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Since we began work on this volume in 2011, images of youth who are politically and civically engaged have populated news stories. Youth activists played key roles in the social movements that sparked and spread through Africa and the Middle East in the “Arab Spring” of 2011 and 2012. In Norway, politically engaged youth attending a summer camp run by the ruling Labour Party became the victims of a mass shooting in July of 2011. Students in Chile, Mexico City, and Quebec took to the streets in order to challenge the rising costs of education and to organize for improvements to their colleges and universities. Undocumented youth in the United States publicly shared their stories and lobbied for passage of the DREAM Act. And local newspapers throughout the United States continued to celebrate youth who were honored for their volunteer service with awards and scholarships.
Loretta E. Bass is an Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Oklahoma. She earned her PhD in Sociology from the University of Connecticut and completed a two-year appointment within the Fertility and Family Branch of the Population Division at the U.S. Census Bureau. Dr. Bass focuses her research on children and stratification issues, and has published her research in Population Research and Policy Review, Sociological Inquiry, Sociological Focus, Political Behavior, Anthropology of Work Review, International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, Sociological Studies of Children and Youth, Journal of Reproductive Medicine, Journal of Sociology and Social Work, International Journal of Sexual Health, and Current Sociology. Prior to becoming the Sociological Studies of Children and Youth Series Editor, she served as co-editor for two years and as a guest-editor for a special international volume in 2005. She has also published a book, Child Labor in Sub-Saharan Africa (Lynne Rienner Publishers, 2004), which offers a window on the lives of child workers in 43 African countries. She currently serves as Past-Chair of the American Sociological Association's (ASA) Children and Youth Section and as the President of Research Committee 53 on the Sociology of Childhood within the International Sociological Association (ISA).