The Popular, the National, the Global
Edited by Sunaina Maira and Elisabeth Soep. Foreword by George Lipsitz
"Comprised largely of cultural studies-influenced ethnographies of young people in various locations around the world, this collection of timely and provocative studies moves beyond the familiar and easy tropes of young person as urban, multi-tasking, irreverent, and technologically savvy. Instead, the reader is introduced to a variety of young people, with considerable attention paid to the social, institutional, cultural, and economic structures that concretize spaces of possibility and nonpossibility for them."—Anthropology and Education Quarterly
Young people, it seems, are both everywhere and nowhere. The media are crowded with images of youth as deviant or fashionable, personifying a society's anxieties and hopes about its own transformation. However, theories of globalization, nationalism, and citizenship tend to focus on adult actors. Youthscapes sets youth at the heart of globalization by exploring the meanings young people have created for themselves through their engagements with popular cultures, national ideologies, and global markets.
The term "youthscapes" places local youth practices within the context of ongoing shifts in national and global forces. Using this framework, the book revitalizes discussions about youth cultures and social movements, while simultaneously reflecting on the uses of youth as an academic and political category. Tracing young people's movements across physical and imagined spaces, the authors examine various cases of young people as they participate in social relations; use and invent technology; earn, spend, need, and despise money; comprise target markets while producing their own original media; and create their own understandings of citizenship. The essays examine young Thai women working in the transnational beauty industry, former child soldiers in Sierra Leone, Latino youth using graphic art in political organizing, a Sri Lankan refugee's fan relationship with Jackie Chan, and Somali high school students in the United States and Canada. Drawing on methodologies and frameworks from multiple fields, such as anthropology, sociology, and film studies, the volume is useful to those studying and teaching issues of youth culture, popular culture, globalization, social movements, education, and media.
By focusing on the intersection between globalization studies and youth culture, the authors offer a vital contribution to the development of a new, interdisciplinary approach to youth culture studies.
Sunaina Maira is Associate Professor of Asian American Studies, University of California, Davis.
Elisabeth Soep teaches at the University of California, Berkeley, and is a Producer and the Education Director of Youth Radio.