Youth Futures: Comparative Research and Transformative Visions

By Jennifer Gidley; Sohail Inayatullah | Go to book overview

Chapter 1
Global Youth Culture:
A Transdisciplinary Perspective
Jennifer Gidley
YOUTH OF THE TWENTY-FIRST CENTURY: CHILDREN
OF THE MONOCULTURE
Any attempt to classify “youth” as a group belies the inherent diversity and heterogeneity, as well as the burgeoning individuality, of contemporary youth. Yet, increasingly, as an outcome of globalization over the past ten to fifteen years, the recognition of youth, globally, as a category of human existence requiring acknowledgment, has gained the attention and focus of such organizations as the United Nations (UN), especially UNESCO, the World Bank, and the World Health Organization (WHO).An “official” definition of youth, created by the United Nations General Assembly in 1999 for the International Youth Year, and refers to youth as “all persons falling between the ages of fifteen and twenty-four inclusive.”1 The limitations of this “definition” will be discussed later in this chapter in light of some psycho-social perspectives, including alternative images of youth since the Middle Ages. The ensuing chapters will present critical analysis of the construct of youth including multiple diverse constructions across a range of cultures. However, this UN definition has given rise to a global picture of the demographic composition of the “group of youth” worldwide.
The “Global Village” of Youth
If the 1 billion-plus youth who currently live in the world (approximately 18 percent of the global population) consisted of a village of one hundred people:
there would be fifty-one young men and forty-nine young women;
forty-nine would live in the village center and fifty-one in the rural outskirts;

-3-

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