Call for Papers

NYRIS 2024 Youth in a Just and Fair World – Call for papers

NYRIS 2024 organizers want to invite youth researchers from the Nordic countries and elsewhere to Tampere on 12-14th June 2024 to consider questions of a just and fair world for today’s youth and future generations.  These questions include, but are not restricted to issues such as political decision-making and participation; they include young people’s daily lives, social relations, transitions to adulthood, youth cultures and spaces, institutions governing young lives and intergenerational interaction in general.

NYRIS 2024 call for sessions was successful and we received dozens of interesting suggestions for sessions, which is exciting!

Now we open a call for individual papers to be presented at NYRIS 2024 in Tampere. The list of open sessions is below. We have loosely grouped the sessions thematically in order to make the search for the right working group easier. Please note that there may be changes later on depending on how many paper proposals we receive and to which sessions. 

You can send in your abstract 250. You can suggest 1-3 most relevant working groups for your paper. If you do not find a suitable session for your paper, do not worry, you can still submit your paper. As the organisation committee we will find an appropriate session for  all accepted papers.

The call for papers was open until 19th of January, 2024. Thank you for your proposals!

It was possible to suggest papers for the following working groups:

City Spaces and Young People

  1. The Fair and Just City
  2. Navigating everyday uncertainties in urban spaces

Environmental Issues

  1. Justice and climate change – Youth views from the Arctic
  2. Planetary youth research and young people’s climate emotions
  3. Creative and collaborative methods for transforming ecological knowledge 1: Panel Session
  4. Creative and collaborative methods for transforming ecological knowledge 2: Interactive Workshop

Gender and Sexuality

  1. Exploring the Boundaries between Consensual and Non-consensual Sex among Youth and Young Adults in the Nordic countries
  2. LGBTQI+ youth in (secondary) schools

Labour market and participation

  1. Between biocapitalism and precarity? Young people in the changing labour markets
  2. Farewell to labour market citizenship? Critical openings for young people’s societal belonging

Media and the Digital Realm

  1. CHAT-services as Crisis help and Assistance for youth during challenging Times
  2. Do crisis-ridden times create more media-literate youth?
  3. Addressing the forms of gendered power, conflict and violence among young people in digital age


  1. Transnational lived citizenship and politics of encounter in young migrants’ lives

Participation and youth work

  1. Youth participation: a prerequisite for a sustainable world
  2. Building a sustainable world through youth work
  3. Empowering young people’s activism for a just and fair world: the possibilities, potential and limitations of youth work

Social Policy

  1. Universal Basic income and Youth: Diversity in Prospects
  2. Young people and housing in uncertain times: Conditions, experiences, responses

Social Relations

  1. Young people’s family relations support, tensions and new formulations
  2. Youth, gender and intimacy

Theory and Methods

  1. Methodological and ethical considerations in researching violence and abuse against young people
  2. Youth researh, yesterday, today, tomorrow
  3. Rethinking youth transitions in the global South
  4. Choosing theory? Critical reflections on theory and listening to youth’s voices in youth studies
  5. Changing societies and world together: co-creation in youth research

Well-being and Mental Health

  1. Intersectionality and Mental Distress
  2. Out of Despair: how to break the pathways leading to deaths of young people
  3. Social inclusion and social support as means to improve young people’s mental wellbeing and to resist inequalities

Youth and Gaming

  1. Understanding youth gaming

Youth and Law

  1. Youth and Law

Youth Crime and delinquency

  1. Youth Street Groups, Delinquency and Mediation
  2. From Destructive Paths to Constructive Futures: Addressing Gang Crime and Radicalization

Youth Cultures

  1. Language & Youth Culture

City Spaces and Young People

1. The Fair and Just City

Sandrine Klot, Technical University Vienna, SKUOR; Angelika Zahn, Goethe University Frankfurt/Main; Florian Baumgarten, University of Vienna

’Youth in a Just and Fair City’ involves inclusiveness in an intergenerational urban space. Like other groups, youth participate in processes of generativity. They interact and appropriate urban spaces, explore social spheres, become involved in processes of understanding and shifting perspectives.

