ISA World Congress of Sociology, Yokohama, Japan, July 2014

Research Committee on
Sociology of Youth, RC34

RC34 main page

Program Coordinators

Number of allocated sessions including Business Meeting: 22.

The RC34 Programme Committee is seeking papers that address the following themes, particularly those that fit into the proposed sessions, but not limited to those sessions. All sessions will be held in English. Special arrangements can be made for French and Spanish presentations, to be negotiated with the organiser or chair of the specific session.


Planned sessions and dates/time subject to further changes

in alphabetical order:


Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 10:30 AM - 12:20 PM

Building a Transnational Sense of Justice among Youth in a Globalized World

Session Organizers
Vincenzo CICCHELLI, Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, France,
Nicole GALLANT, Observatoire Jeunes et Société, Canada,
Sarah PICKARD, Université Sorbonne Nouvelle, France,
Ian WOODWARD, Griffith University, Australia,

Session in English

This session invites papers that shed light on the processes through which young people today develop a sense of global social justice. Undoubtedly, the world continues to globalize and boundaries of social interaction are redrawn as networks of objects, people and ideas are mobile in many types of ways. This has made national borders increasingly porous, and allowed certain events to take on a global rather than local meaning. The first wave of globalization theory establishes this set of changes, and more recently exploration of cosmopolitan possibilities have encouraged researchers to investigate the changes in ethical and moral perspectives this sweeping globalization may cause. Such changes are not assured, however, as local reactions and contexts mean these global changes are understood differently.

In addition, various local events mean a shutting-down of the hospitalities and openness associated with forms of global mobilities related to processes of exclusion and othering. Finally, theories of the global and associated social changes are remarkably – and problematically – free of complexities introduced by matters of age. This leads us to ask an important set of questions about matters of a cosmopolitan sense of justice and ethics amongst youth in this global context.

Specifically, we are looking for a variety of empirical work regarding learning, context, values, role models and interaction factors, which may or may not lead youth to develop a sense of global justice. Has globalization changed the sense and the meaning of inequalities? What kinds of transnational injustices are pointed out? What kinds of young people become aware of the unequal world in which they live? What factors influence them, e.g. country of residence, contact with culture, travel experience, level of studies, peers, socio-economic class, gender, etc.? How do they learn about global inequalities? What kinds of discourses on global justice do they have, and how are these related to other similar discourses, such as the Human Rights repertoire, Indigenous rights narratives, national or cultural values, popular culture, transnational youth cultures, classic humanism, alternative and new social movement activism, etc. What types of actions do young people undertake to attempt to reduce inequalities? Is there among young people a claim for a supranational regulation of justice? How can we understand the ways in which transnational solidarities are imagined and shaped? Are these processes any different from those of previous generations of youth and from those among adults?


Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 03:30 PM - 05:20 PM

Chronotopes of Youth: Spaces and Times of Youth Cultures in the Global City

Session Organizers
Carles FEIXA, University of Lleida, Spain,
Carmen LECCARDI, University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy,
Pam NILAN, University of Newcastle, Australia,

Session in English

Not open for submission of abstracts.
This is a session by invitation that will focus on the concept of “youth chronotopes”, that is, the time/space dimension of social practices by young people in the global city. This innovative approach to understanding contemporary youth cultures retains the emphasis on trying to see the world through the eyes of young people themselves, but pays far more attention to the space and time in which their practices are located. Not only do the contributors came from countries across the world, and report on very diverse youth culture phenomena, but they represent a mixture of established researchers and new voices in youth research.


Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 03:30 PM - 05:20 PM

Faces of Uncertain Transitions to Adulthood across Cultures. Part I: Strategies

Session Organizers
Christoph H. SCHWARZ, Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences, Germany,
Lutz EICHLER, Erlangen-Nuremberg University, Germany,

Session in English

Nowadays, for youths in many regions of the world, it seems to become more and more difficult to reach the status of an independent adult. The reasons are manifold, and they depend on the regional context. Accordingly, the many concepts which describe and analyze this phenomenon vary to a great degree. In Arab countries this phenomenon is currently discussed as “waithood”. This stalled transition to adulthood describes a particular form of social exclusion of the younger generation, which was an important motive for the uprisings of 2011. In the Arab context, the difficulty to integrate young adults into society might last but not least be related to the particular demographic development, because people under the age of 30 represent the majority of the population. Nevertheless, in Europe, where demographic development is contrary but youth unemployment rates are soaring in many regions, the concept of “waithood” seems equally fitting, as young adults remain dependent on their parents and their life plans are impeded.

