XVII ISA World Congress: Updated RC 34 sessions

Research Committee on Sociology of Youth RC34

Programme Coordinators
Ngan Pun Ngai, Chinese University of Hong Kong, China, npngai@cuhk.edu.hk
Howard Williamson, University of Glamorgan, United Kingdom, howardw@glam.ac.uk

Theme: Sociology of Youth on Move

Call for Papers

Following the central theme of the XVII ISA World Congress of Sociology – Sociology on the Move and its five sub-themes: violence and war, sustainability, worlds of difference, action and imagination, and religion and power, the Research Committee 34 (RC34) has come up with a theme: Sociology of Youth on Move, which aims to accommodate a comprehensive and extensive program addressing both the various sub-themes and specific areas of relevant youth studies in different societies all over the world. Totally the RC34 intends to organize 18 sessions including 12 regular sessions, 2 panel sessions, 1 roundtable session, 1 special session, and 2 joint sessions.

The subject matter of each session is designed to reflect a particular area of contemporary youth issues on move. It is believed that these sessions will provide youth researchers with larger space and greater freedom to share, to exchange and to explore theories, policies and practices that can enhance our understanding of young people and boost up the quality of youth studies at local, regional and international levels. In order to achieve this purpose, we need your support and active participation by joining us in the World Congress and make your contribution to our conference sessions. We sincerely invite colleagues and friends to submit abstract(s) of paper(s) (around 200 words, with authors’ names, affiliation, e-mail, and paper title) to the Chair(s) of each session for review via their emails.

Our objective is to inform authors (1st author only) of the decision on their paper(s) within four weeks of the deadline by the Chair(s) of the session. Following acceptance, a paper will be arranged for either oral presentation or distribution (distributed papers).

The deadline for submission of abstracts: 31st October 2009.

Proposed sessions

Sub-theme 1 Violence and War

Session 1: Violence and young people
Chairs: Helena Helve, University of Tampere, Finland, Helena.helve@uta.fi and Su Songxing, Shanghai Population & Development Research Centre, China, susongxing47@sina.com.cn

This session shares research findings on youth experience of violence at home, at school, at work, in internet and in different institutions. It tries to relate empirical studies about fears of young people and their future expectations and how they interpret a safety growing environment. Moreover, research of violence towards children and young people and approaches, models or theories for dealing with youth violence will be scrutinized and discussed. It would be a multi-scientific academic exchange session involving philosophical, pedagogical, war pedagogical, sociological, social work, etc.

Session 2: Youth, violence and growing terrorism
Chairs: Vinod Chandra, University of Lucknow, India, ccyrci@rediffmail.com and Asano Tomohiko, Tokyo Gakugei University, Japan, tasano@u-gakugei.ac.jp

In the recent past terrorism and violence has grown in various front in both developing and developed societies. Youth are part and parcel of the growing terrorism and violence. Either youth is affected by violent and terrorist acts or contribute in it. Anti-national and anti-community forces are using young people by showing them a dream of the world which is shaped by their own choices. Young people are trapped in the false attraction of freedom and autonomy. The proposed session will discuss such issues and deliberate upon the factors and remedies of young people’s involvement in violent and terrorist activities even through cyber crime etc.

Sub-theme 2 Sustainability

Session 3: Sustainability and worlds of difference: the past, the present and the future of youth studies in Asia-Pacific Region
Chairs: Steven Sek-yum Ngai, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, China, syngai@cuhk.edu.hk and Shen Jie, China Academy of Social Sciences, China, shenjie22@yahoo.com.cn

The Asia-Pacific is a region of vast diversity in terms of cultural orientation, ethnic background, and socio-political development. In recent years, the region as a whole is looking for greater economic integration to sustain its phenomenal growth, while at the same time grappling with emerging social issues due to globalization – all of which have significant implications on the life trajectory of young people. Against this backdrop, the session provides a platform for Asia-Pacific youth researchers, practitioners, and policy makers to share experience, build their capacities, and learn from one another about the past/existing roles and possible directions of youth studies in promoting youth development in the region, which in the long run will be beneficial for the emergence of different yet sustainable worlds wherein human worth and cultural diversity are valued and respected.

