Call for Papers on ‘reconstituting race in youth studies’

This call for papers on race in youth studies will be of interest to readers of the blog.


YOUNG (Nordic Journal of Youth Research) Special Edition Open Call for Papers

Reconstituting Race in Youth Studies

The relationship between youth and race is undergoing significant social change. Many urban centres are becoming more ethnically diverse and youthful. Youth culture has been digitally globalised and new forms of marginalisation and racialisation have arisen. Despite this, in the last fifteen years there has been relatively little empirical work conducted in youth studies on how race and youth are being reconstituted.

While some cognate areas of research such as education studies and cultural studies have maintained a focus on race and ethnicity, in youth studies more widely race has been comparatively absent. Where considerations of race or ethnicity have featured, youth studies has tended to focus on (im)migration, super-diversity and understandings of identities that essentialise and flatten the ways in which race and racism intertwines into young people’s lives.

Building a bridge back to studies from 1990s and 2000s (in particular work on new ethnicities, urban multiculture, young adulthood and structural disadvantage), this special issue seeks to update theoretical, empirical and methodological understandings of race in relation to youth. It aims to reconstitute race in youth studies and in so doing demonstrate how, and in what ways, race remains a salient and necessary dimension of social analysis.

The aims of this special edition are four-fold:

1. To address the relation between increased ethnic diversity, racialisation and youth

Recent studies have noted the increase in ethnic diversity in many urban areas, and the particular registering of this diversity among the young (CoDE 2013; ONS 2001;Vertovec 2006). These contemporary demographics are significantly different from those of the 1980s and 1990s when prominent studies on the relation between ethnic diversity, racialisation and youth culture were conducted (Back 1994; Bennett 1999; Gilroy 1987; Jones 1988; Nayak 2003). This transforming relationship between race and youth therefore no longer fully corresponds to prior frameworks. It merits renewed exploration and theorisation.

2. To address new structures of racial marginalisation and their intersection with class, gender and sexuality

Alongside the ethnic reconfiguration of young lives, new structures of marginality are in play. We are witnessing ‘new hierarchies of belonging’, and ‘new racisms’ (Back et al. 2012), where ethnic minorities from long term settled communities and new migrants are positioned within a ‘racial reordering’ and are differentially ‘included’. Integral to this differentiated process of racialisation and marginalisation is the intersection of gender, class and sexuality which enable the appropriation and reproduction of racial signifiers (Kulz 2014; Skeggs 2004). Post-subcultural studies, very little attention has been paid to these debates in youth studies (Carrington and Wilson 2004). Studies have tended to convey a ‘post-race’ sociality (Böse 2003), rather than engaging with how young lives are being racially reordered in relation to other vectors of power and marginalisation.

3. To address global youth culture and attendant negotiations of race

Alongside these demographic and structural changes, youth culture has globalised, and along with it the forms of racial symbolism that young people use to make sense of their lives. In the last fifteen years, racial signifiers of youth culture have slipped their moorings. Previous studies that addressed the exchange of cultural symbols between white and black youth did so in a time before baggy jeans, hooded tops, break beats and urban vernaculars had become mainstream and globally commercialised (Back, 1994; Hewitt, 1986; Jones, 1988). Alongside increased ethnic diversity and new forms of marginalisation, these shifts demand revised approaches to youth and race in global and local contexts.

4. To explore the relation between digital and virtual communications, race and youth

Finally, the sites at which these negotiations take place have shifted. Whereas previous studies focused on the analogue (sound systems and LP records) and physical (the built environment) dimensions of youth culture (Back 1994; Gilroy 1987), the proliferation of digital technologies and virtual communication has shifted the times and spaces in which youth and race are constituted and communicated (Murthy 2008; Odin 1997). While this has been addressed at a general level (Madianou and Miller 2013), in relation to gender (Ringrose et al. 2012), and in relation to the racialisation of social media (Sharma 2013) the implications for digital and virtual communications on race and youth have yet to be fully explored.

Indicative topics include, but are not limited to, the following themes:

  • New racisms and racialisation;
  • Everyday racisms and youth transitions to adulthood;
  • Negotiations, resistances and youth politics;
  • Digital and virtual cultures;
  • Creative arts and music scenes;
  • Performativity;
  • New migrations;
  • Intersectionality and the re-ordering of social hierarchies;
  • Convivialities and dialogues;
  • Mixing, mixedness and syncretism;
  • Diasporic and global youth cultures


The special issue will cover a broad range of themes and empirical, methodological and theoretical contributions. The articles will represent research projects that have incorporated a variety of methodological approaches, including ethnographic, visual and sonic methods. The issue will incorporate articles that collectively have an international scope. Some of the articles could also adopt a comparative approach across different countries or cities within a country. Overall the papers will work together as a means to pull out the role of particular contextual, cultural, social, economic and political factors in shaping people’s experiences and negotiations of race and its intersection with youth, gender, class and sexuality.

The special edition will contain five articles of 5000-8000 words with a separate 3-5,000 word introduction written by the editors.


Manuscripts should be submitted in electronic form online at http:/

Start the procedure by clicking the REGISTER button. We only accept articles (in English) that have not been published elsewhere and that have been anonymised.

References in both the text and end notes should follow Harvard style whereby references should be cited in the text as (author, date: page) and an alphabetical references section follows the text.

The deadline for submissions for this special edition is 30st April 2015

Guest editors: Bethan Harries, Sumi Hollingworth and Malcolm James.

Responsible journal editor: Katrine Fangen


About nicholasjoncrane

Assistant Professor of Geography at University of Wyoming
This entry was posted in Calls, Convocatorias, Children's Geographies, Young People, Politics, Youth Culture. Bookmark the permalink.

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