In other regional contexts, the transition to adulthood is uncertain because of tendencies for social (self-)isolation of youths, as has been observed in Japan in the 90s and later in Taiwan, South Korea, China, Singapore and Hong Kong. In Japan, the most known example is that of hikikomori: youths and young adults who completely refuse to leave their parents’ house. In contrast to the phenomenon of “waithood” in Arab countries, “hikikomori” are a largely invisible phenomenon which is discussed as a reaction to the excessive demands on individuals in the particular phase of transition to adulthood in Japanese society.

In this session we invite researchers to present their findings on uncertain transitions to adulthood in a variety of regions, in order to discuss the phenomenon from a cross-cultural perspective. We would like to debate the results of qualitative and quantitative empirical research, but also focus on the theoretical concepts used in the analysis. Which aspects of the issue do they highlight (political, social, economic, personal aspects)? Are they useful in other cultural contexts as well, or in how far can they be used to sharpen neglected aspects of prevalent concepts in other used regions?


Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 03:30 PM - 05:20 PM

Faces of Uncertain Transitions to Adulthood across Cultures. Part II: Problems

Session Organizers
Christoph H. SCHWARZ, Frankfurt University of Applied Sciences, Germany,
Lutz EICHLER, Erlangen-Nuremberg University, Germany,


Saturday, July 19, 2014: 02:30 PM - 04:20 PM

Inequalities in Contemporary Asia: Opportunities and Challenges for Youth Studies

Session Organizers
Steven Sek-yum NGAI, Chinese University of Hong Kong, China,
Ngan-pun NGAI, Chinese University of Hong Kong, China,

Session in English

During the recent decades, much of youth research in Asian societies has sought to understand the transformation of the younger generation and their social environment under trends of globalization, deindustrialization and economic insecurity. The epochal event of the global financial crisis, along with longer-term trends in Asian societies, such as rising unemployment, income disparity, gender inequality, and migration issues, are in the process of creating new structural relations between young people and related social actors.

This session provides a platform for academic colleagues to exchange views on new youth issues and emerging policy and practice responses pertaining to inequalities in contemporary Asia. We seek papers that broadly engage the following themes, and welcome contributions on other related topics:


Monday, July 14, 2014: 10:30 AM - 12:20 PM

Japanese Youth Studies

Session Organizers
Tomohiko ASANO, Tokyo Gakugei University, Japan,
Ichiyo HABUCHI, Hirosaki University, Japan,

Session in English

In the period following the late 1970s, Japanese youth were described in a homogeneous manner. One of leading youth researchers, Shinji Miyadai, wrote that in 1980s that youth were following "the code of consumer society," which had nothing to do with any socio-economic inequality. Youth should be studied, he said, just in terms of consumption style. After the collapse of "Bubble economy" in the early 1990s, however, youth researchers found socio-economic inequality among youth to be widening. Among them, Yuki Honda, another leading youth sociologist, emphasized "communication skills" as an important factor for a reproduction of inequality. Today, many Japanese sociologists focus on inequality and differences among youth. Some even doubt there is "youth" as an identifiable object of study.

This session examines how the youth period is conceptualized in Japan today.


Friday, July 18, 2014: 08:30 AM - 10:20 AM

Methodological and Theoretical Advances in a Global Youth Sociology

Session Organizer
Ani WIERENGA, University of Melbourne, Australia,


Monday, July 14, 2014: 5:30 PM - 7:20 PM

Presidential Session I. Youth in Emergent Prosperity: Perspectives for the Sociology of Youth in the BRICS Countries

Session Organizer
Tom DWYER, University of Campinas, Brazil,

Session in English

Not open for submission of abstracts.
The declaration of BRICS heads of state, Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa, signed in Delhi in 2012 set up the investigation of youth policies in the countries as a priority. These countries account for approximately half of the world`s youth and the following dimensions chapters are examined in the in Sociology of youth in the BRICS countries (2013, Moscow, Russian Academy of Sciences): History of concepts and theoretical and methodological assumptions of research, Demographic characteristics, Identity and generation, Consumption and leisure, Family, Marriage and Sexuality, The State and political values, Education and employment and Internet participation and communication. The participants will comment on youth policies in their respective countries, especially those related to the reduction of inequality.