Sub-theme 3 World of Difference

Session 4: Changing biographies in a changing world
Chairs: Carmen Leccardi, University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy, Carmen.leccardi@unimib.it and Carles Feixa, University of Lleida, Spain, Feixa@geosoc.udl.es

The meaning and features of the juvenile life-phase have changed, and continue to do so, in accordance with broader economic, political and cultural transformations. In recent decades, these changes have become socially very apparent, with explicit impacts also on biographical construction. Juvenile biographies referring to an abbreviated future or exclusively to the present are, for instance, widespread in all latitudes. In relation to groups with different ethnic, social, cultural (and sub-cultural) memberships, and according to class and gender, these biographical changes assume different forms of expression. The session proposes to explore these aspects, investigating the ways in which young people culturally and socially deal with these new biographical circumstances, making use of them both to build new individual and collective strategies of action, and to establish new relations with adult institutions and peer group, besides creating generational styles of communication.

Session 5: Youth and inequality: disappearing or reappearing?
Chairs: Natalia Wachter, Austrian Institute for Youth Research, Austria, nw@oeij.at and Marc Molgat, University of Ottawa, Canada, marc.molgat@uottawa.ca

Inequality seems to experience a comeback in youth research: Though it had become already usual to regard youth scenes as not much connected to social class, recent theorists state that the chance for belonging to a certain youth culture is still determined by the social background. A similar theoretical development can be found in Internet research: After having celebrated the Internet as a tool for supporting social equality and equal participation, it became obvious that also in virtual worlds or regarding the access to computer technologies world wide many inequalities have continued. This applies not only to quantitative aspects such as access but also qualitative discussions such as if gender roles are changing or being maintained online. The session will cover all approaches regarding inequalities: first, analyses and theories on structural inequalities (gender, ethnicity, class) both on a national or local level and from a global perspective, and second, analyses and discussions on the individual, interactive construction of inequalities (gender, ethnicity, class).

Session 6: Belongingness, citizenship and communication
Chairs: Johanna Wyn, University of Melbourne, Australia, Johanna@unimelb.edu.au and Natalia Wachter, Austrian Institute for Youth Research, Austria, nw@oeij.at

The rapid social change has brought drastic impact on the development of young people’s sense of belongingness. How does the social change influence the sense of belongingness? How do young people construct sense of belongingness? Do (new) media play a significant role? Which processes of inclusion and exclusion are involved? Research on youth identity faces a new challenge because family and school are loosing their importance as the socialization agents. This session will explore the relationships between new communication opportunities and technologies and young people’s identities or sense of belongingness. It will explore the meaning of new opportunities and technologies for young people’s subjective experience of citizenship and their understandings of themselves in relation to national and international belonging.

Session 7: Youth policy: new agenda in early 21st century
Chairs: Ngan pun Ngai, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, npngai@cuhk.edu.hk and Maurice Devlin, National University of Ireland Maynooth, Ireland, Maurice.devlin@nuim.ie

The further developments of globalization, market economy, political freedom and social rights have led to the rising social status of young people in different part of the world. Moreover, this new social context has also fostered a different generation of young people with a sense of individualistic, materialistic, hedonistic, and liberal ideology that is in one way or another incongruent with the traditional values and social norms. As a result, the conventional approach in the practice of youth policy is challenged and there might be a shift towards a practical approach to deal with youth issues so as to meet young people’s novel needs and problems, family change, national interest and global demands. This session examines various aspects of youth policy especially in relation to political-ideological values, education, welfare, protection, housing, mental health, culture, leisure, empowerment, and participation. The role and function of youth researcher in the policy process, and the issue of the relationship between youth policy and race, gender and class would also be included.

Sub-theme 4 Action and Imagination

Session 8: Action, imagination and trust
Chairs: Ani Wierenga, University of Melbourne, Australia, Wierenga@unimelb.edu.au and Tom Dwyer, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Brazil, tom@unicamp.br

Social change has brought up many new opportunities, but also for many a heightened sense of uncertainty. Research is showing us how hope and trust can open options for creative action, where fear can close flows of communication and resources down. The cultural story-lines that are magnified by leaders and media may have a role in here – either as positive or divisive forces. There are possibilities here for exploring trust of life (at an existential level), of governments and decision makers, of significant others, of organizations or communities and the options they provide, or of biography, self and one’s own judgements. There is some scope for thinking about the patterns in young people’s lives, but also to patterns in research, policy and / or practice. There is also room here for thinking about trust relationships or sustained links to community and creating space for the sociological imagination – be that locally, nationally, regionally or more globally.

Session 9: Theory and approaches on the move: new directions in the sociology of youth
Chairs: Dan Woodman, Australian National University, Australia, dan.woodman@anu.edu.au and Kenneth Roberts, University of Liverpool, United Kingdom, bert@liverpool.ac.uk

Engagement with change is always a part of the sociological endeavor, but sociologists working in the current moment face a growing number claims that the dominant theories and approaches of the twentieth century are no longer up to the task of understanding the contemporary world. This session calls for papers exploring or suggesting new directions in theory and approaches, or papers defending the continued relevance of established theories, for the contemporary tasks of the sociology of youth.

