Identity, Community and Selfhood – understanding the self in relation to contemporary youth cultures


This paper discusses some of the key factors that shape young people‟s identity in relation to contemporary youth cultures. It describes a tightening of relationships between identity, leisure and consumption that have interacted with developments in communication technologies and an understanding of the self as being dynamically (re)produced in interaction, constructed from the range of subject positions that may be contradictory or only partially formed. These identities may be personal or social, with the latter being associated with neo-tribal theory. This context has opened up the possibility for young people to engage in a playful pick-and-mix approach to identity as they move through a kaleidoscope of temporary, fluid and multiple subjectivities that often celebrate hedonism, sociality and sovereignty over one‟s own existence. Multiplicity and sovereignty, however, involve complex interactions between contradictory values and are associated with a variety of stressors and inequalities that are strengthened through neo-liberal rhetoric of risk, responsibility and individualism. Furthermore, both neo-liberalism and neo-tribalism provide a context in which political and social participation shift to the local, informal and personal. For future education to provide environments where schools are fun, interesting, relevant and safe, a personalised portfolio model of education is recommended, where educators act as facilitators for the successful management of the self as a project; provide alternative discourses to neo-liberalism by working as „community enablers‟; and act as protective stewards, shielding young people from some of the more aggressive aspects of technology, surveillance and commercialisation.

About Giorgio Bertini

Research Professor. Founder Director at Learning Change Project - Research on society, culture, art, neuroscience, cognition, critical thinking, intelligence, creativity, autopoiesis, self-organization, rhizomes, complexity, systems, networks, leadership, sustainability, thinkers, futures ++
This entry was posted in Communication, Community, ICT technologies, Identity, Self, Youth and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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