Indeed it is the turbulence of our times that has been responsible for stimulating this joint five country comparative sociology exercise. The sociologists of youth in the BRICS countries involved have all been seeking to understand how common structural changes intersect with youth life courses and values, and produce diverse and similar outcomes.

The Delhi declaration also referred to the necessity to build an academic perspective on future relations between the BRICS countries. Since 2009 researchers in this session have employed the hypothesis that reflections about and relations between youth of the BRICS carry the seeds of the future. Young people are agents of change and influence the functioning of distinct dimensions of the system through their mobilizations in favour of reform, revolution or innovation. In cyberspace a new dimension of social life appears – virtual space, where new kinds of social action take place. We can expect a complex and rich discussion, which – we believe – contributes to the opening up new perspectives for youth studies. Futures research and the sociology of youth come together in this proposed session.


Monday, July 14, 2014: 7:30 PM - 8:50 PM

Presidential Session II: Youth in Austerity

Session Organizer
Howard WILLIAMSON, University of Glamorgan, United Kingdom,

Session in English

In the recent past, young people in many parts of the world have seen their economic opportunities and life chances diminish for a variety of reasons, most notably the global economic crisis. Papers are invited that deal with “youth in austerity” in its various forms and consequences, both across and between the generations, including young people’s responses to inequalities such as (but not limited to) the Occupy movement, Arab Spring, riots in the UK and France, shootings in Norway, suicides in Greece, and so forth.


Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 07:30 PM - 08:50 PM

RC34 Business Session Meeting

Session Organizer


Saturday, July 19, 2014: 12:30 PM - 2:20 PM

Social Inequality in Young People`s Housing Transitions

Session Organizers
Marc MOLGAT, University of Ottawa, Canada,
Miriam MEUTH, University of Frankfurt, Germany,

Session in English

This session will focus on the biographical and societal aspects of the housing transitions of young people from the perspective of social inequality. Although in most world regions, emancipation from parents, leaving home and setting up independent housing are a decisive part of the transition to adulthood – and have been conceptualized as such by many researchers – the housing transitions of young people have received insufficient empirical attention. As a part of the process of reaching adulthood, housing transitions can be considered as markers of social inequality: low income or precarious employment often means that they involve intermediate, semi-dependent living arrangements, and returns to the family home; in other cases, the family of origin is wealthy enough to support the prolonged cohabitation of young adults; in more extreme cases, periods of homelessness characterize the transition out of the family home. Accordingly, leaving home cannot be understood as a singular act and should instead be considered as a process that both reveals and structures situations of inequality.

In this perspective, this session proposes to examine not only subjective attitudes, but also the roles of housing and job markets, education and training systems, and welfare state support (or lack thereof) in the housing transitions of young adults. Paper proposals for this session from sub-national, national or international perspectives are welcomed and may focus for example on urban/rural differences, the effects of housing transitions on family formation or arrangements, or the supports for youth housing transitions. In order to facilitate discussions and comparisons, the session organisers will request that each paper contain some contextual information about the society being referred to, in terms of the housing transition patterns of young people, the types of existing public supports and the state of scientific discourse on these transitions.


Saturday, July 19, 2014: 08:30 AM - 10:20 AM

The Youth Research Journey and How to Address It: Method and Ethics

Session Organizer
Kitty TE RIELE, Victoria University, Australia,

Session in English

The commitment of youth researchers – and sociologists more generally – to solidarity, justice, and diversity tends to be reflected in how we conduct our research, so that we do not contribute to generating or intensifying inequalities. The choices we make for the research methods we use have consequences for the kinds of questions we can answer, the ways in which we can represent young people, and the ethical dilemmas that we may encounter during the youth research journey.

This session will explore the methodological decisions made and ethical challenges experienced by youth researchers, from the design to the dissemination of research. Presenters will discuss why they made certain decisions and how these impacted the research journey, including unforeseen events and challenges. Implications for youth sociology more generally will also be examined.


Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 05:30 PM - 07:20 PM

Time and Space in Youth Studies

Session Organizers
Dan WOODMAN, University of Melbourne, Australia,
Carmen LECCARDI, University of Milan-Bicocca, Italy,

Session in English

Not open for submission of abstracts.
Notions of time and space are central to sociological youth research. Transitions research investigates the movement from one status to another and often from one place to another. Cultural youth research investigate the symbolic practices of young people, practices that necessarily unfold over time and often involves engagements in place and across space, potentially over larger scales than ever before. Conceptualising time and space will be important to youth researchers’ efforts to understand the increasingly global interaction of youth cultural practices, political movements and forms of inequality. Despite this importance, understandings of time and space often function implicitly in youth research and tend to be under-theorised.

