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.
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.
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.
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.
Christina M. Gibson-Davis
This article examines the interrelationships among poverty rates, inequality, and nonmarital family structures, focusing on households with a never-married parent, usually the mother, or with cohabiting parents. It first considers marriage and fertility patterns around the world and how these patterns exhibit characteristics of the so-called second demographic transition in which marriage and fertility have become increasingly disconnected. It then discusses the reasons why nonmarital families tend to be poorer than marital families and also why the correlation between poverty and nonmarital family structures does not causally explain between- or within-country variation in poverty rates. It also describes some methods for addressing high poverty rates among nonmarital household structures, arguing that policies other than marriage promotion would be far more effective at reducing poverty for nonmarital households. The article concludes with an assessment of some implications of nonmarital fertility for economic inequality.
Anye-Nkwenti Nyamnjoh and Robert Morrell
Southern theory is as an evolving body of thought that places the Global South, understood as a relational concept and category, at the center of theoretical and methodological debates in knowledge production. It challenges the provinciality of what is traditionally understood as theory by mobilizing the South, frequently undertheorized, as an important epistemological resource in order to explain and transform the geopolitical context of theory production. In marshalling otherwise marginalized experiences and knowledges and presenting them as legitimate intellectual resources, Southern knowledges are recognized, repositioned, and centered. Southern theory thus takes the form of an epistemic and political project. In this analysis, these themes are unpacked by employing Southern theory as a transnational lens with which intersecting issues of youth, gender, and disability can be engaged.
Titas De Sarkar
This essay explores how youth identities are constructed in a postcolonial space through life writing. In so doing it challenges conventional understanding of autobiography or testimonio. Using the life writing of Malay Roychoudhury–the founder of the 1960s radical literary Hungry movement–the essay shows how the categories autobiography and testimonio are insufficient to describe life writing of the Global South. The characters portrayed, the treatment of the narrative, and the multiple footings taken to project the author as a subaltern and marginal figure and yet possessing abundant cultural capital, hybridizes the genre of life writing itself whereby newer tools become necessary. This essay thus presents critical youth culture studies, theories of life writing, and subaltern studies, as they relate to postcolonialism, in order to highlight the necessity for seeing the youth of the Global South in ways that cannot be captured by analytical tools that are insufficiently provincialized.