Youthful concerns: Movement, belonging and modernity

Jennifer Roth-Gordon and T.E. Woronov


This commentary explores the links between language, modernity, and young people’s movement – within nations and across borders. Given the scope and pace of globalization and transnational migration, this movement has created a good deal of local and national anxiety over how youth are negotiating their rights to belong – in schools, in cities, and in nation-states. The commentary addresses how youth must be understood as specifically modern subjects, in Foucault’s sense of the term, including how they both utilize and trouble the binary categories associated with modernity, the ways that modern young subjects are constructed through discourses of sexuality, and the ways that young people are disciplined in specific social spaces. In addition to the possibility of hybridity and invention suggested by the juxtaposition of family and peer cultural traditions, the commentary asks how new youth styles also involve the disciplining of youthful bodies by institutions, family members, and peers.

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