Session 10: Youth culture and youth identity
Chairs: Carmen Leccardi, University of Milano-Bicocca, Italy, Carmen.leccardi@unimib.it and Carles Feixa, University of Lleida, Spain, Feixa@geosoc.udl.es

The concept of youth culture and identity are key concepts in youth studies and in understanding of young people, but has taken on a variety of meanings and applications. This session brings together relevant papers to discuss the meanings conveyed by assertions such as ‘core identity’, ‘fluid identities’, ‘liquid youth’ and ‘urban tribes The relative merits of these concepts and characterizations are assessed against evidence of various manifestations of youth (sub)cultures and youth identity.

Session 11: Mass higher education: Prospects and problems for youth transitions
Chairs: Helena Helve, University of Tampere, Finland, Helena.helve@uta.fi and Vinod Chandra, University of Lucknow, India, ccyrci@rediffmail.com

Post-secondary educational systems are expanding worldwide, providing access for larger numbers of sometimes previously excluded groups of young people. The opportunities that this development provides is examined and counterbalanced against the problems that these systems experience when they take on dimensions of mass institutions. These new mass educational systems in various countries will be discussed by panelists in the context of how they affect or reflect the integration of youth people in work roles.

Session 12: The ‘21st Century Learner’: Fact and fiction
Panel session.
Chairs: James Cote, University of Western Ontario, Canada, cote@uwo.ca and Clarence Batan, University of Santo Tomas, Philippines, cbatan@hotmail.com

Narratives are emerging that portray young people as ‘digital native’ who learn differently through computer technologies and call for radical transformations of educational systems based on book learning undertaken by phalanxes grade-progressing students. This session will be arranged in a form of panel discussion. Panelists discuss the merits of these arguments in light of available empirical evidence.

Session 13: Public policy: Opportunities and obstacles for youth research
Panel session.
Chairs: Howard Williamson, University of Glamorgan, United Kingdom, howardw@glam.ac.uk and Ola Stafseng, University of Oslo, Norway, ola.stafseng@ped.uio.no

Sociological research on youth produces a wealth of policy-relevant information, but researchers commonly express frustrations in their attempt to take this knowledge to policy-makers for consideration in developing effective youth policies. Experiences associated with the intersection between the sociological product and policy-uptake will be discussed by panelists from various countries. This session will be arranged in a form of panel discussion.

Session 14: Methodologies and epistemologies in contemporary youth research
Round table session.
Chairs: Andy Simpson, United Kingdom, a.s.simpson@bham.ac.uk and Ani Wierenga, University of Melbourne, Australia, Wierenga@unimelb.edu.au

This session will create space for the often neglected conversations and debates about the strengths of methodologies – including participatory methods, action research, basic research and strategic research – when researching with young people. This session will be arranged in a form of roundtable discussion.

Sub-theme 5 Religion and Power

Session 15: Youth and religion. I
Joint session of RC22 Sociology of Religion [host committee] and RC34 Sociology of Youth

Session 16: Youth and religion. II
Chairs: Clarence Batan, University of Santo Tomas, Philippines, cbatan@hotmail.com and Tom Dwyer, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, Brazil, tom@unicamp.br

Despite the claim of wide spread secularization, the impact of religion on the lives of young people cannot be underestimated. There are direct and indirect ways by which religious practices and rituals continue to affect the lives of young people that give them a sense of belongingness, meaning and spirituality. This session seeks to explore the various ways these religious experiences are articulated as a form of protection from risky behaviors, or channel to socialization, community and social capital as experienced by young people across the world.

Session 17: Growing up in 21century: Leisure, lifestyles and unequal chances of children and the youth
Joint Session of RC13 Sociology of Leisure, RC34 Sociology of Youth and RC 53 Sociology of Childhood [host committee].

Session 18: Youth studies on the move: New understandings of generations
Additional session on the Congress theme.
Chairs: James Cote, University of Western Ontario, Canada, Cote@uwo.ca and Lynne Chisholm, University of Innsbruck, Austria, lynne.chisholm@uibk.ac.at

This roundtable session examines classical sociological conceptions of generations and their relevance for contemporary models of the changing transition to adulthood, with an eye to evaluating the utility of generational, transitional, and other approaches for understanding the nature of youth in the 21st century.

Session 19: Business Meeting
International Sociological Association, September 2009 isa@isa-sociology.org