The presentations in this session develop these concepts for the sociology of youth, drawing on empirical examples to do so.


Thursday, July 17, 2014: 03:30 PM - 05:20 PM

Towards a Comparative Sociology of Youth: Alternative Frameworks and Empirical Advances. Part I: Qualitative Approaches

Session Organizers
Mikito TERACHI, International University of Japan, Japan,
Tuukka TOIVONEN, University of Oxford, United Kingdom,

Session in English

The sociological study of youth has continued to diversify in recent decades, expanding from issues around inequality, identity, generations, transitions and gender to themes such as risk, exclusion, activation, creative careers and online behaviour. However, while certain youth research discourses have indeed spread around the globe, can we proclaim that this field has now finally become comparative at its very core? Or is there still significant further scope for leveraging the comparative method as we pursue important research questions?

This innovative session challenges interested scholars of all career stages to submit fresh contributions that acknowledge earlier comparative work, but that showcase alternative frameworks and empirical projects that can inspire an evolved comparative sociology of youth.
This session welcomes diverse submissions that demonstrate a degree of reflexivity. Submissions may be either theoretical or empirical, including, for example, comparisons across two or more regions, generations, ethnic groups, policy discourses, youth organisations, social categories, online/offline communities or institutional environments. International comparisons, including those that deal with East Asian youth issues, are encouraged. Analyses that contrast competing constructions of youth (e.g. as “passive” vs. “agentic”, as “adaptive” vs. “innovative”) are also welcomed.

Presenters will be requested to focus on key insights from their papers that could not have been produced by purely domestic or non-comparative research. How can comparative methodology and theory be further developed in relation to specific research issues? How can it also serve those who wish to inform youth policy?


Thursday, July 17, 2014: 05:30 PM - 07:20 PM

Towards a Comparative Sociology of Youth: Alternative Frameworks and Empirical Advances. Part II: Quantitative Approaches

Session Organizers
Mikito TERACHI, International University of Japan, Japan,
Tuukka TOIVONEN, University of Oxford, United Kingdom,


Friday, July 18, 2014: 03:30 PM - 05:20 PM

Troubled Youth, Troubled Families?

Session Organizer
Ara FRANCIS, College of the Holy Cross, USA,

Session in English

Scholars, activists, policy makers, and care practitioners frame families’ troubles, particularly those related to youth, as matters of public concern. Such framing tends to rely on a distinction between the ordinary family problems of “normal” youth and the pressing family problems of “troubled” youth. Building on a colloquium that brought together a group of international scholars in 2010, this session seeks to interrogate that distinction. How might we conceive of disruption as an ordinary feature of families with teens and young adults? How do the family lives of “troubled” youth resemble those of youth we conceive of as “normal”? How do powerful actors construct and contest definitions of “troubled youth” and “troubled families”? And how do the politics of trouble shape the sociology of these topics? This panel is designed to address such questions from varying vantage points, inviting research on a broad array of substantive topics such as kinship care, social exclusion, migration, violence, substance abuse, risky sexual behaviour, mental illness, and disability. Themes might include:


Wednesday, July 16, 2014: 08:30 AM - 10:20 AM

Unequal Age: Young People, Inequality and Youth Work

Session Organizer
Michael HEATHFIELD, City Colleges of Chicago, USA,

Session in English

Not open for submission of abstracts.
This session will be a cross-cultural, comparative presentation and dialogue. A panel of international presenters will highlight key findings of papers that look at the current position of young people in their own country with specific regard to persistent inequalities. This broad sweep analysis will be framed through the fifocal lens of class, race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality, and disability. These differential contexts for young people will then be contrasted with the role, impact, practice implications and future prospects for youth workers within each of the countries featured.

Framing questions for panellist contributions:
  1. Can you explain the definitional boundaries for “young people” and “youth work” within your specific context?
  2. What are the dominant issues in your country that describe the position of young people and the current contexts in which they thrive, survive or struggle?
  3. If we apply a fifocal lens to these shifting positions of young people (class, race and ethnicity, gender, sexuality and disability) what common threads and distinctions are pertinent to the practice of youth work?
  4. What are the significant changes in domain of youth work over the past decade and what responses to inequality can youth workers provide?


