Second ISA Forum of Sociology, Buenos Aires, Argentina, 1-4 August 2012

Research Committee on
Sociology of Youth, RC34

  on-line programme

Main theme

Social justice and democratization


Programme Coordinators

James COTE, University of Western Ontario, Canada,
Ani WIERENGA, University of Melbourne, Australia,
Howard WILLIAMSON, University of Glamorgan, United Kingdom,

RC34 Liaison in Argentina
Pablo Vommaro, CLACSO,

Volunteer at the venue
M. Eugenia Almirón,


All Forum participants (presenters, chairs, discussants, etc.) need to pay the early registration fee by April 10, 2012, in order to be included in the programme. If not registered, their names will not appear in the Programme or Abstracts Book.


provisional as of March 15, 2012, in alphabetical order


Citizenship and in/exclusion

How do youth transition into categories of political and social adulthood? This panel explores how social processes act to include or exclude youth, and how youth shape, resist and experience transitions to adulthood. The category in question might be citizen, worker, and head of household. How do youth and young adults become enmeshed in a system of rights and duties conferred on members of a political body. What do youth do to perform and inhabit citizenship categories?

The processes of exclusion and inclusion form differently in diverse political and cultural contexts. In societies experiencing political transition, such as Eastern Europe or the “Arab Spring” countries present but a few examples. Within societies in transition to democratic traditions, young adults have been the catalyst demanding increased participation; the contours of class, race, familial status and other axes of social difference shape participation. At the same time, youth actively and creatively practice their participation, challenging and reforming previous categories.

In other transitions, such as to “head of household,” a traumatic event such as the death of a parent severely quickens the pace, creating difficult circumstances under which they assume adult categories. As “workers,” youth transitions to adulthood can be lengthened by the limited availability of jobs that enable self-sufficiency.

As they progress through educational systems that seek to produce citizens, curricula present youth with frameworks for performing citizenship, which students actively interpret and engage. As they reach majority age, youth also receive diverse messages about invitation to citizenship, which they accept or reject through various acts of participation, apathy, and resistance. Becoming a full citizen, the category that connects individuals with social and political incorporation, is a distinct transition for youth depending on social, temporal, and spatial location. This session will be in paper presentation format, although participants are warmly invited to present scholarship drawing from visual or participant action data.


Generations and intergenerational relationships in the global age

The notion of generational change has recently been used in the public sphere to understand such apparently diverse phenomena as the emergence of a wave of apparently selfish and narcissistic young people in the minority ‘Global North’ to the role of young people in shaping the democratic revolutions in North Africa and the Middle East. The concept of generations is also reemerging in academic work in the sociology of youth.

This session aims to bring the reflection on generations by focusing on its characteristics in the 21st century. In this way we envisage that the session will take up again the discussion on generations that took place in the symposium on the same theme at the 1st ISA Forum of Sociology in Barcelona in 2008. In the present case we propose that the analytic focus be on intergenerational relations, with particular attention to the theme of redistributive justice. The growth of a multigenerational society (multiple adult generations present simultaneously on the same social scene) poses as a pressing priority the definition of a new social pact between the generations. The fall in the birth-rate together with the growth in average life expectancy brings with it not just the ageing of the population but also new inequalities in terms of the division of public resources between the generations. Questions such as public debt, employment and the conservation of the natural environment for the generations to come appear from this point of view to be of vital strategic importance. Notwithstanding the objectively problematic nature of the relations between generations today, there nonetheless seems to be emerging a prevalence of forms of intergenerational solidarity as opposed to conflict. The session intends to examine the causes and conditions of this ‘intergenerational truce’ and to take into consideration the future prospects of relations between the generations in the context of contemporary globalisation.


Itinerary of research on youth studies in Argentina: Key analysis, perspectives and interdisciplinary views

The session examine the key analysis, the perspectives and interdisciplinary views with which social science recently analyzed in Argentina the social processes that affected the youth as well as the transformation of cultural practices improved by young people in the new scenario. The session aims to promote a reflection on how it changed through the years what was understood as youth as “youth” and what is meant by "justice" and "democracy" from the visibility gained by new agenda items. This will be one of the axes that weaves proposed presentations: how categories, approaches and the interpretation of events around youth have been co-produced in recent decades and how these approaches can talk with readings about phenomena occur in other socio-political contexts.

This session is an opportunity to present different perspectives in the field of youth studies. The papers deal with topics concerning the predominant critical appraisals of youth political participation, the linkages among gender, sexuality and age, and the configuration of the field, trying to systematize the trajectories of youth studies performed in Argentina from 1960 to the present. The “youth question” will also be discussed as an academic and societal preoccupation in the light of the aforementioned processes.


