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Youth for Sale: Using Critical Disability Perspectives to Examine the Embodiment of ‘Youth’

Author

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  • Jenny Slater

    () (Room 10110, Arundel Building, Sheffield Hallam University, 122 Charles Street, Sheffield, South Yorkshire S1 2NE, UK)

Abstract

‘Youth’ is more complicated than an age-bound period of life; although implicitly paired with developmentalism, youth is surrounded by contradictory discourses. In other work [1], I have asserted that young people are demonized as risky and rebellious, whilst simultaneously criticized for being lazy and apathetic; two intertwining, yet conflicting discourses meaning that young people’s here-and-now experiences take a backseat to a focus on reaching idealized, neoliberal adulthood [2]. Critical examination of adulthood ideals, however, shows us that ‘youthfulness’ is itself presented as a goal of adulthood [3–5], as there is a desire, as adults, to remain forever young [6]. As Blatterer puts it, the ideal is to be “adult and youthful but not adolescent” ([3], p. 74). This paper attempts to untangle some of the youth/adult confusion by asking how the aspiration/expectation of a youthful body plays out in the embodied lives of young dis/abled people. To do this, I use a feminist-disability lens to consider youth in an abstracted form, not as a life-stage, but as the end goal of an aesthetic project of the self that we are all (to differing degrees) encouraged to set out upon.

Suggested Citation

  • Jenny Slater, 2012. "Youth for Sale: Using Critical Disability Perspectives to Examine the Embodiment of ‘Youth’," Societies, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 2(3), pages 1-15, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsoctx:v:2:y:2012:i:3:p:195-209:d:20067
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    youth; disability; feminist; feminist-disability; embodiment; time; crip time; sociology of childhood; commodification;

    JEL classification:

    • A13 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Relation of Economics to Social Values
    • A14 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics - - - Sociology of Economics
    • P - Economic Systems
    • P0 - Economic Systems - - General
    • P1 - Economic Systems - - Capitalist Systems
    • P2 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Systems and Transition Economies
    • P3 - Economic Systems - - Socialist Institutions and Their Transitions
    • P4 - Economic Systems - - Other Economic Systems
    • P5 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems
    • Z1 - Other Special Topics - - Cultural Economics

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