Joshua Kalemba and David Farrugia
This essay explores the experiences of Black African youth migrating to and working in an Australian regional town using the concepts of epistemicide and coloniality of labor. Drawing on qualitative interviews conducted with twenty Black African youth in Australia, colonial violence is highlighted by demonstrating how these young people negotiate Australia’s immigration regime which seeks to produce docile, colonial subjects of value to the Australian national labour force. This essay argues that aspects of epistemicide are enacted when young immigrants are required to position themselves as desirable residents under terms that eliminate their existing ways of knowing themselves and the world. Meanwhile they occupy devalorized positions critical to economic transformations taking place because of deindustrialization. Conclusions reflect on the value of producing knowledge from African youths’ position as a critical step toward uncovering colonial violence and realizing a decolonized Youth Studies.
Mariya Stoilova, Sonia Livingstone, and Giovanna Mascheroni
Mobile devices play a growing role in the everyday lives of children around the world, prompting important questions about their effects on childhood experiences. Exploring the recent global trends in children’s use of smartphone devices, the authors examine the reconfiguring of children’s communicative practices and cultures of connectivity, documenting the opportunities and risks that smartphone technology affords. Throughout the chapter the authors challenge the notion of “digital childhoods,” drawing on the most reliable research on children and smartphones including findings from Global Kids Online, which suggest that digital divides intersect with existing social inequalities, exacerbating the barriers for less privileged children. This raises further questions about the long-term consequences for children’s development, rights, and future access to opportunities and resources.
Evolutionary family sociology studies how genetic relatedness and psychological predispositions shape intimate relations. It approaches human families in comparison to other species and the history of hominid evolution. This chapter outlines the main assumptions and recent advances in evolutionary family sociology. The study of parenting and mating is of interest to both sociologists and evolutionists. Our understanding of couple relations, gender equality, and involved fatherhood, deepens as sexual selection theory is combined with family system theories. Grandparenting is another research field for which an integration between Darwinian theory and mainstream family sociology is underway. Questions of helping, conflicts, and kin lineages are central for such studies on cross-generational relations. The Darwinian perspective has focused attention on the effects of genetic relatedness on familial sentiment and behavior and also on the universal patterns characterizing family dynamics. Sociological insights have helped specify cases in which evolutionary predictions need elaboration in order to better capture the variety and complexity of human families.
José Vidal Chávez Cruzado
The problematic effects of child labor are primarily caused by poverty and precarity, products of the social and economic inequality generated by the capitalist system in Southern societies. Approaches from the Global North generally deal with the issue of child labor by imposing the abolitionist stance promoted by the International Labour Organization and adopted by, for example, the Peruvian state. Abolitionism proposes that child labor must be eradicated because it limits the development of working children and adolescents. In this essay the abolitionist approach is contrasted with the value-based approach used by the Movement of Working Children and Adolescents and Children of Christian Workers. The latter approach is supported by the theory of the coloniality of power, which considers work to be an activity that dignifies and contributes to families’ economic and social well-being.
Emily Markovich Morris and Millicent Adjei
In Ghana and Zanzibar, Tanzania, first-generation students navigate uncertain and precarious conditions in the pursuit of becoming graduates and achieving their educational aspirations. This essay argues that youth in the Global South perform two entwined navigational capacities in this pursuit. First, the capacity for action, or collective agency, harnessed through relations with people in youths’ families, schools, and communities. Second, the capacity to hustle, which is a strategy of mobilizing social connections, life experiences, and tenacity to persevere through struggles and uncertainties. Narratives from fifty-eight first-generation secondary school and university students in Ghana and Zanzibar inductively reveal hustling as a strategy for engaging collective agency in the process of navigating structural barriers. The authors draw on youth-centered methodologies—popular theater and life history approaches—to show the complexity of youths’ experiences in negotiating the challenges and uncertainties in their lives while pursuing an education.
