727.2 Growing up in the world risk society

Saturday, August 4, 2012: 12:45 PM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Oral Presentation
Timo HARRIKARI , Department of Social Research, University of Helsinki, University of Helsinki, Finland
GROWING UP IN THE WORLD RISK SOCIETY – Reflections on the status of young people in the western late modern societies

The governance of youth at the nation state level has recently been in a significant change around the world. The influence of neoliberal economic governance, state economies in crises, explosively spreading media coverage, international human rights treatises and the new governmental technologies, travelling from nation to another, have started up to form the status of young people and the goals of youth policies in a new and intensive way. In the western late modern societies, youth and young people are often characterized in an ambivalent way (Giddens 1991; Lee 2001).  On the other hand, the young are represented as the national resource in future and the targets of social investment e.g. (Lister 2006). On the other hand, the growing generations are more than before constructed as “risk” or “threat”, reflecting the problems of social cohesion and the cracking generational contracts. Historically speaking, there is nothing new in these constructions. It seems however that the current era is aggravating this polarized discussion, highlighting the latter “risk”-oriented perspective (e.g. Beck 1992). 

In my presentation, I will reflect the relation of the national level governance of youth and young people to ”global”, ”supranational” and ”international” (e.g. Beck 2005). How the different aspects of globalization, supranational tendencies and international influence and claims enable and constrain the national governance of youth, and on the other hand, how the influences originating from the hegemonic cultural areas of the globe penetrate to the national and local practices? In this theorizing, the theory of governance (Dean 1999; Foucault 2000; Hardt & Negri 2001; Miller & Rose 2008) is utilised in order to conceive multilevel actors, mentalities, games and techniques forming the strategic network, world risk society.