Sorting Youth: Categorization of, and Contestation by, Children and Teenagers

Type: Paper
Sponsor Groups: Latin America Specialty Group
Poster #:
Day: 4/11/2018
Start / End Time: 5:20 PM / 7:00 PM (MDT)
Room: Mid-City, Sheraton, 8th Floor
Organizers: Leanne Purdum, Gloria Howerton
Chairs: Leanne Purdum


With this AAG session we seek to bring together critical analyses pertaining to the categorization and sorting of children and teenagers in contemporary society, as well as youth resistance to these processes. We encourage participation from scholars who would not necessarily categorize their work as being within the realm of children’s geographies, but whose work centers youth in their analysis.

We are interested in contributions including (but not limited to) topics such as:
• Law and policies impacting youth
• School-to-prison pipeline
• School segregation
• Migration and youth
• Undocumented Youth
• Categorization and sorting of children
• Racialization and gendering of youth
• Youth activism and organizing/political spaces of youth
• Youth subjectivities
• Uneven geographies of youth
• Military recruitment tactics
• Human rights and children

Framing of this session:

Until the late 1960s, when William Bunge identified children as our largest minority and argued that they must be brought into geographical studies, human geography focused nearly exclusively on adults, particularly white males (James 1990). While still underdeveloped, Bunge’s work on the spatial oppression of urban youth began a significant increase in scholarship on children’s geographies. Skelton (2013; 2010) recently called upon geographers to treat seriously the political involvements of young people, and previously admonished geographers for treating children and young adults as future people or human becomings. We draw inspiration from Martin (2011), who brings the concept of the “geopolitics of vulnerability” to her analysis of family detention in the US, as a way to bridge the often separated areas of immigration politics and children’s rights. This work sheds light on the complex ways in which youth are categorized, sorted, and framed. With this session, we seek to bring together current research that examines a wide variety of scales to think through the spaces, policies, movements, systems, etc. that constrain, sort, categorize, or are contested by youth.

Works Cited

James, S. 1990. Is there a “place” for children in geography? Area. 22(3): 278-283.
Martin, Lauren L. 2011. “‘The geopolitics of vulnerability: children’s legal subjectivity, immigrant family detention and US immigration law and enforcement policy.” Gender, Place and Culture 18 4: 477-498.
Skelton, T. 2010. Taking young people as political actors seriously: Opening the borders of political geography. Area. 42(2): 145-151.
Skelton, T. 2013. Young people, children, politics, and space: A decade of youthful political geography scholarship: 2003-13. Space and Polity. 17(1): 123-136.


Type Details Minutes Start Time
Presenter Gloria Howerton*, , "Rude as Heck": Anti-Racist Student Resistance and the AZ Mexican American Studies Ban 20 5:20 PM
Presenter Maria Barbero*, Florida International University, Landscapes of Belonging and Exclusion: Youth mobility and State Practice in Argentina 20 5:40 PM
Presenter Leanne Purdum*, , "Doing right by the kids": The role discourses of "helping" and care play in family detention policy 20 6:00 PM
Presenter Sarah Blue*, , Rebecca M Torres, University of Texas at Austin, Kate Swanson, San Diego State University, Amy Thompson, University of Texas at Austin, Oscar Misael Hernández Hernández, COLEF - Matamoros, Towards a Nuanced Understanding of Mexican and Central American Youth Motivations to Migrate 20 6:20 PM

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