Elusive 'youth'

Bragg, Sara and Buckingham, David (2014). Elusive 'youth'. In: Buckingham, David; Bragg, Sara and Kehily, Mary eds. Youth Cultures in the Age of Global Media. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, pp. 273–287.

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Abstract

This concluding chapter will look back over the volume as a whole. As the contributing authors have explored, ‘youth’ has been variously imagined, represented, invoked, deployed, researched and addressed, its reference point acquiring in the process a somewhat elusive quality. Yet, by contrast, in fields such as education, politics, research and governance, there is a growing movement to promote, engage and listen to ‘youth voice’. In these contexts, the category of youth is once more stabilised, assigned attributes of obviousness and authenticity, and the participatory dimensions of new media are celebrated as the transparent means by which youth can be accessed. The chapter will review and critique these developments, before going on to explore how the kinds of critical, reflexive research discussed in this volume might help us respond theoretically, politically and methodologically to the demand for ‘youth voice’. The chapter will seek to identify principles for future research and practice, yet respect the elusiveness of youth for which our contributors have, collectively, argued.

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