing political distrust, confusion, and conflict throughout the Western world, which seem to shake the democratic system to its foundations. Even those who would not go as far as Colin Crouch when he speaks of the dawning of a “post-democratic” age cannot deny that in many European countries as well as in the United States there is growing criticism of the form of democracy that has emerged in the majority of constitutions and of its leading institutions and methods of procedure. Among young people, turnout at elections is below average for the population as a whole, and it continues to fall. Traditional loyalties are getting weaker, and party membership is in steady decline. Trust in democratic organizations and regulatory mechanisms is on the wane. While traditional center-left and center-right parties are losing ground and are thus struggling for a clear profile, new nationalist movements on the one side, and anti-austerity protests on the other, are emerging. Political polarization becomes a defining feature of society and politics.

The Viennese conference wants to shed light on these developments by exploring the changes to politics triggered, or at least accelerated, by changing media structures and media habits on the one hand, and on the other hand by discussing the challenges to democracy brought about by those changes, as well as the role media might play in responding to these challenges. Thus, the symposium aims at discussing not only the causes and Digital Media, Political Polarization and Challenges to Democracy: An International Symposium Vienna, 21-22 September 2017 developments that led to the current state of society, but also proposals for citizens, journalists, media organizations, and politicians for how to manage the current move away from the established structures of representative democracy - with their group-based identities and mainstream issues - towards a wider repertoire of personalized political experience and individually motivated concerns in a digitally networked society.

Submission and selection of papers. The call is open to all social sciences. The conference would like to bring together researchers from different backgrounds, including theoretically, methodologically, and practically oriented researchers. Submissions are for 20-minute presentations. The extended abstract may not be longer than 8,000 characters (including spaces). Please add a title page to the abstract containing the name(s) and address(es) of the author(s) and the title of the presentation. Please send your proposal to cmc@oeaw.ac.at no later than 7 April 2017 (as a PDF). All submissions will undergo blind peer review and acceptance notifications will be sent out on 28 April 2017.

Conference attendance. The conference is open both to presenters and non-presenters, but authors of accepted abstracts are expected to attend the conference and present their work. The conference dinner is scheduled for Friday evening. The participation fee (including welcome reception, lunches, coffee breaks and conference dinner) is EUR 100 / GBP 90 / USD 110. Registration opens on 28 April 2017. Please register at www.oeaw.ac.at/cmc/digital-media.

Conference organizers
Maren Beaufort, Austrian Academy of Sciences
Brian D. Loader, University of York
Josef Seethaler, Austrian Academy of Sciences
Admin: Ingrid Serini, cmc@oeaw.ac.at

See for more information: http://www.oeaw.ac.at/cmc/digital-media


Deport Deprive Extradite: state extremism and expulsion

Speakers include Arun Kundnani, Rafia Zakaria, Gargi Bhattacharyya, Luke De Noronha, Arzu Merali and Nisha Kapoor

Event is free but registration is required: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/deport-deprive-extradite-state-extremism-and-expulsion-tickets-31829307315

In the spiralling forms of state-led violence that mark the current moment we are witnessing the intensification of powers to expel people in various ways. We see this through the expansion and routinisation of deportation programmes, through the investments in modes of incarceration and through the retraction and deprivation of citizenships. The legitimation and enhancement of such forms of state violence pivot around the construction of unruly and threatening subjects; racialized bodies that in the context of the War on Terror are fronted through politicized representations of Muslims, blacks, refugees and immigrants as terrorist suspects.

It is arguably in these most extreme cases - of those identified and surveilled as terrorist suspects and foreign criminals - that we see most clearly how state powers are being enhanced. In this workshop we aim to explore and unpack the stories of those who are criminalised and dehumanised through the War on Terror, reflect on the implications of this, consider the processes and techniques that the state is using to expel undesired subjects and what they indicate about the nature of the security state in the current moment.

Website: www.dde.org.uk




Call for Papers
Contemporary Political Youth Culture and Communication
A two-day Symposium
University of York, UK
18-19 July 2016

Marking the launch of the Centre for Political Youth Culture and Communication (CPAC) this two-day international symposium explores the socio-cultural factors influencing the civic engagement of young people and its means of communicative expression. Young networking citizens in many parts of the world today play a crucial role in shaping the future prospects for democratic societies. The styles, nature and means of their political engagement is therefore of increasing importance to policy-makers and academics alike. This event is focused upon the communicative, emotional, embodied, and aesthetical modes of youth citizenship. It examines the social construction of the political identities of young people within the context of widening social inequality, climate change, reflexive individualism and a networked social media ecology.  We welcome papers drawing upon research and theory that address questions of contemporary political youth culture including, but not limited to, such topics as: 

Citizenship norms Political talk Social networking
Precarious employment Celebrity politics Personalisation
Identity politics Social movement protest Community politics
Political socialisation Civic education Political education
Transnational politics Populist parties  Youth campaigns 
Migration politics Electoral engagement  


Keynote Speakers
Prof. Henrik Bang, University of Copenhagen and Canberra University
Prof. Lance Bennett, University of Washington
Prof. Donatella della Porta, European University Institute, Florence


Conference organisers:
Brian D. Loader, University of York, brian.loader@york.ac.uk
Nathan Manning, University of York, nathan.manning@york.ac.uk
Nisha Kapoor, University of York, nisha.kapoor@york.ac.uk

Admin: Sarah Shrive-Morrison, sarah.shrive-morrison@york.ac.uk 

CPAC Poster (PDF  , 1,021kb)

Key Dates
Please submit title, abstract and brief biography for consideration to brian.loader@york.ac.uk
by Monday 7 March 2016
Notification of decision - Monday 14 March, 2016

Registration for the conference

Final CPAC Programme (PDF  , 723kb)


(free) Public Lecture Monday 18 July 2016 18:00-20:00 (Bowland Auditorium - BS/005)
CPAC Public Lecture (PDF  , 730kb)

Powered by Eventbrite