Introduction: youth, subjectivity and Utopia: ethnographic perspectives from the Global South

Oscar Salemink, Susanne Bregnbæk, Dan Hirslund

Research output: Contribution to journalEditorial


As a fluid age cohort and a social category between childhood and adulthood – and hence with tenuous links to the status quo – youth are variously described as ‘at risk’, as victims of precarious and unpredictable circumstances, or as agents of social change who embody the future. From this future-oriented generational perspective, youth are often mobilised to individually and collectively imagine, enact and embody Utopian futures as alternatives to reigning orders that moulded their subjectivities but simultaneously fail them. The papers in this issue look at how divergent Utopias inspire strategies, whereby young people come together in transient communities to ‘catch’ a fleeting future, cultivate alternative subjectivities and thus assume a sense of minimum control over their life trajectories, if only momentarily. This special issue of Identities explores the individual and collective strategies at play when political and religiously inspired Utopias motivate youth in the Global South to imagine, enact and embody what was missing in the past and present.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)125-139
Number of pages15
Publication statusPublished - 4 Mar 2018


  • youth
  • subjectivity
  • utopia
  • global south
  • generation
  • future


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