Youth Studies and the Challenges of Late Capitalism in a Globalised World

Journal of Youth Studies Conference
December 2nd-4th 2019
University of Newcastle, Australia

Youth are always at the vanguard of social change. Facing an uncertain and insecure global economy, they strategise and struggle towards achieving their ambitions, reworking aspirations, and rethinking adult futures. Young people are also at the forefront of social and creative movements, from progressive intersectional politics, environmental activism or DIY spaces through to the rise of popular and post-feminism and the popular misogyny of the ‘alt-right’. Youth studies has a proud history of creating knowledge and understanding of young people’s lives and must now engage with projects that create a future for youth as the perilous realities of late capitalism in a globalised world emerge.

The University of Newcastle and the Consortium for Youth, Generations and Culture is holding the 3rd Journal of Youth Studies Conference to debate this future agenda, bring together new knowledge, and celebrate the journal’s 21st birthday. After the passing of much-loved founding editor Andy Furlong, and at the time of the Journal’s ‘coming of age’, it has renewed its aims and scope to explore critical perspectives on the way that social, cultural, economic and political processes and institutions shape the meaning of, and narratives about, youth, and how young people in their diversity engage with these conditions.

This ambition is particularly important, now, when youth studies faces a number of critical challenges. These include coming to grips with how young people’s lives are impacted by new mobilities of capital, culture and people, and the changing inequalities and identities emerging in the context of globalisation and late capitalism. These changing conditions bring key challenges for the field, such as the conceptual shifts that may be required to understand the lives of young people across and between the Global North and South, the need to engage different intellectual traditions and broader vantage points, and new opportunities for innovative research design. There is also a need for new interdisciplinary approaches and methodological agility to understand an interconnected and increasingly stratified world.

To pursue these possibilities, we invite papers from a broad range of disciplines – sociology, education, social policy, cultural studies, political science, economics, anthropology, criminology, internet studies and social geography – to address the current state of young people’s lives and to conceptualise what it will mean to be youth in the future.


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