Critical Perspectives on Youth Wellbeing

Tuesday, 17 July 2018: 15:30-17:20
RC34 Sociology of Youth (host committee)

Language: English

When it comes to youth there is tension inherent in the concept of wellbeing. Wellbeing has been framed as both a political concern and a subjective goal for young people. Contemporary youth policies worldwide promise to measure, monitor and promote youth wellbeing both locally and nationally. Yet the concept of wellbeing has been subject to sociological critique. When applied to young people the idea of wellbeing has two unproductive effects. Firstly, it normalizes well and unwell ways of being against standardised measures which may not be sensitive to economic, social and cultural differences. Secondly, the specific challenges faced by different and distinct groups of young people are individualized down to subjective measures of personal wellbeing. Thus, promotion of wellbeing can work as a categorizing force, and also as a mechanism of governance over those young people considered to be in need of guidance. On the positive side, wellbeing can be understood as a political right that calls for action to tackle inequalities affecting young people's lives. Yet we must be wary, since measures that claim to promote youth wellbeing can target non-normative individuals and their behaviour. There is a danger that wellbeing is only promoted in line with top-down definitions and understood solely as a function of good or bad individual choices. This session includes papers on youth wellbeing from both theoretical and empirical perspectives. We examine the intersections of youth wellbeing, power, violence and justice, as well as the responses of policy makers, service providers and NGOs.
Session Organizers:
Sanna AALTONEN, Finnish Youth Research Society, Finland, Antti KIVIJÄRVI, Finnish Youth Research Society, Finland and Pam NILAN, University of Newcastle, Australia
Pam NILAN, University of Newcastle, Australia
Oral Presentations
Youth Well-Being and Social Exclusion in South Africa
Ariane DE LANNOY, University of Cape Town, South Africa
Surveying the Oversurveilled – Conducting and Analysing Questionnaires on Well-Being of Marginalised Young Adults
Antti KIVIJÄRVI, Finnish Youth Research Society, Finland; Sanna AALTONEN, Finnish Youth Research Society, Finland; Martta MYLLYLÄ, Finnish Youth Research Society, Finland
Religiosity and Youth Subjective Well-Being: A Multilevel Analysis
Haridhan GOSWAMI, Manchester Metropolitan University, United Kingdom
Distributed Papers
Young People Meet Complex Organizations. an Interview Study with Swedish Service Providers
Anna-Lena ALMQVIST, Malardalen University, Sweden; Kitty LASSINANTTI, Mälardalen University, Sweden
The Community in Social Programs for Poor Youth: Between Inclusion and Risk
Marina MEDAN, Universidad Nacional de San Martín/ Consejo Nacional de Investigaciones Científicas y Técnicas, Argentina
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