Historically, anthropological texts that spoke of children and youth did so through the lens of cultural development—the ways in which culture is transmitted to younger people— and included discussions about: rites of passage, the development of gender roles, liminality and the transition from childhood into adulthood in various societies. These articles served to inform an anthropological understanding of specific and general life stages to account for the role of youth in a given culture.
More recently, this literature has begun to consider more closely the perspectives of youth and the specific challenges they face. The ways in which youth see and experience social success or turmoil is often distinct from the experiences of adults. Often these experiences lay a foundation that can inform decisions they might make later in life. For a wide range of reasons, youth are often subject to increased regimes of surveillance and punishment by peers, family, society and the state. As cultural agents, young people have long held the interest of anthropologists for these and other reasons. However, it is often difficult to study youth for issues ranging from access to ethics.
So how do we look at the lives of youth, their voices and experiences? They are not yet adults, but are active cultural agents experiencing their social worlds through a unique (and often underrepresented) lens.
The articles in this section reveal the ways authors in Cultural Anthropology have been considering the role of youth over the past twenty years. It can be seen as a resource for those who are working with youth—it also illustrates the diverse approaches one can take when considering studying, and representing, youth.
FATHERS, SONS, AND THE STATE: Discipline and Punishment in a Wolof Hinterland
Donna L. Perry
Cultural Anthropology Feb. 2009, Vol. 24, No. 1: 33-67
The City as Barracks: Freetown, Monrovia, and the Organization of Violence in Postcolonial African Cities
Cultural Anthropology Aug. 2007, Vol. 22, No. 3: 400-428.
Supplemental Material and Discussion
Rose-Colored Glasses? Color Revolutions and Cartoon Chaos in Postsocialist Georgia
Cultural Anthropology May 2007, Vol. 22, No. 2: 171-213.
Displacing Violence: Making Pentecostal Memory in Postwar Sierra Leone
Cultural Anthropology Feb. 2007, Vol. 22, No. 1: 66-93.
Technologies of the Voice: FM Radio, Telephone, and the Nepali Diaspora in Kathmandu
Cultural Anthropology Aug. 2006, Vol. 21, No. 3: 323-353.
Cultural Sovereignty in a Global Art Economy: Egyptian Cultural Policy and the New Western Interest in Art from the Middle East
Cultural Anthropology May 2006, Vol. 21, No. 2: 173-204.
Borderland Pop: Arab Jewish Musicians and the Politics of Performance
Cultural Anthropology May 2006, Vol. 21, No. 2: 205-233.
Tracking Properness: Repackaging Culture in a Remote Australian Town
Cultural Anthropology Aug. 2006, Vol. 21, No. 3: 416-446.
Between Cinema and Social Work: Diasporic Turkish Women and the (Dis)Pleasures of Hybridity
Katherine Pratt Ewing
Cultural Anthropology May 2006, Vol. 21, No. 2: 265-294.
The Measure of Mercy: Islamic Justice, Sovereign Power, and Human Rights in Iran
Cultural Anthropology Nov. 2006, Vol. 21, No. 4: 570-602.
Empty Citizenship: Protesting Politics in the Era of Globalization
Cultural Anthropology Nov. 2005, Vol. 20, No. 4: 506-533.
“Dangerous Instrumentality”: The Bystander as Subject in Automobility
Sarah S. Lochlann Jain
Cultural Anthropology Feb. 2004, Vol. 19, No. 1: 61-94.
Subsumption or Consumption? The Phantom of Consumer Revolution in "Globalizing" China
Cultural Anthropology Nov. 2003, Vol. 18, No. 4: 469-492.
Phantasms in a "Starry" Place: Space and Identification in a Central New Delhi Market
Cultural Anthropology Nov. 2003, Vol. 18, No. 4: 551-584.
Violence and the Rhetoric of Images
Cultural Anthropology Aug. 2003, Vol. 18, No. 3: 398-428.
Supplemental Material and Discussion
Authorizing a Disability Agency in Post-Mao China: Deng Pufang's Story as Biomythography
Cultural Anthropology Feb. 2003, Vol. 18, No. 1: 99-131.
Of Mimicry and Membership: Africans and the "New World Society"
James G. Ferguson
Cultural Anthropology Nov. 2002, Vol. 17, No. 4: 551-569.
Thug Realism: Inhabiting Fantasy in Urban Tanzania
Cultural Anthropology Feb. 2002, Vol. 17, No. 1: 93-124.
Cyborg Violence: Bursting Borders and Bodies with Queer Machines
Cultural Anthropology May 2001, Vol. 16, No. 2: 237-265.
Geographies of Gender and Politics: The Place of Difference in Polynesian Nationalism
Deborah A. Elliston
Cultural Anthropology May 2000, Vol. 15, No. 2: 171-216.
Politics without a Head: Is the "Love Parade" a New Form of Political Identification?
John Borneman , Stefan Senders
Cultural Anthropology May 2000, Vol. 15, No. 2: 294-317.
Identity Dub: The Paradoxes of an Indian American Youth Subculture (New York Mix)
Cultural Anthropology Feb. 1999, Vol. 14, No. 1: 29-60.
Tombois in West Sumatra: Constructing Masculinity and Erotic Desire
Cultural Anthropology Nov. 1998, Vol. 13, No. 4: 491-521.
Black Liverpool, Black America, and the Gendering of Diasporic Space
Jacqueline Nassy Brown
Cultural Anthropology Aug. 1998, Vol. 13, No. 3: 291-325.
Generation X: Anthropology in a Media-Saturated World
Sherry B. Ortner
Cultural Anthropology Aug. 1998, Vol. 13, No. 3: 414-440.
The Writing on the Walls: The Graffiti of the Intifada
Cultural Anthropology May 1996, Vol. 11, No. 2: 139-159.
Supplemental material and Discussion
Animated Indians: Critique and Contradiction in Commodified Children's Culture
Pauline Turner Strong
Cultural Anthropology Aug. 1996, Vol. 11, No. 3: 405-424.
Detectors Replace the Panopticon?
Cultural Anthropology May 1995, Vol. 10, No. 2: 171-195.
Maasai on the Lawn: Tourist Realism in East Africa
Edward M. Bruner , , Barbara Kirshenblatt-Gimblett
Cultural Anthropology Nov. 1994, Vol. 9, No. 4: 435-470.
Designing Women: Corporate Discipline and Barbados's Off-Shore Pink-Collar Sector
Cultural Anthropology May 1993, Vol. 8, No. 2: 169-186.
Secrets of Success in Postmodern Society
Elizabeth G. Traube
Cultural Anthropology Aug. 1989, Vol. 4, No. 3: 273-300.