Forms of Collectivity Among Contemporary Youth: Transitions and Beyond
Young people’s identities are largely formed through peer interactions. Yet much scholarly research on youth transitions has depicted youth as ‘sole travelers.’ Despite their merits, such studies – centered on biographical ‘turning points’ (McAdams et al 2001) or transitional ‘critical moments’ (Thomson et al 2002) – are often marked by a disinterest in collectivity. Attempts to account for the relation between the individual and the collective – say through ‘habitual concordance’ (Bohnsack and Nohl 2003) or ‘collaborative individualization’ (Cuzzocrea and Collins 2015) – have been few. Similarly, in youth cultural studies, a critique of traditional Birmingham School accounts of ‘subculture’ and their collective aspects – often related to the sociologist of ‘tribes,’ Michel Maffesoli – has lost its energy.
This session responds to this need for theoretical and empirical work that articulates the complex relations between collectivity and individuals. This will help us better understand how young people are situated in their communities and networks; within their generation and across generations; within austere economic and social conditions; within culture and subcultures. Could an interest in collectivity make room for new perspectives on youth disaffection or disengagement? Are contemporary ‘collaboration’ or ‘networking’ practices – demanded by the ‘project nature’ of late-modern working life – merely instrumental or do they entail aspects of collectivity and solidarity? What role does collectivity play in reproducing youth cultures through, for example, social media use, consumption and leisure?
We invite contributions that critically discuss this across the spectrum of youth research and from global perspectives.