Friday, July 18, 2014: 10:30 AM - 12:20 PM

Youth and Social Media: Transformative Agents of Social Change

Session Organizers
Smita VERMA, Isabella Thoburn College, India,
Vinod CHANDRA, Jai Narain Post Graduate College Lucknow, India,

Session in English

Nations across the globe are witnessing major social movements (e.g., Libya, Egypt, Tunisia, Pakistan, India). The common feature of the movements in these countries catalysing social change has been youth, who are without any political leadership and party affiliations. Interestingly, youth as main agent - often thought to be focussed, self-absorbed, and individualistic, time and again excluded from the decision making processes, are now playing a key role in forging a democratic society, transforming policies and creating more equitable institutions, and making the state agencies accountable by bridging the formidable gap between political agendas, social norms, and the expectations of the youths. The main partners to this activism are the Internet and social media, helping them connect and communicate their idea and activities and to mobilize support. Social media are giving face to the faceless, helping in re-inventing free speech (e.g., Erom Sharmila, Malala Yousafzai, Nirbhaya, Esraa Abdel Fattah & Ahmed Maher).

The proposed session invites a debate on the relationship between the social structure and agency of the youth at the axis of social media shaping the trajectory of democratic representation and citizenship.


Monday, July 14, 2014: 3:30 PM - 5:20 PM

Youth Education-Work Nexus: Potentialities, Vulnerabilities and Resilience

Session Organizer
Clarence M. BATAN, University of Santo Tomas, Philippines,

Session in English

This session examines the education and work nexus in the lives of young people to demonstrate varied forms of potentialities, vulnerabilities, and types of resilience. It explores various experiences of youth across cultures in terms of how education and work are connected and/or disconnected, integrated and/or disintegrated; and highlights their impacts on the growing up processes in contemporary world.

This session envisions engaging both theoretical and methodological youth discourses in three areas, namely, potentialities, vulnerabilities and resilience, to determine how well these themes aptly or unsuitably capture the nature of education and work structures impacting contemporary youth.


Thursday, July 17, 2014: 08:30 AM - 10:20 AM

Youth Unemployment / Underemployment and Precarity. Part I

Session Organizers
John GOODWIN, University of Leicester, United Kingdom,
Henrietta O`CONNOR, University of Leicester, United Kingdom,

Session in English

Globally the levels of youth unemployment are disturbing. For example in the UK the rate currently stands at a rate of 22.2 per cent among 16–24 year-olds, with significantly higher rates among vulnerable populations such as early school-leavers. However, the vulnerability of young people, and concerns about their plight, is not a new phenomenon. In 1984 unemployment among 16–24 year olds reached 19.6 per cent and in the 1980s, as with other recessions, youth unemployment (which is always two to three times higher than all-age unemployment) was a major cause of concern, leading to talk about a ‘lost generation’.

In order to provide a better understanding of the early labour market experiences of young people in difficult economic circumstances, and help pave the way for more effective policies, the objective of this session is to explore a number of research questions:
  1. What are the current lived experiences of young unemployed/underemployed and precarious workers?
  2. How can we understand the ways in which these experiences are influenced by policy interventions?
  3. In what ways have the experiences of unemployed, insecure and vulnerable 18-25 year-olds changed between the recessionary periods of 1980s and the 2000s?
  4. Is it possible to map the nature and extent of unemployment and precarious or fragmented forms of working in the 1980s and 2000s?
  5. How are of various groups of young people (based on gender, class, ethnicity, disability) distributed between different components of the precariat?
We invite papers that consider the youth unemployment/underemployment and precarity that explore these questions amongst others. We would particularly welcome papers that are research-based and which engage with the longer-term change and transformations in youth unemployment / underemployment and precarity using qualitative and/or quantitative data and analysis.


Thursday, July 17, 2014: 10:30 AM - 12:20 PM

Youth Unemployment / Underemployment and Precarity. Part II

Session Organizers
John GOODWIN, University of Leicester, United Kingdom,
Henrietta O`CONNOR, University of Leicester, United Kingdom,


Joint Sessions

Click on the session title to read its description and the scheduled day/time.

Constructing Gender within Youth Activism

Joint session of RC32 Women in Society and RC34 Sociology of Youth [host committee]


Leisure as an Agency for Collective Mobilization of Youth and the Quest for Equality

Joint session of RC13 Sociology of Leisure [host committee] and RC34 Sociology of Youth


Youth and Social Movements. Part I

Joint session of RC34 Sociology of Youth and RC48 Social Movements, Collective Action and Social Change [host committee]



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March 2014