Youth violence ? international and historical perspectives
Youth violence in the countries of the South has increasingly become
the focus of international debate and scientific research, not least
because of demographic trends in these countries (often referred to as
so-called ?youth bulges?). Countries with a high proportion of young
people who are ?trapped? in a state of youth due to social and
economic circumstances, and thus deterred from making the transition
to adulthood are generally said to be more prone to violence (in the
form of ?terrorism?, civil wars etc.) than those with lower
percentages of youths. However, the phenomenon of youth violence ? and
of ?extended youth? likewise ? is, albeit highly apparent in the
countries of the South, in no way limited to these countries, but also
increasingly debated in western industrial nations.
Against this backdrop, international comparative perspectives are
deemed necessary which explore cross-national similarities in
different phenomena of youth violence (such as street gangs, youth
vigilantes, and amok runs). But, at the same time, the limits of
international comparative studies, e. g. the applicability of theories
and methods derived from research in ?western? settings, should be
highlighted as well. Micro-level, empirically grounded qualitative
studies might be of great value in this regard.
Moreover, it is often claimed that youth violence is increasing. In
order to take a more nuanced and critical position on this claim we
require both studies that are based on internationally comparable
quantitative databases and historical analyses.
Last but not least ? but in fact rather as a first step ? we have to
reflect on the notion and concept of ?youth violence? itself since
both ?youth? and ?violence? are ?slippery? and highly ?contested?
Contributions from all disciplines concerned with youth violence are
invited. They should focus on the following issues:
? How can we account for comparability both theoretically and empirically?
? What are the limits of cross-cultural research in the field?
? How can global social dynamics (e.g. the phenomenon of ?extended
youth?, ?globalized? youth cultures, embeddedness in global markets
etc.) in the form of the background context or analytical concepts be
incorporated into the analysis of different forms of youth violence?
? For which phenomena of youth violence do we observe increasing
tendencies? Which forms have decreased historically?
? What are possible explanations for such tendencies?
? How do different attempts to prevent youth violence and changes in
?cultures of control? affect the emergence of the phenomena of youth
? What are specific characteristics of youth violence besides the fact
that the perpetrators are of a younger age?
? What are the salient spatial dimensions of youth violence (e.g.
? What is the role of different contexts on youth violence (e.g.,
empirical investigations of the same phenomenon of youth violence,
such as street gangs, in ?non-war societies?, in a war context, in
?neither-war-nor-peace context?, and post-war societies)?
The issue is projected to appear in 2/2011 (October/November 2011).
Papers (40.000 characters incl. spaces) are expected by March 2011.
For further information on formal aspects and review criteria please
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IKG Institute for Interdisciplinary Research
on Conflict and Violence
University of Bielefeld (S5-122)