Note from our organizational secretary

Written by Howard Williamson
Secretary, RC 34 – Sociology of Youth
April 4th 2007

It seems an eternity since I sat through almost a hundred youth research papers during the World Congress in Durban. All those contacts and wonderful plans around things to do together in the future!

And then we return to base and get consumed or overwhelmed by our wider and domestic commitments. It is always the same. My guilt is compounded by the fact that my emails come in so thick and fast that often the only thing I do is glance at their content and, if they do not require immediate attention, relocate them in the relevant folder. Only when my ‘rc34’ folder displayed 50 messages did I feel it was about time to give them a full morning’s attention. And that is TODAY.

Most of those messages were, as many members (or at least those on the Executive and Advisory Boards) know, about the Asian youth conference to be held in Lucknow, India in November. This is being organised by Vinod Chandra, one of our Vice-Presidents for Asia, in conjunction with the ISA research committee on childhood.

Without going into too much detail, because it is the issues that are rather more important, Vinod has been seeking a financial contribution from our funds – a modest contribution in the run of things, but a significant proportion of what we have. Other colleagues have used the ensuing debate to raise a range of questions about how we should make best use of our very limited resources. Last time round, in the run up to Durban, we committed a substantial amount to supporting one young researcher to attend the World Congress as the ‘prize’ for what was judged to be the best paper from a batch of submissions on innovative and contemporary youth research.

Our financial resources have always been stretched and subject to competing demands. But our human resources have always been immensely rich. In Durban, we had our highest ever membership (130) and this has been sustained into 2007. Currently we have 136 members. I have not done a detailed country profile of our members, but my guess that they cover at least 40 countries would not be far wrong.

Our President Ngan-pun Ngai has put together a small fold-up brochure for rc34 which captures the breadth and depth of what we try to do. This reports our past Presidents, current governance, recent conferences and related publications. Yet the most important feature of our research committee, as with all such committees, is the collaboration and collegiate support between its members. Clearly this can operate in myriad ways, though three strike me as important. First, there are those existing ties between people and institutions which are perhaps simply just cemented through the rc34 connections. Second, there are those amongst the membership who get in touch with me to find out about other members with similar research interests (NOTE: this is why I ask all of you to provide me with a very short profile of your activities and interests). Most prominent and public, however, is this website. It stands or falls on your contribution – circulating ideas, seeking partners in research initiatives, promoting publications, and anything else you may think is valuable in strengthening our professional enterprise at the global level.

Best wishes for now…

Howard Williamson
RC 34 – Sociology of Youth