Young People, Rights and Place

Authors: Stuart Aitken*, San Diego State University
Topics: Human Rights, Social Theory
Keywords: Child Rights, Neoliberal Statehood, Posthuman Ethics
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/5/2019
Start / End Time: 3:05 PM / 4:45 PM
Room: Directors Room, Omni, West
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Universal child rights don’t work. There is a clear trajectory of rights-based agendas from the Enlightenment onwards that leave young people without space and out-of-place. With this paper, I explicitly focus on the precarious lives of youth: their situation within settings of political and economic transformation that undermine traditional social institutions of care and citizenship. How are young lives made or unmade as grievable and livable through dispossession and erasure? Empirically, I discuss the curtailment of young people’s rights in the face of transformation away from state socialism in the first instance, towards seemingly free and open neoliberal statehood in the second. The cases of Romania’s dispossessed Roma population and Slovenia’s ‘erased’ minority populations are highlighted through empirical investigations of youth precarity and deprivation. Third, I discuss young people taking back space in Brazil and Chile. What kind of rights-based political possibilities are available for these young people, and how does everyday emotional citizenship mediate these events? Is the notion of everyday emotional citizenry able to rework contexts of rights and subject-hood? I suggest a possible answer to these question through what Rosi Braidotti calls posthuman sustainable ethics.

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