TASA Symposium: Emerging Priorities in the Sociology of Youth

When: Friday 22nd November 2013, 9am-5pm
Where: Theatre 227, 234 Queensberry St, University of Melbourne, Parkville
Cost: $40

Supported by TASA, this symposium brings together researchers currently working in the sociology of youth with the aim of identifying emerging conceptual priorities within the field. While the sociology of youth has some vibrant disciplinary areas (most notably the ‘transitions’ and ‘subcultures’ perspectives), the strength of these traditions can overshadow other conceptual priorities. This symposium provides us with an opportunity to discuss emerging priorities in youth studies. In partnership with TASA, the symposium is organised by the thematic group convenors and colleagues from the University of Melbourne and Griffith University.
The full-day program is organised around four plenary style panels, each of which addresses a contemporary challenge or conceptual problem for youth studies. These are:
1. Understanding continuity and social change.
2. Space and place.
3. The body and embodiment.
4. Consumption, creativity, identity.

Slots to present within the panels will be limited; the aim is for the panel presenters to provide the context for focused, open discussion with symposium attendees. If you are interested in presenting for a particular panel session, however, please send an abstract of 200 words to the convenor of the panel by the 30th of September. There is a focused conceptual rationale for each panel and that papers will be chosen accordingly. Submissions should reflect the aims of the particular panel and of the day.


PhD / Early Career Scholar Award:
In addition to providing a forum for the discussion of emerging priorities, this symposium is also intended as a vehicle for forging new research relationships and for highlighting the contributions of emerging scholars. As such, each panel aims to include one PhD student or early career scholar (within 12 months of completing PhD). These panellists will receive a scholarship in recognition of their emerging contribution to our field. We encourage PhD students and early career scholars working in any of the four areas addressed by the symposium to submit an abstract and an application to present at the symposium.
The award recipients will receive $250 to support their attendance and present their work alongside others on the same symposium panel. Applicants should send the following to pgeldens@swinburne.edu.au by the 30th of September:
1. An abstract of up to 500 words related to one of the themes and suggested sub-themes below;
2. A brief bio including thesis title / working title, research interests and affiliation, along with details of any prior conference presentations and/or publications (if applicable).

Registration and payment:
Registration will close on the 30th of October, 2013.
The preferred method of payment is electronic funds transfer (EFT).
Bank Details
Account name: The Australian Sociological Association
BSB: 013 332, Account number: 255648618
Reference: SoY and first initial and surname (e.g. SoYDFarrugia)
Amount: $40
If EFT is not possible, credit card payment is available on Mondays or Tuesdays 9:15am – 4:15pm only (latest day: 29th October) by phoning TASA on (03) 9214 5283.
Please email your payment confirmation to the TASA office (admin@tasa.org.au) and cc the event organiser David Farrugia (d.farrugia@ballarat.edu.au).

Session Themes

Session 1: Key Challenges for the Sociology of Youth – Understanding Continuity and Change
Chair: Dan Woodman (University of Melbourne) dan.woodman@unimelb.edu.au
Understanding the relationship between continuity and change and its interrelation with opportunity and inequality drives many youth researchers. Debates about individualisation, subcultures or neo-tribes, delayed transitions or new adulthoods can be understood through this prism. Arguably much recent work in youth sociology links claims of a social change to increased opportunity on the one hand, and social continuity, or at least less significant change, with structural constraint and inequality on the other. Yet there are other possibilities. For example, the mechanisms behind patterns of inequality can change profoundly, with the outcomes of these processes maintaining an apparent degree of continuity over time. As such, frameworks that use evidence of continued inequalities in young lives and transition patterns as evidence against social change may be too simple. While unequal outcomes for different groups of young people remain relatively predicable, this does not mean they must emerge from an abstract or inevitable social logic. Instead the explanation for this continuity might be found in institutional arrangements adjusting to social change, and in the work done by individual and collective actors to maintain distinctions and advantages over others.
Understanding social change and inequality among young people in the context of this change is both the promise of and challenge for the sociology of youth. For this session we invite contributions that engage conceptually and empirically with the relationships between social change and inequality in young people’s lives.

Session 2: Space and Place
Chairs: David Farrugia (University of Ballarat) and Paula Geldens (Swinburne University) d.farrugia@ballarat.edu.au; pgeldens@swin.edu.au
The sociology of youth is dominated by perspectives from the urban metropolises of the ‘Global North.’ A failure to acknowledge this, and an ongoing tendency to take certain young people as emblematic of ‘youth’, has coincided with an ongoing lack of attention to the spatial aspects of young people’s lives. This has resulted in the marginalisation of new research agendas that take space, place, and geographical diversity seriously. Moreover, while ‘globalisation has become a key term within sociological analysis, the sociology of youth has yet to come to terms with the geographical inequalities and new cultural identities that are emerging as part of broader processes of social change. This session provides the opportunity to reflect on space and place as constitutive dimensions of youth, and aims to demonstrate the importance of a perspective from marginalised places for the theories driving work in the discipline.
This symposium session invites contributions on the following themes:
– theoretical connections between place, space and geographical diversity and sociology of youth
– methodological approaches to studying place, space and geographical diversity
– exploring the impacts of place, space and geographical diversity in the lived experiences and life chances of young people.

Session 3: The Body and Embodiment
Chair: Julia Coffey (University of Melbourne) jecoffey@unimelb.edu.au
The material body and embodiment are emerging areas of focus in the sociology of youth. These areas require conceptual, methodological and practical development. Corporeal theories aim to place the body – and embodied experience – at the forefront of analysis. ‘Embodied’ approaches can enable us to explore the ways the body is implicated in the complexities and tensions in young people’s lives. This has theoretical and methodological implications for research with young people in the sociology of youth.
This symposium session invites contributions on the following themes:
– theoretical connections between the sociology of the body and sociology of youth
– methodological approaches to studying the body and embodiment
– using new conceptual approaches in empirical analysis (for example, ‘affect’)
– exploring modes of embodiment: including themes of gender, disability, race, class and other material inequalities
– theoretical challenges and developments

Session 4: Youth Culture: Consumption, Creativity and Identity
Chair: Andy Bennett (Griffith University) a.bennett@griffith.edu.au
The concept of youth culture has long been held to denote patterns of collective consumption that lead to forms of identity in local urban spaces. In recent years, the concept of youth culture has been reframed to examine broader patterns of identity formation in trans-local and virtual spaces. Part of this developmental process in youth research has involved the challenging of conceptual frameworks such as sub- and counter-culture together with an acknowledgement that youth cultural bonds are increasingly transcending ‘barriers’ of class, gender, ethnicity and even generation. The purpose of this panel is to further explore the shifting terrain of youth cultural research and its links to broader questions of cosmopolitanism, citizenship, and belonging. Collectively the papers in this session will:
– Identify and define the significance of cultural consumption and creativity as factors influencing cultural belonging and cosmopolitan citizenship among diverse young people.
– Demonstrate this by documenting the impact of cultural consumption and creativity on notions of identity, peer group relations and emerging ethical and political awareness of global issues (socio-cultural, environmental and economic).
– Develop new conceptual insights into cultural belonging and citizenship through innovative empirical research into the life worlds of diverse young adults and different sites of cultural consumption that are shaped by local, national and global cultural trends.


About tasayouth

Blog of the Australian Sociological Association's Youth Thematic Group
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