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Young Men in Uncertain Times

Young Men in Uncertain Times

Vered Amit
Noel Dyck
Copyright Date: 2012
Edition: NED - New edition, 1
Published by: Berghahn Books
Pages: 346
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  • Book Info
    Young Men in Uncertain Times
    Book Description:

    Anthropology is particularly well suited to explore the contemporary predicament in the coming of age of young men. Its grounded and comparative empiricism provides the opportunity to move beyond statistics, moral panics, or gender stereotypes in order to explore specific aspects of life course transitions, as well as the similar or divergent barriers or opportunities that young men in different parts of the world face. Yet, effective contextualization and comparison cannot be achieved by looking at male youths in isolation. This volume undertakes to contextualize male youths' circumstances and to learn about their lives, perspectives, and actions, and in turn illuminates the larger structures and processes that mediate the experiences entailed in becoming young men. The situation of male youths provides an important vantage point from which to consider broader social transformations and continuities. By paying careful attention to these contexts, we achieve a better understanding of the current influences encountered and acted upon by young people.

    eISBN: 978-0-85745-250-4
    Subjects: Sociology, Anthropology

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
  3. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  4. Introduction. Pursuing Respectable Adulthood: Social Reproduction in Times of Uncertainty
    (pp. 1-32)
    Vered Amit and Noel Dyck

    In 2009, in the midst of a severe global economic downturn, a number of columns appeared in North American and British newspapers pondering the fate of youths and the implications of this downturn for them, especially for young men. Among these essays could be found an extended piece by Doug Saunders, the London-based columnist for the Canadian newspaperThe Globe and Mail, ruminating on the circumstances of the half dozen or so young men who, day after day, hung around outside his house “wearing hoodies and white sneakers and doing not much of anything except smoking skunk, drinking lager from...

  5. Part I. Just Trying To Fit In

    • Chapter 1 “Shining” in Public: Masculine Assertion and Anxiety in Globalizing Kerala
      (pp. 35-58)
      Ritty A. Lukose

      A wide-ranging contemporary set of conceptions tout India’s place in a globalizing world, particularly images and discourses increasingly popular since the early 1990s that proclaim India as an emerging global power. This is “India Rising,” as a recent magazine article puts it (Zakaria 2006). Reform policies that opened up the Indian economy to global market forces—colloquially known as “liberalization”—have significantly transformed the political, economic, and cultural landscape of India. Media representations of Third-World poverty, an uneducated, rural, and traditional society, and an inefficient and corrupt bureaucratic state—all backward or underdeveloped in comparison to the “modern” West—jostle...

    • Chapter 2 “There Will Be a Lot of Old Young Men Going Home”: Combat and Becoming a Man in Afghanistan
      (pp. 59-78)
      Anne Irwin

      The title of this chapter was inspired by a comment made to me by a key informant during the course of field research with a Canadian infantry rifle company engaged in combat operations in Southern Afghanistan during the summer months of 2006.¹ He was an experienced soldier, a sergeant whom I had known since 1996 when I had studied the same unit during peacetime training in Canada. The company had been “outside the wire,” that is, outside the protective confines of the coalition base at Kandahar Air Field, for several weeks, but had returned to the base for two days...

    • Chapter 3 Institutionalizing an Extended Youth Phase in Chinese Society: Social Class and Sex Differences in the Pursuit of the Personal and the Pragmatic
      (pp. 79-108)
      William Jankowiak, Robert Moore and Tianshu Pan

      Throughout most of Chinese history, males—and especially sons—have comprised the preferred social category in which parents strove to develop emotional and ethical obligation. This relationship has constituted the fundamental value orientation by which Chinese society has traditionally organized itself. But the 1949 communist transformation of society, especially urban life, profoundly altered the parent-son dyad, and in its place the parent-daughter bond became increasingly paramount. Even in the countryside, where the parent-son relationship and the patrilineal principle remained sociological constants, a transformation took place by the late twentieth century. Increasingly, urbanites and some rural residents (Shi 2009; Yan 2003)...

  6. Part II. Making Do in Changing Times

    • Chapter 4 Young Men’s Struggles for Adulthood in Urban Ethiopia: Unemployment, Masculinity, and Migration
      (pp. 111-132)
      Daniel Mains

      In urban Ethiopia young men are often referred to with the Amharic term “fendata,” which translates loosely as explosive. In June 2005, following disputes over the results of Ethiopia’s first truly contested multi-party national election, thousands of young men took to the streets in Addis Ababa. These young men threw rocks, chanted protests, and clashed with police. The Ethiopian government argued that the volatile nature of this large population of predominantly urban, unemployed young men necessitated intervention for the good of society as a whole. In the months following the election more than ten thousand young men were arrested and...