Juvenile violence, policing and access to justice

In the past decade, the world trend of youth homicidal violence has increased sharply, especially among those aged 15-25. This trend has been accompanied by an increased use of guns as the method of attack. According to the World Health Organization, in 2000 199,000 youth homicides occurred globally (9.2 per 100,000 populations. WHO, 2002, p. 25). The region with the highest homicide rate is Latin America (36.4). Nowadays many countries face threats of new types of violence, including violence exerted by gangs, by paramilitary groups, the new narcotics trafficking violent strategies, and the increase in homicide trends at massive levels, that are fed by other violence-related events such as interpersonal, intra-family or by organized crime. Both old and new types of violence have been linked to, though not necessarily generated by or against the youth. There is a marked preponderance of male over female homicide victims, but we must not underscore the importance of female violence.

Most nations in the developing World are young countries were average of 1/5 of its population is between ages 15-24. A large proportion of this population has suffered or will encounter a major eroding episode of violence throughout its life.

Despite efforts to solve these problems, still there is need for feasible, acceptable public policies that can reduce or eliminate violence and crime particularly those committed by the Youth. Another crucial one is building a system that will provide fair access to justice for all sectors of population.

This session invites presentations in several juvenile topics, including:
  1. Comparative studies of juvenile violence.
  2. Studies on policing, with special attention to police profiling the youth.
  3. Access to Justice.
  4. Theoretical-comparative discussions about juvenile crime.
  5. Juvenile crime prevention.


Keywords in youth studies

We borrow the idea of “keywords” both from Raymond Williams’ (1976) classic Keywords: A Vocabulary of Culture and Society and Bruce Burgett and Glenn Hendler’s (2007) Keywords for American Cultural Studies. A keyword is neither a dictionary nor a glossary but, according to Williams, a “record of an inquiry into a vocabulary,” which emphasizes the ways in which meanings are made and altered over time through contestations among diverse social groups or constituencies of youth studies. A focus on keywords creates a method of mapping the presence and transformations of words, ideas, practices, and institutions in youth studies.

This session’s keyword presentations will address the following questions: Where does the term come from? What have been its uses and meanings over time? What effects have those uses produced? What knowledge or ways of thinking has it enabled? What has it obfuscated? What might be some alternatives? The session seeks to suggest the effects of the institutionalization of particular concepts in youth studies and the ways in which alternative formulations can offer alternative approaches to understanding the lives of youth.


Mass higher education, employment opportunities, and youth

In the era of globalization, most of the countries have introduced structural changes in their higher education policies. There is shift in the focus of higher education. The concept of mass higher education was introduced and the emphasis was on the mass enrolment in higher education sector. Both vocational and non-vocational areas of studies have introduced new courses. In this transitional phase of higher education young people face many new challenges. Their absorption in the local, national and international job market is one of the important issues. The linkages between the existing labour market and the credentials produced by higher educational institutions in the phase of mass higher education are a subject to be examined.

This session is open for the discussion and debate on the phenomenon of mass higher education from a social-justice perspective, examining the challenges facing young graduates, transitions in higher education, and youth employment/ unemployment/ underemployment.


New alliances among the young: Political action, citizenship, and engagement


Open session on the Forum theme: Social justice and democratization


Priorities in youth studies in the BRICS countries: Changes and challenges for the future

In this session we shall discuss questions raised for youth research by the fact that youth in Brazil, Russia, India and China, (the original economically based definition given to the BRIC countries has been recently extended politically when South Africa was invited to become a member of the renamed `BRICS`), have experienced lives of rapid change, transformations in political power and increasing cultural globalisation. The timing of industrialisation, urbanisation, educational and individuation processes vary from one country to another, and also between the regions of each of these huge countries, factors which complicate the production of generalisations. China and Russia experienced historically unparalleled transformations over the last few decades as they moved from communist to post-communist economies, while Brazilian youth had earlier experienced regime change from dictatorship to democracy.

The participants of this session have been responsible for supervising the production of country reviews of the sociology of youth, observing where the field of youth studies exhibited certain priorities, continuities and ruptures. These reviews examine the ‘state of the art’ in eight areas of youth research:
  1. History of concepts and theoretical and methodological assumptions into research on youth;
  2. Demographic characteristics of youth;
  3. Identity and generation;
  4. Consumption and leisure;
  5. Family, Marriage and Sexuality;
  6. The State and political values;
  7. Education and employment;
  8. Internet participation and communication.
An overview of changing priorities over time will be provided in sociological terms that will indicate movements that lay undetected and/or not researched. Particular emphasis will be paid to the question of how the themes of the Buenos Aires ISA Forum, ‘social justice and democratisation’, have been represented over time. Finally possible future concerns and challenges for youth research will be discussed.


