Youth Futures: Comparative Research and Transformative Visions

By Jennifer Gidley; Sohail Inayatullah | Go to book overview

Preface
Youth Futures: The Terrain

Jennifer Gidley and Sohail Inayatullah

Youth around the globe are struggling to make sense of a world that has lost its meaning for them (both in postmodern Western societies and mixed—traditional, modern, and postmodern—Asian and African societies).

Growing into a time of the most rapid change known to history—as evidenced by trends such as globalization, genomics, global governance, virtualization, and terrorism—the line between adapting and falling off is a very fine one. We hear so much about the rise in youth suicide and youth violence, yet many young people have positive—indeed transformational—ideas about the future that go unheard. Furthermore, too little attention is given in contemporary policy-making, education, and community development to the hopes, dreams, fears, and anticipations of young people. As a global society, we are failing to actively listen to what young people are saying about the future. Instead we stereotype and disenfranchise them. This lack of dialogue on crucial questions of building less violent, more equitable, and more environmentally sustainable futures indicates insufficient foresight and empathy as well as structural problems in the world economy (in terms of who gets what) and imperialism associated with cultural hegemony (in terms of who defines reality—what is truth, reality, and beauty).


DEFINING THE AREA

Youth futures can be defined initially as how young people think about and envision the future (probable, possible, and preferred). Youth itself is defined demographically as those humans between the ages of fifteen and twenty-five. In Chapter 1, Gidley includes critical analysis of how youth are defined, categorized, and conceptualized.

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