Torun Reite, Francis Badiang Oloko, and Manuel Armando Guissemo
Inspired by recent epistemological and ontological debates aimed at unsettling and reshaping conceptions of language, this essay discusses how mainstream sociolinguistics offers notions meaningful for studying contexts of the South. Based on empirical studies of youth in two African cities, Yaoundé in Cameroon and Maputo in Mozambique, the essay engages with “fluid modernity” and “enregisterment” to unravel the role that fluid multilingual practices play in the social lives of urban youth. The empirically grounded theoretical discussion shows how recent epistemologies and ontologies offer inroads to more pluriversal knowledge production. The essay foregrounds: i) the role of language in the sociopolitical battles of control over resources, and ii) speakers’ reflexivity and metapragmatic awareness of register formations of fluid multilingual practices. Moreover, it shows how bundles of localized meanings construct belongings and counterhegemonic discourses, as well as demonstrating speakers’ differential valuations and perceptions of boundaries and transgressions across social space.
Ulisses F. Araujo, Viviane Pinheiro, and Valeria Arantes
Paulo Freire, the Brazilian philosopher, educator, and a leading Southern theorist, has been extraordinarily influential worldwide. He is considered one of the founders of critical pedagogy, and influenced educators in Latin America, Africa, and Asia with his ideas of liberation, freedom, and emancipation. This essay presents an example of an educational program developed in Brazil, where Freire’s dialogical theory and principles were adapted to address the challenges faced by youth in education and the skills they need for the communities in which they live. It shows how a Freirean-inspired pedagogical model and active-learning methodologies can become transferable trialogues for other Southern educational experiences. These can empower the youth to solve local community challenges and transform societies in unequal places.
This essay argues for a revision of Black Consciousness philosophy to make it more consistent with the requirements of South Africa’s constitutional democracy and relevant to the aspirations of young people in South Africa and the Global South. The philosophy was founded within an oppressive racist society, and while it defined blackness in terms of the legal oppression of Black people, those conditions no longer exist in South Africa. On the contrary, the South African constitution adopted both the inclusive view of Black people as Africans, Indians, and Coloureds, and expressly forbids racial or other forms of discrimination. The new political and constitutional setting thus demands a new articulation of blackness as a set of historical values that emanate from the experience of oppression. These values were expressed by Black intellectuals during self-reliant development and struggles against racism and can form the basis for reshaping racial identities in the Global South.
Global South Youth Studies, Its Forms and Differences among the South, and between the North and South
Clarence M. Batan, Adam Cooper, James E. Côté, Alan France, Terri-Ann Gilbert-Roberts, Siri Hettige, Ana Miranda, Pam Nilan, Joschka Philipps, and Paul Ugor
This essay comprises reflections of scholars in and originating from the Global South, plus some comments from Northern scholars, forming an integrated dialogue. It focuses on the development of youth studies in Africa, Latin America, parts of Asia, and the Caribbean, illuminating how youth studies in, from, and for the South emerge as a result of struggle—to get recognition, to theorize beyond dominant Northern frameworks, and state-led developments, and to be heard. Paradoxically, youth studies from the South are strongly influenced by the work of Northern scholars. Despite these influences, Northern ideas struggle to grasp local contexts and conditions and consequently there is a need for more localized knowledge and theorizing to make sense of young people’s lives outside the Global North. The reflections provide a reminder that struggles over the meaning and situation of youth, within particular contexts, are highly political.
This essay uses the film Black Panther to explore notions of home, identity, and belonging as these relate to race and being African. Black Panther added a more positive representation of Black identity and culture which is generally lacking in popular culture. Building on this achievement, the essay engages with the tensions between racial and national identities for the African diaspora, as Africanity and notions of belonging are disrupted by migration. While race is the identity of primary importance for Black Americans due to its role in marking difference, subordination, and oppression, for Wakandans in Black Panther national identity is more significant and a source of pride. When considered in relation to the diaspora, history, and cultural connectedness, ideas about Africanity need to hold real forms of oppression alongside change and difference, acknowledging that certain bodies have been repeatedly oppressed, without assuming that local histories are universal.
