Young People’s Constructions of Identities: Global Perspectives

A special issue of Societies (ISSN 2075-4698).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 November 2023) | Viewed by 17961

Special Issue Editor


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Guest Editor
Politics and Education, London Metropolitan University, London N7 8DB, UK
Interests: political learning and understanding (particularly of citizenship education and young people; on educational policies for equality and the recognition of diversity, and on the curriculum); political understanding of young Europeans; young people

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues, 

Young people in an increasingly globalised society are presented with a diverse range of potential characteristics of identity. Ascribed social identities now appear to be less significant, and achieved identities more possible in many contemporary societies (see, for example, Brubaker’s (2016) Trans: Gender and Race in an Age of Unsettled Identities), using a broad post-structural understanding of identity (Fisher et al. 2020).

This Special Issue seeks to explore how young people negotiate the construction of multiple identities, looking at the processes by which they manage this, rather than the specifics of what they accomplish. We are seeking articles that draw on empirical data from a range of societies, and/or theoretical overviews of the topic. ‘Young people’ are not defined, and may be of any age under approximately thirty. Prospective authors are welcome to correspond with the editor before submitting a proposal, if they wish.

Brubaker, Rogers (2016) Trans: Gender and race in an Age of Unsettled Identities. Princeton  NJ: Princeton University Press

Fisher, Linda,  Michael Evans, Karen Forbes, Angela Gayton & Yongcan Liu (2020) Participative multilingual identity construction in the languages classroom: a multi-theoretical conceptualisation, International Journal of Multilingualism, 17:4, 448-466

Publisher’s statement

Societies (ISSN 2075-4698) is an interdisciplinary journal that brings together different scientific approaches to engage with societal questions to enhance our understanding of the social realm throughout history. The journal publishes original empirical research papers, literature reviews, and conceptual papers. Our aim is to publish papers that are of significant impact on addressing present and emerging societal questions. Therefore, we encourage researchers to publish their results in as much detail as possible. For empirical research papers and literature reviews all experimental details must be provided, so that the results are reproducible. We also encourage the publication of timely theoretical pieces on topics of interest to existing and emerging societal questions.

Contributions have to follow one of the three categories of papers (article, conceptual paper, or review) of the journal and address the topic of the Special Issue.

Timescale

1 December 2022: call for papers, production of list of invited contributors and provisional titles
  invited contributors to submit provisional synopses (c 200 words)
30 January 2023: final date for submission of other proposals and synopses
28 February 2023: distribution of list of all accepted proposals for Special Issue circulated to all author
  Articles may be submitted at any point from this date to 30th August: submission before this date is welcome. Peer review processes will begin from the date of submission
1 November 2023: final date for submission of articles to editor

Prof. Dr. Alistair Ross
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as conceptual papers are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Societies is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • young people/youth
  • identities
  • social construction

Published Papers (9 papers)

