The constitution of youth: toward a genealogy of the discourse and government of youth

Anderson, A 2010, The constitution of youth: toward a genealogy of the discourse and government of youth, Doctor of Philosophy (PhD), Global Studies, Social Science and Planning, RMIT University.


Document type: Thesis
Collection: Theses

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Title The constitution of youth: toward a genealogy of the discourse and government of youth
Author(s) Anderson, A
Year 2010
Abstract This thesis concerns how we understand youth and how, as a result of this, we try to govern young people. More specifically it addresses the linkage of that governing with young people’s capacities for participation and autonomy. It examines this through a critical analysis of youth participation policies and programs recently introduced to reform the way young people are governed and the critical discourse of youth that defines an historical and continuing problem of youth marginalisation and repression to which these policies and programs are implemented as a solution. To produce this analysis it uses an approach which is derived from Michel Foucault’s discussion of governmentality and deploys his genealogical method. In line with that approach it introduces uncomfortable continuities between the 19th century concerns and practices for the government of boys in boarding schools and in prisons and the contemporary discourses and practices of youth participation such as those of the Youth Roundtable in Victoria. In doing so, it unsettles the critical discourse of youth that proposes that youth have a natural autonomy that has been marginalised and repressed by dominant ideologies and institutional treatment and that youth therefore need to be empowered or facilitated to use their autonomy and capacities for self-government and participate in decision-making. The thesis argues that youth participation is itself a form of government that exhibits the characteristics of a liberal governmentality and the critical discourse of youth is a regime of truth that makes it possible and plays a role in its operation.
Degree Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)
Institution RMIT University
School, Department or Centre Global Studies, Social Science and Planning
Keyword(s) youth
governmentality
genealogy
power-knowledge
youth participation
19th century public school reform
19th century prison reform
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Created: Thu, 14 Apr 2011, 17:13:23 EST by Guy Aron
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