In contrast to a categorical understanding of youth, we refer to a processual and relational, sociological understanding of youth (Liebsch 2012). This approach reflects the constant change in life forms as well as life trajectories and the progressive transformations in intergenerational relations. Identities are understood as fluid as they are reconstituted through spatial appropriation processes, intergenerational exchange and experiences of self and others.

In the context of self-organized (non-specific) leisure time and the creative use of non-institutional, urban public space, we are interested in contributions addressing self-experience and self-experimentation with a particular focus on social inequalities. Hence, as the adolescent body is exposed to social trends such as those of performativity, acceleration, and the dissolution of clear boundaries between private and public (Schirp 2013; King, Gerisch 2009), body-oriented aspects should be also respected.

We understand ”fair and just” as a future-oriented condition for the conscious, cross-generational handling of personal boundaries, self-efficacy as well as the ability to experience one’s own actions directly through one’s own body.

To what extent does urban, publicly accessible space generate commonalities and overcome symbolic boundaries drawn between social groups? What influence do creative spatial appropriation processes have on intergenerational modes of exchange?

2. Navigating everyday uncertainties in urban spaces

Hanna Yrjänä, University of Helsinki; Tarja Tolonen, University of Helsinki; Anni Nyyssölä, University of Helsinki

In their everyday lives young people navigate socio-ecological challenges in many ways. In this session we invite researchers to explore how young people live in changing and unstable situations in urban spaces. We are interested in the experiences of young people in the local communities they mostly operate; issues such as increasing segregation of urban areas are not only the result of global and national politics but have material consequences on young people’s everyday lives. In this session the focus is to understand the social relations young people create, as well as obstacles and possibilities they face in order to enjoy inclusive membership of communities and society. 

We encourage the researchers to look for processes and possibilities of belonging and safe spaces which young people are able to create in societies that are marked by socio-ecologically and politically turbulent times.

Environmental Issues

3. Justice and climate change – Youth views from the Arctic

Jaana Sorvali, Natural Resources Institute Finland; Klemetti Näkkäläjärvi, Dierpmis; Niina Kautto, Natural Resources Institute Finland

Mitigating and adapting to climate change is one of the key development challenges of the 21st century. The Arctic region is vulnerable to the impacts of climate change, which has increased the urgency for climate action. Still, there are groups of people central to this issue, such as youth and indigenous youth, with minimal possibilities to influence.

Young people living in the Arctic and their future children will live in a world shaped by the decisions taken now. The ACAF project proposes a session, where these results of the youth and indigenous Sámi youth research and collaboration will be presented, discussed, and broadened with complementary presentations upon similar themes.

The first step has been to know youths thoughts on climate change, the fears and hopes they have and the related justice issues. The second step is to bring youth together to discuss and find solutions that shape their common future. With a quantitative survey targeted to young people in northern Finland, Sweden and Norway, we have examined the young peoples’ views on climate change from the Arctic perspective. Building on to those results, we have deepened the knowledge with qualitative group interviews on their future hopes and dreams. In the proposed session, youth representatives and researchers come together to present a voice towards equitable future in the Arctic. We welcome also other papers on this theme to this session.

4. Planetary youth research and young people’s climate emotions

Sofia Laine, The Finnish Youth Research Society; Panu Pihkala, University of Helsinki, Faculty of Theology & HELSUS Sustainability Science Institute

As the ecological crisis grows more intense, youth research must attune itself to the ongoing climate emergency marked by mass extinction and climate anomalies which are accelerating in their intensity and frequency. The extent and magnitude of the triple planetary crisis (i.e. climate emergency, collapse of biodiversity and pervasive pollution) is an urgent and systemic threat to children’s and young people’s rights globally. Children and youth worldwide have been leading the fight against climate change; calling on their governments and corporations to take action to protect the planet and their future. With its General Comment No. 26, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child clearly defines the rights of children in relation to the environment that societies should respect, protect and fulfill collectively and urgently.

Current situation raise several key questions for youth research in our time: What should be the public role of youth research for shaping our societies to better respect the planetary boundaries? What empirical knowledge do we have on young people’s actions, living conditions, attitudes and emotions in relation to ongoing planetary crisis? How are youth researchers and youth workers themselves coping amidst all the crises, and how could they be supported by research and policy?

In this working group we welcome a wide spectrum of theoretical and empirical papers that discuss one way or another how youth research can participate in finding solutions to the dilemmas involved in achieving sustainable well-being of all living things and beings, and of the planet itself.

