Short bio-notes

RC34 “Sociology of Youth” Board – 2018-2022


Sharlene Swartz (President)

Department of Sociology – University of Cape Town – South Africa –

Sharlene Swartz is Executive Director of the Education and Skills Development research programme  at the Human Sciences Research Council in South Africa, an Adjunct Professor of Philosophy at the University of Fort Hare and an adjunct Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of Cape Town. She holds undergraduate degrees from the University of the Witwatersrand and the University of Zululand in South Africa; a Master’s degree from Harvard University and a PhD from the University of Cambridge. Her expertise and current research centres on the just inclusion of youth in a transforming society that includes interpersonal and communal notions of restitution, young people’s impact on their worlds, and the future of work in the fourth industrial revolution. Her work is characterised by a focus on Southern theory, emancipatory methodologies and critical race theory. Her recent books include Youth citizenship and the politics of belonging (2013); Another Country: Everyday Social Restitution (2016), Moral eyes: Youth and justice in Cameroon, Nigeria, Sierra Leone and South Africa (2018) and Studying while black: Race, education and emancipation in South African universities (2018). Contact her about studies on young people and the future of work in the fourth industrial revolution, dialogues for social change, and emancipatory methodologies.


Ana Miranda (Deputy President)

Latin American Faculty of Social Sciences – National Scientific and Technical Research Council – Argentina –

Ana Miranda is the Academic Director of the Youth Research Program and the Master of Youth Studies* at FLACSO, Argentina. She is a researcher at the National Scientific and Technical Research Council (CONICET) and a professor at the University of Buenos Aires (UBA). She holds a degree in Sociology from the University of Buenos Aires and a PhD in Social Science from FLACSO.  Her research and teaching are related to youth, education, inequality and labor. She has participated in academic cooperation projects with many universities, governments and UN organizations. Since 1998, she has worked on the design of panels for the development of longitudinal studies. These panels are currently part of a longitudinal research program where three generations that lived different social and economic situations were investigated.  With a trajectory of more than 20 years in youth studies, she has worked on youth transition and is currently working on the conceptualization of Grammar of Youth with a research team. She has written 7 books, the most recent is Entre la Educación y el Trabajo: la construcción cotidiana de las desigualdades juveniles en América Latina (2018, CLACSO free access) which was written with the collaboration of the Latin American Network for Transition Education Work.  In 2019 her book Youth, Inequality & Social Change in the Global South, edited with Hernan Cuervo of the University of Melbourne, will be published.



Airi-Alina Allaste (Vice-President for Europe)

School of Governance, Law and Society – Tallinn University – Estonia –

I am a professor of sociology at Tallinn University, Estonia, and an adjunct professor of youth research at Åbo Akademi, Finland. The focus of my studies has been on the meanings that young people attribute to their lives. I have been Estonian coordinator of several international projects focusing on youth, organised international youth research conferences, been a long-term active member of academic youth research networks  as well as  affiliated to practical networks that include youth organisations and youth policy experts. My main interests are youth cultures, lifestyles and participation in general and in Eastern European context in particular.


Sarah Pickard (Vice-President for Europe)

Institut du Monde Anglophone – Université Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3 – France –

Sarah Pickard is a senior lecturer and researcher at Université Sorbonne Nouvelle – Paris 3 in France. Born in London, she did her BA Degree at Lancaster University before moving to France for her PhD on the link between British youth culture and youth policy after the Second World War. Her research focuses on the interaction between young people, youth policy and young people’s political participation including protest in contemporary Britain. Sarah has been a member of ISA RC34 since 2012. She enjoys the collaborative and friendly atmosphere of the Sociology of Youth research committee. Feel free to contact her via email or twitter @sarahpickard2


Ilaria Pitti (Vice-President for Europe)

School of Humanities, Education and Social Science – Örebro University – Sweden –

My name is Ilaria Pitti and I am in Italian researcher working in Sweden at Örebro University. My research focuses on the analysis of young people’s participation in social movements and football fans’ communities and on precariousness and self-employment in youth paths of transitions to work. I conduct research mostly through qualitative methods and I am interested in the ethical aspects related to their application. My plan B has always been to open a fruit kiosk in Argentina. Get in touch if you would like to collaborate or talk about youth activism and ethics in research.  


Kiran Odhav (Vice President for Sub-Saharan Africa)

School of Humanities – North West University – South Africa –

Kiran Odhav is based in South Africa, in the Sociology Department of North West University (Mafikeng campus) where he teaches social theory, social policy and social research. He is currently constructing undergraduate teaching modules on sport and culture, to follow up with post-graduate modules on sports/culture journalism, BRICS sociology and sub-cultures. His current research interests include university sports, youth rebellion, BRICS sociology and social inequality. Kiran coordinates the international academic and exchange in his department (south-south and north south). Get in touch with him on email or phone if you have something to share or would like to take further.