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15 pages, 598 KiB  
Article
How Young Italians Negotiate and Redefine Their Identity in the Mobility Experience
by Mauro Giardiello, Hernan I. Cuervo and Rosa Capobianco
Societies 2024, 14(2), 20; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc14020020 - 6 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1365
Abstract
In this article we analyze the formation of different identity models of Italian young people experiencing mobility. The article contributes to study the link between youth mobility and identity. It does so through the development of a theoretical perspective that combines Butler’s post-structuralism [...] Read more.
In this article we analyze the formation of different identity models of Italian young people experiencing mobility. The article contributes to study the link between youth mobility and identity. It does so through the development of a theoretical perspective that combines Butler’s post-structuralism with Bourdieu’s category of embodied cultural capital. Drawing on this theoretical framework, we analyze the identity formation of young Italians who emigrated to Australia in the last 10 years. The data show the emergence of an identity made up of a complex set of interconnected levels, composed of an incorporated dimension that constitutes the basis of their roots and the performative part that represents the mobile dimension subject to transformation in the course of life evolution. This interpretative lens enables the understanding of how the process of incorporation is connected to the performative and self-transformative one of identity, but also how the different combination of fixed and mobile aspects defines different profiles of identity and a different way of perceiving being Italians. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Young People’s Constructions of Identities: Global Perspectives)
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20 pages, 1231 KiB  
Article
Young People’s Construction of Identity in the Context of Southern Europe: Finding Leads for Citizenship Education
by Thiago Freires, Leanete Thomas Dotta and Fátima Pereira
Societies 2024, 14(1), 9; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc14010009 - 12 Jan 2024
Viewed by 1566
Abstract
Identity building can be understood as a fluid process informed by sociocultural aspects and encompassing a strong dimension of othering. Relying on the notion of narrative identity, in this article, we explore the ways in which young people raise and discuss values (human [...] Read more.
Identity building can be understood as a fluid process informed by sociocultural aspects and encompassing a strong dimension of othering. Relying on the notion of narrative identity, in this article, we explore the ways in which young people raise and discuss values (human dignity, freedom, solidarity, etc.). To do this, we draw on a set of data collected through deliberative discussions with 378 young people (11 to 20 years old) from four Southern European countries: Portugal, Spain, Italy, and Cyprus. These small group discussions confronted young people about their identification with their country and with Europe. Using thematic and descriptive analysis, we investigate the relationships established by young people with values spontaneously raised by them to build on identity formation. Our results reinforce identity as being constituted in varying forms across the European regions, with relation to values being plural. Yet, there is a strong reference to process values in the four participating countries, such as solidarity and equality, which seem to inform a narrative of an “inclusive Europe”, where community ties matter. Because some level of controversy about values is observed, however, we argue that it could constitute a valuable aspect to inform activities in the field of citizenship education. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Young People’s Constructions of Identities: Global Perspectives)
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11 pages, 248 KiB  
Article
Young People Developing Their Identity Perception and Values: How Can School Support Such a Process by Bringing in Controversial Issues?
by Juliana Crespo Lopes and Bodil Liljefors Persson
Societies 2023, 13(12), 260; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc13120260 - 15 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1370
Abstract
This article draws upon group conversations with young people (11–19 years old) from Europe, focusing on the Nordic countries. The participants’ identity perception showed more aspects as the deliberative, non-structured conversations advanced. From initially showing limited aspects of identity as being related to [...] Read more.
This article draws upon group conversations with young people (11–19 years old) from Europe, focusing on the Nordic countries. The participants’ identity perception showed more aspects as the deliberative, non-structured conversations advanced. From initially showing limited aspects of identity as being related to geographical and temporal aspects, a broader comprehension of identities as constructed, multiple, and at times subject to negotiation and change came to the fore during the discussions. Examples given showed an awareness that people, such as older relatives, develop diverse ways of thinking and acting due to historical and cultural contexts. Understanding that there is an intersection between psychosocial, post-structural, and sociocultural explanations for how identity formation progresses, we propose pedagogical actions working with controversial issues and values, raising critical consciousness of the context. During the conversations, a majority expressed that controversial issues were not something they dealt with at school. By working with controversial issues, the content of conflicts is made visible, and the possibility for students to recognize and respect each other’s diverse identities and perceptions increases. The goal of bringing controversial issues into education and conducting good discussions in the classroom is to help students develop and assess their opinions, gain an increased understanding, and consider new perspectives on various issues. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Young People’s Constructions of Identities: Global Perspectives)
12 pages, 256 KiB  
Article
Identity and Multiplicity of Belonging in a Europe in Search of Democracy
by Sandra Chistolini, Andrea Porcarelli and Emilio Lastrucci
Societies 2023, 13(12), 247; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc13120247 - 28 Nov 2023
Viewed by 1810
Abstract