5. Creative and collaborative methods for transforming ecological knowledge 1: Panel Session

Caitlin Nunn, Manchester Metropolitan University; Harriet Rowley, Manchester Metropolitan University; Jenny Holt, Manchester Metropolitan University; David Cuong Nguyen, independent artist

In this panel session, we invite contributions from those interested in exploring the possibilities – and necessity – of collaborative and creative approaches in conducting nature-based research with young people in the context of increasing environmental crises. We will showcase our own projects including the Voices of the Future – Treescapes project, which explores the ways in which we can learn from and with children and young people in the pursuit of future treescapes that are both socially and environmentally just, as well as emerging research into how film can be used to reposition relationships with the natural environment. These case studies bring together examples of creative collaborations with diverse young people in a range of environments: ‘global youth’ from asylum-seeking backgrounds in urban and rural treescapes across North West England, students in a metropolitan grammar school, and rural Scottish young people. We additionally invite contributions from those working in different contexts but with similar interests, especially those using innovative methods to centre the ideas and participation of young people, resist the epistemic exclusivism of western and scientific ways of knowing, and attend to and foster more-than-human connections between young people and the natural environment. By drawing together the perspectives of young people, artists, and youth studies scholars within a co-productive framework, this session aims to open up new collaborations and possibilities for more hopeful, inclusive environmental futures.

6. Creative and collaborative methods for transforming ecological knowledge 2: Interactive Workshop

Caitlin Nunn, Manchester Metropolitan University; Harriet Rowley, Manchester Metropolitan University; Jenny Holt, Manchester Metropolitan University; David Cuong Nguyen, independent artist

In this creative and interactive workshop, we go beyond the conventional spaces and practices of the conference to collectively explore the natural environment. Artist and academic facilitators will introduce some of the arts-based research practices we have used in recent youth-engaged projects and invite participants to experiment with these methods. Together, we will attend to the embodied, affective, sensuous, tacit, and aesthetic understandings that emerge through such practices, and the possibilities they offer for collaborative meaning making. We will consider how these methods might be applied in youth-based research to both surface and generate understandings of and relationships with the natural environment in the context of increasing environmental crises. This workshop is open to anyone with an interest in the topic and approach, regardless of experience.

Gender and Sexuality

7. Exploring the Boundaries between Consensual and Non-consensual Sex among Youth and Young Adults in the Nordic countries

Geoffrey Hunt, Aarhus University; Margit Anne Petersen, Aarhus University; Alexandra Bogren, Södertörn University

Awareness and concern in the Nordic countries about the sexual assault, especially of young women, have recently become more significant, fueled by the #MeToo movement, changes in rape and sexual consent laws in a number of the Scandinavian countries and recent research highlighting high rates of sexual violence in the Nordic countries, in comparison with the rest of Europe. Given the reputation of Scandinavian countries as the most gender-equal countries in the world, recent research highlighting high rates of sexual victimization in comparison with the rest of Europe, suggests that discrepancies in notions of Nordic gender equality may exist.

While much research has focused on extreme sexual violence such as rape, victims of less serious incidences of sexual victimization have been given much less attention. Furthermore, young people, who have little sexual experience or who experiment with new forms of sexuality, may be unsure as to whether a negative experience is in fact a violation or simply a regrettable situation. By focusing on notions of boundaries, we hope to explore new dimensions of young people’s sexual experiences to illuminate the complexities of sexual situations in which young people find themselves, and how they make sense of these situations before, during and after. 

In arranging this panel, our aim is to bring together researchers with a broad interest in the importance of socio-cultural and socio-structural dynamics for understanding experiences and practices related to both consensual and non-consensual sex among youth and young adults and the overlapping or unclear boundaries between them.

Papers submitted to this panel should focus on one or more of the following themes: a) different kinds of social arenas in which sexual encounters and/or sexual victimization take place; b) changing legal structures and notions of sexual consent within the Nordic countries; c) ways of dealing with sexual victimization among youth and young adults; and d) prevention work or professional practices related to the health and legal aspects of sexual encounters.

