Young people in public life

Event details

This interdisciplinary event brings together perspectives on the contested role that young people play as participants in public life. It interrogates the nature of public/private distinctions in youth political participation. The conversation is inspired by transformations in the nature of youth citizenship, which raise new questions about definitions of the political and social positionings that young people create through contemporary citizenship practices. The event welcomes researchers from a range of disciplines who wish to discuss these questions through their research.

On the one hand, young people are the targets of significant but highly contested efforts to educate them as particular kinds of citizens through instruction in global citizenship, cosmopolitanism, and formal political participation and to encourage them to be entrepreneurial, reflexive, and self-governing subjects who actualise their citizenship in a range of marketplaces. Young people have also been at the forefront of contemporary social movements on climate change and precarious work, reframing the nature of activism and public participation.

On the other hand, it has become necessary to recognise forms of political participation and citizenship in new arenas: researchers now explore the political dimensions of everyday life in the identities, social and intimate relationships, consumption and leisure practices, and modes of belonging, including how these are enacted both inside and outside of schools, universities, workplaces and other arenas of public life.

Speaker profile

Dr Jacqueline Kennelly

Dr Jacqueline Kennelly is a Full Professor in the Department of Sociology and Anthropology and the founding Director of the Centre for Urban Youth Research (CUYR) at Carleton University (Ottawa, Canada).

Dr Kennelly’s current research focuses on activist and homeless young people’s experiences of democracy, citizenship and public life, schools as sites of youth homelessness prevention, and the experiences of young people who have left homelessness and are now living in diverse forms of affordable housing. She uses qualitative and participatory methods, with a strong commitment to engaging young people as co-researchers and knowledge producers.

Her books include: Burnt by Democracy: Youth, Inequality, and the Erosion of Civic Life (University of Toronto Press, 2023), Olympic Exclusions: Youth, Poverty, and Social Legacies (Routledge 2016), Citizen Youth: Culture, Activism, and Agency in a Neoliberal Era (Palgrave MacMillan, 2011), Lost Youth in the Global City: Class, Culture, and the Urban Imaginary (co-authored with J. Dillabough, Routledge, 2010), and Phenomenology of Youth Cultures and Globalization: Lifeworlds and Surplus Meanings in Changing Times (co-edited with S. Poyntz, Routledge 2015).

Her work has appeared in several national and international peer-reviewed journals, including the British Journal of Sociology of Education, British Journal of Criminology, Sociology, Review of Education, Pedagogy, and Cultural Studies, Citizenship Studies, Visual Studies, Journal of Youth Studies, Ethnography, Feminist Theory, Young, Sociological Research Online, Gender and Education, Canadian Review of Sociology, Qualitative Research, and Gender, Place, and Culture.