Global Urban Youth in the Midst of Precarization of Life: Towards the Formulation of New Claims For Social Justice

“Youth make up the core of the precariat and will have to take the lead in forging a viable future for it. Youth has always been the repository of anger about the present and the harbinger of a better tomorrow” (Standing 2011: 113). While claims for social justice and against increasing precariousness in the lives of many urbanites are en vogue, research on urban inequalities has been late in putting the focus on youth as one of the groups mostly faced with multiple forms of precarization (see e.g. Comaroff & Comaroff, 2005; Blossfeld et al,. 2011). Urban youth are increasingly working in atypical and insecure employment, which makes it difficult for them to meet the expectations of an independent adult life. Precarization in work thus spreads into other realms of their urban life, such as housing and affective social relations. At the same time, urban youth have more chances to grasp resources through the fluid network of social infrastructures which make up the “urban vortex” in which they live (Hall & Savage, 2016). Our panel explores the new life and labour conditions of young urban residents. More specifically, we want to investigate how youth in urban settings across the globe deal with precariousness in their daily life. More concretely, we see new lines of inequality arising according to the different forms of access to resources, knowledge, goods and education, which are important to address. We welcome paper submissions from most varying contexts across the urban world which problematize precarious youth in regard to consequences for social justice in cities. On the basis of such comparative picture of urban youth today, our panel aims to develop new claims for social justice. This means to open up a discussion about the living conditions of the next urban generations, in order to formulate alternatives to the dystopian scenarios proposed by present capitalism, in which increasing insecurity and instability are the norm.


Eleni Triantafyllopoulou,  Humboldt University of Berlin

Stefania Animento, Universitá di Milano Bicocca

Nina Margies, Humboldt University of Berlin