Call for Abstracts: Youth, Place and Theories of Belonging

BSA Sociological Futures Proposal

Youth, Place and Theories of Belonging



Edited by:

Garth Stahl, PhD

Sadia Habib, PhD

Mike Ward, PhD


This proposed edited collection draws on interdisciplinary perspectives of space and place in order to investigate young people’s identities.  The goal is to assemble an international collection which enhances our understanding of the theories employed in the study of youth identity practices as they negotiate a sense of belonging.  More specifically, we seek to understand the manner in which the practices, discourses and ethos of a particular locales, spaces and institutions shape the dispositions and ‘ways of being’ for young people (Stahl and Habib, 2016).

How young people’s negotiate belonging in everyday life remains an emerging area of scholarship, with conceptual overlaps in how youth come to understand their positions in fragmented societies (cf. Clayton, 2011; Hopkins, 2010; Sanderson & Thomas, 2014). The field of youth studies has seen an emphasis recently on how youth respond to social changes, contribute to social cohesion/fragmentation, and live out everyday multiculturalism in an increasingly globalised world (Butcher & Harris, 2010). On one hand, young people are depicted as enabling ‘multicultural nation-building and social cohesion’, whilst on the other, they are paradoxically represented as ‘those most inclined towards regressive nationalism, fundamentalism and racism’ (Butcher & Harris, 2010: 449).  However, the role of place and belonging is often absent in both theoretical approaches.

Identity construction takes place in and through the making of places, defined by Relph (1976, 141) as “directly experienced phenomena of the lived-world” and “fusions of human and natural order [that] are the significant centres of our immediate experiences of the world.”  Theories of social change such as those of Beck (1992) and Giddens (1991) have had a significant impact on the sociology of youth (Woodman 2009). However, as Farrugia argues: “”The image of a homogeneous modernity must be replaced by a spatialised sociology of youth biographies that is open to the geographies of inequality that structure youth transitions” (2013, 300).  Fundamental to research on youth, young people can construct status and meaningful identities for themselves through conceptions of belonging, investment in peer cultures and via relationships with ‘territories’ and places.

This proposed collection seeks theory-driven work on youth and belonging from diverse contexts.  Empirical studies are welcomed but the emphasis should be on evaluating theoretical approaches to conceptions of youth and belonging. Submissions might consider: the rural, urban, the Global North/South, the local/national/transnational, and transitions, displacements and mobilities.  Chapters could also reference key sites and institutions in young people’s lives: school/college, home, places of worship, community/cultural centres, sport/youth clubs, the street, spaces of consumption, juvenile detentions, refugee camps, the (territorial) army/cadets/scouts etc.

Indicative topics may include, but are not limited to, the following theoretical engagements with:

  • The spatial dimensions of established themes in youth studies, such as youth transitions, cultures/subcultures;
  • The spatial dimensions of social divisions such as class, gender or race in reference to belonging;
  • Spatially informed local, national or international comparisons;
  • Mobilities, immobilities and displacement/diaspora;
  • Critical pedagogies of place;
  • Neoliberalisation, glocalisation and superdiversity.

Instructions for Submissions

Authors are invited to discuss proposed chapters with the editors.

Interested scholars are encouraged to submit a 250 word abstract by 15th December 2016 to:
Dr Garth Stahl, University of South Australia –

Dr Sadia Habib –

Dr Mike Ward –

We aim to submit full proposal to BSA Sociological Futures on Jan 15th 2017.  At this point in time though we only require abstracts.


Categories: Call for Papers, Committing Sociology, Rethinking The World, Social Theory, Sociology of Education

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3 replies »

  1. Hello
    I am just finding this information now and inquiring if it is too late to submit anything.

  2. Hi Susan. Many thanks for your comment. Unfortunately the deadline has passed. Kindest regards. Sadia.

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