Adreanne Ormond, Joanna Kidman, and Huia Tomlins Jahnke
Personhood is complex and characterized by what Avery Gordon describes as an abundant contradictory subjectivity, apportioned by power, race, class, and gender and suspended in temporal and spatial dimensions of the forgotten past, fragmented present, and possible and impossible imagination of the future. Drawing on Gordon’s interpretation, we explore how personhood for young Māori from the nation of Rongomaiwāhine of Aotearoa New Zealand is shaped by a subjectivity informed by a Māori ontological relationality. This discussion is based on research conducted in the Māori community by Māori researchers. They used cultural ontology to engage with the sociohistorical realities of Māori cultural providence and poverty, and colonial oppression and Indigenous resilience. From these complex and multiple realities this essay will explore how young Māori render meaning from their ancestral landscape, community, and the wider world in ways that shape their particular personhood.
Liana Fox, Florencia Torche, and Jane Waldfogel
This article reviews current research on intergenerational mobility, which indicates opportunity for children to move beyond their social origins and obtain a status not dictated by that of their parents. Mobility tends to be measured by the extent of association between parents’ and adult children’s socioeconomic status (measured by social class, occupation, earnings, or family income). Stronger associations mean more intergenerational transmission of advantage (often referred to as persistence) and less mobility, whereas weaker associations indicate less persistence and more mobility. The article begins with a discussion of theoretical and methodological approaches to measuring intergenerational mobility. Drawing on research in economics and sociology, it then examines the evidence on the degree of mobility and persistence as well as possible underlying mechanisms. Finally, it compares mobility in wealthy and developing countries and suggests directions for future research.
This essay explores the theory of intersectionality in the study of youths’ lives and social inequality in the Global South. It begins with an overview of the concept of intersectionality and its wide applications in social sciences, followed by a proposal for regrounding the concept in the political economic systems in particular contexts (without assuming the universality of capitalist social relations in Northern societies), rather than positional identities. These systems lay material foundations, shaping the multiple forms of deprivation and precarity in which Southern youth are embedded. A case study of rural migrant youths’ ‘mobility trap’ in urban China is used to illustrate how layers of social institutions and structures in the country’s transition to a mixed economy intersect to influence migrant youths’ aspirations and life chances. The essay concludes with ruminations on the theoretical and social implications of the political-economy-grounded intersectionality approach for youth studies.
Patricia Hill Collins
For youth who are Black, Indigenous, female, or poor, coming of age within societies characterized by social inequalities presents special challenges. Yet despite the significance of being young within socially unjust settings, age as a category of analysis remains undertheorized within studies of political activism. This essay therefore draws upon intersectionality and generational analyses as two useful and underutilized approaches for analyzing the political agency of Black youth in the United States with implications for Black youth more globally. Intersectional analyses of race, class, gender, and sexuality as systems of power help explain how and why intersecting oppressions fall more heavily on young people who are multiply disadvantaged within these systems of power. Generational analysis suggests that people who share similar experiences when they are young, especially if such experiences have a direct impact on their lives, develop a generational sensibility that may shape their political consciousness and behavior. Together, intersectionality and generational analyses lay a foundation for examining youth activism as essential to understanding how young people resist intersecting oppressions of racism, heteropatriarchy, class exploitation, and colonialism.
Social representations theory (SRT) is considered a theory of social change, accounting for democratic transformations in knowledge. However, its applicability in the Global South, where there is a long history of subjugation, has not been sufficiently explored. This essay integrates the contributions of postcolonial theorists with the tools of SRT to track changes in knowledge structures among Southern youth. In doing so, it shows the limits imposed by an enduring colonial legacy and modern cultural imperialism on Southern youths’ ability to challenge hegemonic representations on their own terms. This is further illustrated by a case study on youth perspectives on homosexuality in India which utilizes data from interviews conducted in Bengaluru with three generations of middle-class families representing India’s three major religions. While the youth accepted homosexuality, elders displayed their resistance. Yet tolerance was perceived as a Western import, revealing an East-West divide in understandings of homosexuality.