The research we present concerns the narratives of political and social identity of young adolescents sampled in Northern, Central and Southern Italy. Our qualitative analysis is based on constructivism and aims to enhance narratives by privileging the communication of meanings elaborated by the [...] Read more.
The research we present concerns the narratives of political and social identity of young adolescents sampled in Northern, Central and Southern Italy. Our qualitative analysis is based on constructivism and aims to enhance narratives by privileging the communication of meanings elaborated by the young people. Consistent with this perspective is our choice of the paradigm of pedagogical personalism, which places the human being as a ‘person’ at the center of reflection. The diverse universe of youth manifests multifaceted aspects that it is possible to bring out using interaction with deliberative, open, and non-pre-conceptual discussion. The link between semantic cores such as democracy, freedom, rights, interculturalism, and citizenship runs through the analyses of the entire research (based on the study by Ross’s work in 2019, Finding Political Identities: Young People in a Changing Europe), examined here specifically in the Italian context. The article presents some contrasting aspects of the way young people living in Europe. They harbor uncertainties and discontinuities from the universe of values inherited from previous generations. However, from the tunnel of doubt young people show that they know how to emerge by outlining the forms of a promise of social commitment containing a hope for change, defined as the design of a future in which alternatives to the current situation can be found. In the background, the theme of democracy shows as an aspiration for something still struggling to be born. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Young People’s Constructions of Identities: Global Perspectives)
13 pages, 1165 KiB  
Article
Youth Democratic Political Identity and Disaffection: Active Citizenship and Participation to Counteract Populism and Polarization in Barcelona
by Miquel Àngel Essomba, Maria Nadeu and Anna Tarrés
Societies 2023, 13(12), 245; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc13120245 - 25 Nov 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 2050
Abstract
Globally, youth satisfaction with democracy is declining—not only in absolute terms, but also relative to how older generations felt at the same stage in their lives. Young people’s democratic political identity is lower than any other age group. One can point to concrete [...] Read more.
Globally, youth satisfaction with democracy is declining—not only in absolute terms, but also relative to how older generations felt at the same stage in their lives. Young people’s democratic political identity is lower than any other age group. One can point to concrete factors to explain such declines—ranging from the growth of youth unemployment to the persistence of corruption and poverty in new democracies. Growing discontent with living conditions is taken advantage of by populist leaders. This populist rule—whether from the right or the left—has a highly negative effect on democratic political identities (especially on youth) and can lead to a significant risk of democratic erosion. Our research aims to explore the significance of youth identification with democracy, and their participation approaches as an alternative to the decline in democratic quality in Barcelona, Spain. Using quantitative data collection and analysis, in this article we present the first results of our research and suggest a path for further investigation. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Young People’s Constructions of Identities: Global Perspectives)
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23 pages, 3097 KiB  
Article
Exploring the Linguistic and Cultural Identities of Transnational Background Children in Catalonia, Spain
by Claudia Vallejo Rubinstein and Valeria Tonioli
Societies 2023, 13(10), 221; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc13100221 - 11 Oct 2023
Viewed by 2655
Abstract
This article explores linguistic and cultural identities as they emerge in ethnographic data from plurilingual children with transnational and ethnic minority backgrounds in Catalonia, Spain. The particular sociolinguistic and multicultural context where these young people currently live, characterised by the coexistence of local, [...] Read more.
This article explores linguistic and cultural identities as they emerge in ethnographic data from plurilingual children with transnational and ethnic minority backgrounds in Catalonia, Spain. The particular sociolinguistic and multicultural context where these young people currently live, characterised by the coexistence of local, national and heritage languages with unequal social status, as well as their own trajectories and experiences of socialisation, implies that they often forge complex “in-between” linguistic and cultural identities and senses of belonging. To reflect on these complexities, we analyse multimodal data from transnational- and minority-background children as they participate in an autobiographical activity aimed at promoting linguistically and culturally inclusive pedagogical approaches and participatory action research (PAR). The analysis shows that children’s identity constructions fluently intertwine elements from their “home” and “host” languages and cultures with features characteristic of child/youth popular cultures, and with adscriptions to diverse real and imagined communities. These hybrid articulations, which can be described as plurilingual and transcultural, foreground how identity is both an individual and a social process, transversed by different axes, including cultural and ethnic referents, linguistic repertoires, historic, family and personal trajectories, urban cultures and the influence of friends and peers, among others. The identification of these emergent traits in our data foregrounds both the particularities and commonalities of pupils’ identity construction, which challenges and reshapes traditional understandings of identity. Finally, this work aims to illustrate how transnational children’s complex senses of being and belonging can be recognised and supported through inclusive pedagogical proposals as the one described herein. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Young People’s Constructions of Identities: Global Perspectives)
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11 pages, 412 KiB  
Article
Identities in Troubled Times: Minoritized Youth in Hong Kong’s “Summer of Protest”
by Kerry J. Kennedy, Jan Christian Gube and Miron Kumar Bhowmik
Societies 2023, 13(10), 217; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc13100217 - 2 Oct 2023