Ali Akbar Taj Mazinani (Vice President for MENA)

Faculty of Social Sciences – Allameh Tabataba’i University, Tehran – Iran –;

I am currently the Dean of Social Science Faculty at Allameh Tabataba’i University (the largest public university specialized in humanities and social sciences in Iran). Prior to completing my PhD in Social Policy (Youth Studies) in the UK (holding an ORS Award) I was attached to the National Youth Organization of Iran as Director General of Youth Research Office and Head of International Affairs Department. I have undertaken several research projects and have published a number of works on youth and social policy with various national and international institutions including the National Youth Organization, UNICEF Representative in Iran, Council of Europe’s Youth Directorate, Social Security Research Institute, and Tehran Municipality. I have been involved in organizing several scientific events including the recent international conference on ‘Social Policy in the Islamic World’ ( in May 2018 which attracted widespread international attention and which included a session on Children and Youth Policy. I have actively attended several ISA events in recent years and have organized a session on “Muslim Youth, Contemporary Challenges and Future Prospects” at the 3rd ISA Forum of Sociology (Vienna, Austria). I am interested in social policy including youth policy in Muslim societies which are mainly located in MENA region and hope to be able to use the RC34 platform to establish a more active network of youth researchers in the region. For more information please go to:


Abeer Musleh (Vice President for MENA)

Department of social Sciences – Bethlehem University – Palestine –

I am an assistant professor at the department of social sciences and the coordinator of the Master program of social work at Bethlehem University, Palestine. My interest in the youth field started when I volunteered with youth organizations during my undergraduate studies, and then worked as a youth worker in Palestine. My research interest focuses on youth community development, collective action,  youth engagement with special focus on the impact of context and institutions on the socialization of youth and building their resilience. My current research is focused on youth in Jerusalem and building resilience through engagement under occupation. In which the research looks into how would life under colonization affect the forms of engagement of young people, and how do youth build their individual and collective resilience as active citizens. Previous research focused on the role of organizations in the formation of types of young leaders, and the Palestinian youth organizations resiliency and strategies to face challenges of work under colonization.  I hope to enhance the research about youth in the Arab region and work on more research in the Arabic language; to create a network of researchers that connect practices with research.


Vinod Chandra (Vice President for Asia)

J N Post Graduate College – Lucknow University – India –


Steven Ngai (Vice President for Asia)

Department of Social Work – The Chinese University of Hong Kong – CUHK –

Steven’s current research interests are in the areas of social exclusion and youth citizenship, mutual aid and youth empowerment, and service-learning and leadership development. Since 2000, he has obtained 29 research grants, totaling over HK$27 million, from the Research Grants Council of the Hong Kong SAR Government as well as government bureaus/NGOs in Hong Kong or Macau. He also received CUHK Faculty of Social Science Exemplary Teaching Award in 2000, CUHK Research Excellence Award in 2011, and CUHK University Education Award in 2014.


Dan Woodman (Vice President for Oceania)

School of Social and Political Sciences – University of Melbourne – Australia –


Sampson Blair (Vice President for North America)

Department of Sociology – The State University of New York – United States –

Dr. Blair’s research focuses upon parent-child relationships, with particular emphasis on child and adolescent development.  As a Fulbright Scholar, he studied parental involvement and children’s educational attainment in the Philippines.  He has served as chair of the Children and Youth research section of the American Sociological Association, Guest Editor of Sociological Studies of Children and Youth, and on the editorial boards of Journal of Divorce and Remarriage, Journal of Family Issues, and Marriage and Family Review, among others.  He is the series editor of Contemporary Perspectives in Family Research. 


Ada Cora Freytes Frey (Vice President  for Latin America)


Natalia Waechter (Treasurer)

Ludwig-Maximilian University – Munich (LMU) – Germany –

Natalia Waechter is University Professor in Pedagogy and Youth Research at the Ludwig-Maximilian University Munich, Germany, Department of Pedagogy, Education and Socialization Research. Her research focuses on comparative youth research and generational research in identities, online media, transitions, migration and social inclusion. She is editorial member of the Austrian Journal of Sociology and of Emerging Adulthood. If not on her desk or in the class room you can find her on a surfboard or on the back of a horse. She is always open to new collaborations for research, publications or other projects – get in touch ;-)


Howard Williamson (Organisational Secretary)

School of Humanities and Social Sciences – University of South Wales – Wales, United Kingdom –

Dr Howard Williamson CVO CBE FRSA FHEA is Professor of European Youth Policy at the University of South Wales in the United Kingdom.  Previously he worked at the Universities of Oxford, Cardiff and Copenhagen and has held visiting positions in Hong Kong, Malta, Zagreb, Beijing, Rennes and Tehran.  He is a nationally qualified youth worker and ran a youth centre for 25 years in parallel with his academic research that spanned issues such as youth crime, youth unemployment, vocational training, enterprise and entrepreneurship, substance misuse, homelessness, school curricula and youth work.  He conducted the original ‘status zer0’ research that produced political attention to young people not in education, employment or training (‘NEET’) and has followed the lives of a group of men, now past their mid-50s, whom he first encountered when they were young offenders in the 1970s.  He has advised many levels of governance on youth policy issues, from the Welsh and UK governments, the European Commission, the Council of Europe and the United Nations.  He is a trustee of Grassroots – the Cardiff City Centre Youth Project, the European Forum Alpbach Foundation, and the Duke of Edinburgh’s International Award for Young People.  Howard Williamson writes prolifically, publishing not only academic books and journal articles but also columns for magazines and newspapers.  His most recent work has been synthesising ideas about youth policy in Europe and co-editing the six volumes of the History of Youth Work in Europe.  Since 2002, he has been Organisational Secretary of the International Sociological Association Research Committee 34, the global network for the sociology of youth.  He was also chair of the European Network of Youth Research Correspondents until 2008.  In his spare time he rides horses and motorbikes, plays the guitar, and is a football coach and Safeguarding Officer for Pontypridd Town Football Club.  In 2002, he was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) and, in 2016, a Commander of the Royal Victorian Order (CVO).


Maurizio Merico (IBYR Editor)

Dept. of Political, Social and Communication Sciences – University of Salerno – Italy –


Ani Wierenga (Past President)

University of Melbourne – Australia –