8. LGBTQI+ youth in (secondary) schools

Matilda Wrede-Jäntti, University of Helsinki; Katja Jäntti, University of Helsinki

Studies show that more and more young people in the Nordic countries report belonging to the ’rainbow community’. Studies also show that LGBTQI+ youth tend to report lower life satisfaction than other young people. Young people spend a lot of time is schools. The occurrence of LGBTQI+ youth reporting higher levels of, among other things, anxiety and depression raises many questions but also concerns regarding how the wishes and needs of this group are being seen and solved by the schools. 

We would like to gather researchers interested in sharing research on as well as discussing the social aspects of LGBTQI+ youth in school settings; how do the daily lives of LGBTQI+ youth look like especially in secondary schools; what possible challenges are identified, by the pupils as well as the school personal, and how are these issues addressed?

Labour market and participation

9. Between biocapitalism and precarity? Young people in the changing labour markets

Lotta Haikkola, Finnish Youth Research Society

Current changes in the organization of work and employment have been described as a shift from Fordism to post-Fordism and from industrial capitalism to biocapitalism. Post-Fordism refers of flexible organization of production, increased market competition among companies and the return of precarious work. Biocapitalism refers to capitalist production, where the boundary between work and free time is dissolved, and personal qualities, such as interactional skills or bodily capital become qualities of a good worker and serve as a basis of value production. This session explores young people as working subjects at the forefront of such changes. We welcome presentations which analyse young people’s labour market positions, working conditions and employment relations. The presentations can also deal with young people’s experiences of work or how young people’s worker-subjectivities are produced. We encourage the presentations to look at young people within capitalist relations or as subjects of capitalist production, but other perspectives are also welcome. Empirically, we welcome presentations from any geographical location or with a global perspective.

10. Farewell to labour market citizenship? Critical openings for young people’s societal belonging

Jenni Kallio, Tampere University; Susanna Ågren, Tampere University

The uncertain and crisis-ridden present sets a contradictory context for young people’s negotiations on societal belonging and participation, especially in post-Fordist Western and Nordic societies. Attempts are being made institutionally to fit young people individualistically into the ever-narrower mould of a decent labour market and self-responsible citizen, while at the same time the labour market and adulthood have become more complex, and the Nordic welfare state model that supports young people has narrowed. As a result, an increasing number of young people become exhausted or feel unable to fit into society’s normative expectations of participation and belonging. In our studies, we have noted that young people are calling for a fairer, more solidarity-based, supportive and sustainable working life in terms of their well-being and for more diverse ways for societal participation and belonging. They also try to resist the narrow norms of active citizenship through a variety of means that are not always acknowledged in society. Therefore, an academic debate is needed on what options there are in society to support the belonging and well-being of young people, especially if the conditions of labour market citizenship are not even sustainable from the perspective of the future. We invite you to participate in our session to critically discuss the societal conditions of young people’s citizenship, belonging and well-being and the new solutions that challenge these from different perspectives; theoretically, empirically, and practically.

Media and the Digital Realm

11. CHAT-services as Crisis help and Assistance for youth during challenging Times

Tuuli Pitkänen, Finnish Youth Research Society

Young people seek support and mental help online. The demand for digitalized services has grown rapidly. There have emerged different kinds of online counselling chat services that aim to support the well-being of young people. Research based information on them is needed.

Large CHAT-databases provide new type of sensitive data for research use. The workshop aims to gather researchers that use CHAT data for research purposes, especially CHAT-discussions between people (not AI). The research can focus on the wellbeing and needs of young people, on analyses of discussions between the young person and the councelor (professional or trained volunteer) or on the types and roles of the CHAT-services or their capacity to provide support etc. Also ethical and methodological papers are welcome. The specific focus is on vulnerable groups, including youth from Ukraine. The objective is also to promote networking and knowledge sharing on the growing field of digital services that provide low threshold help for youth.