    • Chapter 5 Gendered Modernities and Traditions: Masculinity and Nationalism in the Society Islands
      (pp. 133-164)
      Deborah A. Elliston

      In the now extensive body of scholarship on gender and nationalism, there is an odd lacuna that motivates this chapter’s project: although men, and particularly young men, have been central actors in most, and perhaps all, twentieth-century nationalist movements, this empirical phenomenon has rarely been made the focus of scholarly interrogation. Instead, the significant body of scholarship on gender and nationalism has focused almost exclusively on women.¹ And while that scholarship has produced vital questions and analyses—of the problematic figurations of women within nationalist imaginaries, of their sitings as subjects and objects of nation-building projects, and more—we are...

    • Chapter 6 Good Hearts or Big Bellies: Dzmak’atsoba and Images of Masculinity in the Republic of Georgia
      (pp. 165-186)
      Martin Demant Frederiksen

      It is around noon when Avto¹ bursts into the room. We are sitting in the living room of Temo’s parents where I am conducting an interview with Temo and his younger brother Mamuka. Temo was drinking with some friends last night to the dissatisfaction of his father and mother. As a result they have had an argument in the morning and it was questionable whether we would be able to meet. Temo looks tired. His thick black hair is messy and his voice rusty from cigarettes. The table is set with cakes, hazelnuts, and Turkish coffee. Vanya, my assistant and...

    • Chapter 7 Being “Made” Through Conflict: Masculine Hardening in Northern Ireland
      (pp. 187-216)
      Rosellen Roche

      With few exceptions in academic literature concerning violence in Northern Ireland (Bell 1990; Jenkins 1983; Roche 2008; Roche 2007; Roche 2005a; Roche 2003), young people and their violent interplay have not held much appeal for social scientists. This is so even despite the fact that throughout urban, enclaved, and economically deprived working-class housing areas in Northern Ireland, young people, and particularly young men, are reported as consistently participating in “low-level” violent activities. While no formal definition of this notion of “low-level” violence exists, its use in the Northern Irish context is widespread. Thoughts vary on the origin of the expression...

  7. Part III. Dealing With Being “Trouble”

    • Chapter 8 Young Men, Trouble, and the Law: A French Case
      (pp. 219-240)
      Susan J. Terrio

      In the 1990s, juvenile arrest rates increased in France while overall crime declined. As a result, public attention centered on what was identified as a newly threatening social category, a “delinquency of exclusion.” This was a category many experts in the media, law enforcement, the bar, the magistracy, the academy, and the government associated with disadvantaged Muslim males, both French citizens and immigrants, living in the stigmatized urban space of thecitésor housing projects. They depicted the “new” delinquents as younger, more violent, and irredeemable. They came to view the offender “from an immigrant background” through the lens of...

    • Chapter 9 Incarcerable Subjects: Working-Class Black and Latino Male Youths in Two California Cities
      (pp. 241-264)
      Victor M. Rios and Cesar Rodriguez

      James¹ is an African-American young man whose story is very similar to that of many young black men in poor urban areas of the United States. He grew up in poverty, was criminalized at school and on the streets, and, despite receiving a high school diploma, has not found any job opportunities. What he has found is constant police harassment beginning in grade school when, at the age of ten, his teacher called in the police because James had called her a “bitch.” The police officer showed up in his class, pulled him out, handcuffed him, and gave him a...

    • Chapter 10 Managing Urban Disorder? “The Street” and its Malcontents in the London Borough of Camden
      (pp. 265-294)
      Gary Armstrong and James Rosbrook-Thompson

      In recent years there has been a renewal of academic and political interest in order and disorder in contemporary cities. Many investigations center on the relationship between levels of deprivation and ethno-racial composition as well as how this relationship shapes perceptions and patterns of disorder in given inner-city areas. The state possesses the right not only to manage immigration into its territories but also to define what is “disorderly” and therefore “inappropriate” conduct. In contrast, teenage boys may have their own notions and experiences of propriety.

      The adjective “street,” despite being empty of meaning beyond the common-sense signification of an...

    • Chapter 11 Big Man System, Short Life Culture: Working-Class Boys and Street Violence in Southeast London
      (pp. 295-320)
      Gillian Evans

      Towards the end of the summer holiday in southeast London in 2009, in the week when young people are awaiting their GCSE results, a sixteen-year-old black boy is stabbed five times in broad daylight. An A* student without any reputation for making trouble, the young man was said to be simply on his way home, traveling through his own neighborhood. The incident sent a ripple of terror—another ripple of terror—through the network of concerned parents of teenage boys in Southeast London. The stabbing symbolized fears of a horrifying escalation in violent knife crime on the streets. This was...

  8. Notes on Contributors
    (pp. 321-324)
  9. Index
    (pp. 325-329)