The malleability of youth

Youth is often conceptualized as a transitional period from the dependence of childhood to the independence of adulthood, which corresponds to the age of 15-24. The United Nations, for example, frames youth within this age range.

The positive youth development movement, now so strong throughout the world, is preoccupied with providing the conditions and resources that youth need to transition successfully from childhood to adulthood during this period.

A critical youth studies perspective offers a different point of view, and argues that youth itself, and the temporality of youth, is actively constructed and managed given social, political, and economic needs.

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You are on your own kid.

I was excited to see the British Journal of Sociology of Education publish a review symposium of Youth Rising? The Politics of Youth in the Global Economy by Mayssoun Sukarieh and Stuart Tannock nearly two years after it was first published. Three scholars have reviewed the book in the latest issue: Laura Harvey, Steve Roberts, and Jo-Anne Dillabough.

As someone relatively new to youth studies scholarship, I suspected when I read it a few months ago that Youth Rising? could be an important contribution to the field. The analysis is penetrating and historical evidence convincing, and the scope and aims of the book are timely and spot on.

I am not going to review the book here, but I do want to provide some brief commentary on the basic premise of the book and why I think it is important, particularly for youth and youth workers in this age of youth empowerment and positive youth development.

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Youth in Creative Cities: An IPRH Research Cluster

Please consider joining my research cluster this year. Info about the research cluster will be updated here: https://youthincreativecities.wordpress.com.

In this IPRH Research Cluster, we will investigate youth’s cultural production in relation to globalized urbanization. We will consider the interconnectedness of youth, the political economy of cities (i.e., global cities, creative cities, ecocities, etc.), and new articulations of race, gender, and class. As an Imagining America research cluster, we will discuss how our research cluster can advance faculty and graduate students’ efforts in engaging youth in public practices in the arts and humanities through their research and curricula.

      This research cluster will include three components:

      • Monthly reading Group
      • Invited speakers
      • Planned field trip

Each are described in greater detail below.

To join the research cluster, please join our listserv so that we can communicate with you directly. If you have questions, please contact Tyler Denmead at tdenmead (at) illinois.edu. Suggestions/comments are welcome.

Reading group

Faculty, graduate, and undergraduate students are invited to participate in a reading group. We will discuss a new book on the second Friday of each month at a location to be determined:

October 9, 2015 | Friday | 4:00-6:00

Sukarieh, M. & Tannock, S. (2014). Youth Rising? The Politics of Youth in the Global Economy (Routledge).

November 13, 2015 | Friday | 4:00-6:00

Lipman, P. (2011). The New Political Economy of Urban Education: Neoliberalism, Race, and The Right to the City (Routledge).

December 11, 2015 | Friday | 4:00-6:00

Warikoo, N. (2011). Balancing Acts: Youth Culture in the Global City (University of California Press)

February 12, 2016  | Friday | 4:00-6:00

Dillabough, J. & Kennelly, J. (2010). Lost Youth in the Global City: Class, Culture, and the Urban Imaginary (Routledge)

March 11, 2016 | Friday | 4:00-6:00

Kwan, S.A. (2013). Uncivil Youth: Race, Activism and Affirmative Governmentality (Duke University Press).

April 8, 2016 | Friday | 4:00-6:00

Brown, R-N. (2013). Hear Our Truths: The Creative Potential of Black Girlhood (University of Illinois Press).

May 13, 2016 | Friday | 4:00-6:00

Cox, A.M. (2015). Shapeshifters: Black Girls and the Choreography of Citizenship (Duke University Press).

*Our reading list may change based on the release of new and relevant titles.

Public talk(s)

As a group, we will also identify speaker(s) to bring to campus who will help us expand the conversation on campus about public practices in the arts and humanities with youth.

Field trip

As a group, we will also plan a field trip to a nearby Imagining America affiliate that is engaging youth in public practices in the arts and humanities.