RC34 Business Meeting


RC34 Sociology of Youth Round Table Session 2: Youth identity construction: Between individualization and collective experiences of belongingness and resistance

RC34 Sociology of Youth Round Table Session 1: Youth and work in a globalized world

RC34 Sociology of Youth Round Table Session 2: Youth identity construction: Between individualization and collective experiences of belongingness and resistance

RC34 Sociology of Youth Round Table Session 1: Youth and work in a globalized world

RC34 Sociology of Youth Round Table Session 2: Youth identity construction: Between individualization and collective experiences of belongingness and resistance

Special session on the Forum theme: Are the available youth sociology discourses adequate to capture the biggest questions of our time? Where are we going, what are we missing?


Working with, for, and through young people: Community, public care and custody


Young people as actors of development in transitional countries: Ethnic majority and minority youth

This session focuses on youth as a subject of action in transitional countries. The objective of the session is to discuss different types of youth participation and the impact of that participation on social and political processes. Political participation is based on identification with the country, location, or region, and can be regarded as practice of identification. Therefore we will also debate processes of identification of young people in transitional countries. Since many transitional countries’ populations consist of large ethnic “minority” groups, we will consider ethnic majority as well as ethnic minority youth.

Participation of youth and democratic participation processes can differ from the traditional Western type of participation. In some transitional countries (such as some parts of Eastern and Central Europe) youth participation is rather low and, escaping from any organized form of participation, youth is often disengaged from the political processes and rarely develop the sense of citizenship, which is essential for building an inclusive, participatory democracy. In other countries (like at the moment in North Africa and the Middle East) youth movements are widespread. The main emphasis is put on the one hand on identification processes that are linked to political participation and on the other hand on problems of social justice and democracy in the participation of (ethnic majority as well as ethnic minority) youth in transitional countries.


Youth cultures and new social movements in the context of the digital revolution

Technological developments have enabled new forms of participation in international communities as well as the rapid exchange of ideas and cultural products. The lives of many young people are being reconfigured by the microchip and new digital technologies. Social networking and mobile communications offer new possibilities for sociality and community. New cultural trends and (political) worldviews are often global in reach, spreading quickly to different locations while also developing unique local characteristics in different places. Yet technological advances also have a more sinister side for young people; technologies like security cameras and I.D. scanners are eroding or reshaping the existing collective meeting places of youth.

The session will investigate the formation of different global subcultural and/or culturally political formations within different locations and the role of technology in these formations. Papers that explore one or both of these themes will be considered. One focus is on the role of these formations in different societies – the changes that international subcultures and new social movements undergo when taken up in new societies and meanings that young people can attach to their participation in global subcultures and new social movements. A second focus is the impact of the digital revolution on youth cultural formations and young people’s relationships.


Youth cultures from a cosmopolitan perspective

A large body of cross-disciplinary research in the last few decades has focused on the development and impacts of a global society, and more recently on the cosmopolitan consequences of such changes. Notably, however, there is a lack of knowledge and understanding of the emergence of transnational shared practices, values, norms, behaviors, cultures and patterns amongst young people. This session focuses on adolescence and youth from a cosmopolitan perspective. Within sociology the idea of cosmopolitanism has re-emerged in the last two decades as a major focus for debates about social change, globalization, and cultural differences. It also represents a significant theme in questions of public policy and political ethics suited to the challenges of a global society. The cosmopolitan challenge within sociology seeks to explore the ethical, political and cultural implications of the radical relationality and decentring increasingly institutionalized by global society. At its core, the session urges us to consider whether we are witnessing the globalisation or the localisation of the condition of youth. Furthermore, it considers how youth experience in this context should be contextualised within the dynamics of contemporary theories of cosmopolitanism.

Part of the social scientific challenge of such an idea is findings its articulation at the level of the ‘really existing’ layer of everyday life. This session is consistent with the perspectives of the emerging cosmopolitan awareness and practices that are derivative of globalised world, in which nations are no longer the only units of analysis. We suppose that youth cultures are not confined to nation-states, even if comparative works confirm the widely accepted thesis that national contexts still impact considerably on juvenile conditions. We endeavor to address how and in what ways young people are both the product and agents of this developing global frame of reference, and in turn ask what this means for rethinking aspects of both cosmopolitan theory and youth studies. Possible topics for consideration include: local and global belongings of young people; young people and cultural plurality; globalization and young people’s futures; effects of risks and uncertainties associated with globalization; attitudes toward global politics, economy and environment; learning about global issues; young people and mobilities; the reception of global popular cultures.




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International Sociological Association
November 2012