This essay identifies six navigational capacities or contextual formative abilities that young people in Southern contexts, and those who care about them, may find helpful to debate and nurture. These navigational capacities are the capacity (1) to act alone as an individual in a community; (2) to aspire beyond culturally bounded horizons without resorting to exit, apathy, or violent struggles; (3) to acquire a range of capitals that include money, networks, dignity, and a knowledge of the rules of the game; (4) to recognize and analyze the influence of social structures and policies on their lives; (5) to achieve open identities to ensure justice along multiple axes of oppression; and (6) to act collectively in pursuit of better lives for self and others. The idea of navigational capacities acknowledges that adversity, change, and movement are a constant feature of the landscape of youth in the Global South. Thus, developing flexible capacities—rather than hard skills, rigid assets, or only adaptive resilience—is a more helpful goal for youth development. The essay describes these capacities, their theoretical foundations, and potential as a framework for practice and analysis in youth work and youth studies research in the Global South.
Laura Kropff Causa
Drawing from Latin-American and Argentinean ethnic studies, in dialogue with African philosophy and African youth studies, this essay addresses collective agency as it emerges at the intersection of age and ethnicity within national formations of otherness. These formations organize how people live and define who must die and how. The aim is to develop a theoretical input to enrich the debate on the concept of intersectionality. The essay focuses on how young Mapuche activism dismantles and/or reproduces identities and experiences available to Mapuche youth in contemporary Argentina. This activism gained prominence recently due to a neoliberal change in national politics that rearranged the relationship between the nation and its internal others in order to legitimize violent repression of social protest. Within this context, young Mapuche activists (mainly male) are portrayed as a public menace.
The concept of ontological insecurity draws attention to uncertainty, instability, and threats to autonomy, as these relate to people’s identities. It has connections to the idea of practical consciousness or the cognitive and emotive anchors that enable people to feel secure. The experience of racism has important implications for ontological insecurity. Racism as an experience profoundly dehumanizes a person. Despite the multiple affinities ontology has with questions of race and inequality, the idea of ontological insecurity has not been used widely in discussions of social difference. The concept can help explore the effects of prejudice and discrimination as they relate to a person or group’s whole sense of being. These ideas are used to analyze data from the South African Social Attitudes Surveys conducted between 2003 and 2016. In the surveys young South Africans report feelings of dampened capacity—a diminishing of their self-confidence. Race was a factor in these feelings; however, it was not determinative in a totalizing sense.
Pirjo Kristiina Virtanen and Alessandra Severino da Silva Manchinery
This essay looks at the construction of personhood in Brazilian Amazonia from the perspective of Indigenous youth. In Amazonian sociocosmology, personhood is constructed relationally, a process in which the body is a distinctive factor. Consequently, during schooling and university studies, young people have responded to and resisted representations and policies that have often silenced Indigenous voices and limited their fabrication of bodies. The contemporary social responsibilities of Indigenous youth and the challenges faced in undertaking them shape how their subjectivity, agency, and recognized social belonging are being constantly increased, removed, or even denied. The essay draws from anthropological theories of relational personhood, as well as ideas of geo- and body-politics present in theorizing on the Global South.
This essay explores how it may be possible to dismantle and recreate frameworks for understanding youth agency and precarity in African cities. These are places where youth are regularly portrayed as toxic. The essay reflects and builds on an emerging body of literature that approaches youth as civic agents actively involved in reimagining and recreating alternative possibilities for themselves and their communities. Addressing these works, the notion of fixers is used to unpack the ways in which young men exhibit care and solidarity in urban Cameroon. Through productive masculinities, urban youth develop new modes of agency that allow them to become entrepreneurs of hope, despite the permanent difficulties of finding a place in a society that apparently does not have one for them.