Viewed by 1238
Abstract
Discursive experiences can contribute to shaping lives and their identities. For minoritized youth in Hong Kong, the 2019 protest movement provided many such experiences, although very little has been heard about them. Instead, reporting has focused on the experiences of the dominant Chinese [...] Read more.
Discursive experiences can contribute to shaping lives and their identities. For minoritized youth in Hong Kong, the 2019 protest movement provided many such experiences, although very little has been heard about them. Instead, reporting has focused on the experiences of the dominant Chinese population. This paper aims to highlight the voices of minoritized youth in relation to the social movement that dominated Hong Kong in the second half of 2019. It is well recognized that identity is not fixed and that there are more likely multiple identities that transition from one to the other. Yet little is known about the influences on identity formation and the processes that underlie them. This was the issue addressed here. The paper draws on Lacan’s theory of identity in examining interviews involving minoritized youth and their engagement in Hong Kong’s 2019 protest movement. It shows how individual responses to the movement differed, how the movement challenged identities, and how these challenges were resolved. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Young People’s Constructions of Identities: Global Perspectives)
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20 pages, 14156 KiB  
Article
Street Art in Aveiro: City Walls as Dialogic Spaces of Collective Memories and Identity
by Anabela V. Simões
Societies 2023, 13(3), 54; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc13030054 - 25 Feb 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2493
Abstract
In urban centers around the world, street art has become an unavoidable element of the landscape. Located in west-central Portugal, Aveiro is no exception to this trend, and the art form has been used to enhance the cultural vibrancy of a place where [...] Read more.
In urban centers around the world, street art has become an unavoidable element of the landscape. Located in west-central Portugal, Aveiro is no exception to this trend, and the art form has been used to enhance the cultural vibrancy of a place where tourism is one of the most important economic pillars. Seeking to look beyond the value of street art as a tourism product, by combining observations and photos from field research with bibliographic and documental data, as well as residents’ responses on social media, this paper adopts an autoethnographic approach to offer an exploratory, (self-)reflexive perspective on how street art has evolved into a phenomenon that has contributed to locals’ cultural identity (re)construction. Drawing on Jan Assmann’s cultural memory theory, it is argued that street art can be understood as a form of communicative memory, an ephemeral vehicle into our history, knowledge, traditions and practices, one that, by retelling the story of who we are, stimulates awareness of selfhood and a feeling of belonging to a place and a community. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Young People’s Constructions of Identities: Global Perspectives)
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23 pages, 307 KiB  
Concept Paper
Social Theory and Navigating Indeterminacy: A Configurational Analysis of Iranian Youth’s Identity Construction in Contemporary Iran
by Abbas Jong
Societies 2024, 14(3), 32; https://doi.org/10.3390/soc14030032 - 21 Feb 2024
Viewed by 1852
Abstract
An emerging disparity within contemporary social science highlights a disconnection between the world in the process of metamorphosing and cosmopolitanization and the knowledge of the social world that is still trapped in the cognitive assumptions of modern episteme, which provided the conditions for [...] Read more.
An emerging disparity within contemporary social science highlights a disconnection between the world in the process of metamorphosing and cosmopolitanization and the knowledge of the social world that is still trapped in the cognitive assumptions of modern episteme, which provided the conditions for the emergence of modern social sciences a century ago. This divide inhibits the efficacy of social analysis in comprehending and elucidating contemporary phenomena. This article advocates for a shift in the ontology of social theory and science towards the cosmopolitanization of the world, characterized by the prioritization of indeterminacy and fluidity in the construction of social phenomena. It investigates the epistemological implications and prerequisites of this ontological transformation, favoring a post-foundationalist approach as the most suitable epistemological framework. In response to the challenges posed by the uncertainty and indeterminacy of cosmopolitanization, after reviewing some of the existing theoretical efforts to address and provide alternatives to this challenge, the article proposes the examination of social configurations as the most fitting subjects for study. This approach necessitates the suspension of conventional, given, regulated categories, and trans-historical theories. It underscores the importance of recognizing configurations as incomplete, contingent units shaped within specific historical contexts and moments. The fluidity, relationality, and indeterminacy of configurations situated between the universal and the singular make them suitable for analysis at the level of particular. After elaborating on the most important features of social configurations, finally, by employing the proposed theoretical framework, this article aims to investigate its effectiveness in analyzing the process of identity construction among Iranian youth in Tehran in the context of the cosmopolitanization of reality, particularly in the face of the Islamist regime of Iran’s official politics of identity. Through a review and revision of selected empirical studies on youth identity construction in the consumer spaces of Tehran, based on the idea of social configurations within the framework of cosmopolitanization, it is argued that the genuine understanding of identity politics in contemporary Iran is not rooted in conventional analytical norms and categories but rather in a comprehensible conceptual apparatus characterized by fluidity and indeterminacy, capable of effectively making sense of the conflict between the politics of determinacy and indeterminacy in Iranian everyday life. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Young People’s Constructions of Identities: Global Perspectives)
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