Lecture theatre 104, New Law School, The University of Sydney
CONVENORS: Gillian Cowlishaw, Ute Eickelkamp, Anjalee Cohen
School of Social and Political Sciences
Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences
The University of Sydney
Across the Pacific, in Indigenous Australia and in some parts of Asia and Africa, young people have become the majority population, at a time when postcolonial nation-building, global economic restructuring, urbanization and modernization are changing these societies. Here, children and youth appear as active drivers of change, within systemic constraints and often in the face of extreme hardship and violence. DeBoeck and Honwana (2005) capture these phenomena when they say that young people are ‘important actors in redefining and restructuring existing models of kinship and moral matrices of reciprocity and solidarity. … they are the ones who undergo, express, and provide answers to the crisis of existing communitarian models, structures of authority, gerontocracy, and gender relations’. In contrast, Western societies are ageing, which places young people differently in processes of systemic change. In both cases young people can be approached as a window to understanding broader socio-political and economic transformations. Beginning with the assumption that structure and experience need to be thought together, we see children and youth as neither passive victims nor autonomous agents.