12. Do crisis-ridden times create more media-literate youth?

Levente Székely, Corvinus University of Budapest; Tamás Bokor, Corvinus University of Budapest

The times of diverse crises are not only reflected by the economic and ecological situations, political atmosphere, social relations, and mental wellbeing of the people and the youth, but also by the patterns of their media use. This section seeks for answers to media communication related questions of our times, such as: Are the natives of the digital world not only more confident but indeed more conscious users of new media as opposed to the digital immigrants of the older generations? Is their wish to create a more just and fairer world reflected in a more responsible media use? Can their call to action for a more equal world be heard within the cage of filter bubbles? Can the care about the underprivileged be true in times when attention is fragmented by TikTok videos and parallel media consumption? Can their inner desire for a happier world be fulfilled by the anonymous space of online dating and the instant redeems of a hookup culture? Can their shaken belief in the truth regained in the time of fake news, infodemic, and AI-driven deepfake videos? Can the effort put into media literacy education contribute to shaping a better future?

13. Addressing the forms of gendered power, conflict and violence among young people in digital age

Sonja Tihveräinen, Tampere University; Marita Husso, Tampere University

Digital technologies make social interactions and communication easier, but they also enable different criminal and violent acts. Smartphones, computers, and social media services can also be used for threatening, controlling, and shaming as well as systematic harassment. Furthermore, intimate pictures get spread online without permission, online discussions are prevailed by sexist and misogynous comments and threats of physical and sexual violence. The working group addresses the question of how the re-configuration of public and private, blurring the divide and merging spheres of digital age impacts the forms of gendered power relations and violence against young people, and the possibilities of tackling violence against young people in support services.  We seek to examine the ways in which gendered conflicts, when transformed from physical to digital spaces, impacts values such as safety and wellbeing by producing specific inequalities that feedback into both physical and digital environments.

The working group invites empirical, methodological, and theoretical papers which seek to understand how the re-configuration of public and private through digitalization affects young people’s experiences of gendered power and violence, and social relations between genders and generations. In addition, the papers concerning gendered power relations in the young people’s daily lives, social relations, youth cultures and spaces as well as institutions governing young lives and possibilities to develop support services are warmly welcome.


14. Transnational lived citizenship and politics of encounter in young migrants’ lives

Bronwyn Wood, Victoria University of Wellington; Kirsi Pauliina Kallio, Tampere University

Young people today are highly mobile. While research has canvased well the diverse reasons for youth mobility within nations and trans-nationally (economic, education, refugee, climate-induced, tourism and many more), much less has examined the profound implications these movements have on young people themselves and the communities with which they seek to belong. With focus on different forms of youth migration – including minors and youth of age, migrating with or without their families – this session invites authors to examine the embodied, relational and ’lived’ experiences of being a young migrant in the context of contemporary economic, social and environmental upheaval. In particular it focuses in on the politics of encounter between migrant youth and those they interact with through education, employment, state practices, services, and in their everyday lives. A lens of encounter highlights the generative concepts of mixing, conviviality and cross-cultural encounter which open up new possibilities for understanding relational and mobile youth. Such encounters have a profound impact on what it means to be a citizen (with or without certain status), and on how diasporic youth themselves resist stigmatizing and deficit tropes relating to migration. We are interested in the negotiations of inter- and intra-ethnic encounter, and how these shape migrant youth subjectivities, identities and agency in the context of state politics and transnational borders. Moreover, in the time of climate change, we deem it important to draw attention to the environmentally attuned practices of migrant youth, and how young migrants might position themselves as ’transnational climate citizens’.

Participation and youth work

15. Youth participation:  a prerequisite for a sustainable world

Merja Kylmäkoski, Humak UAS; Eeva Sinisalo-Juha, Humak UAS

Young people must be included in decision-making and shaping the world already today. They deserve to have their voices heard and have their say in the future developments. For this reason, the approach of the working group is forecasting. Forecasting is an underused method in youth research. We are interested in the development of young people’s participation in the near future as young people themselves see it. We explore young people’s perception on the development of their participation.

The working group welcomes presentations related to youth participation in issues, which are part of young people’s ordinary lives in the near future, such as migration; political society; well-being and loneliness; spare time, hobbies, non-formal education and open youth work; and digitalization.

The working group is based on the work of the international Humak UAS led comparative research project Youth participation – A key to an inclusive society, which explores the young people’s perception of their participation. The countries involved in the project are Finland, France, Iceland, Italy, Germany and Türkiye.

16. Building a sustainable world through youth work

Juha Nieminen, Tampere University; Tomi Kiilakoski, Finnish Youth Research Society

Young people currently live in a world where environmental issues, insecurity and unpredictable changes overshadow the planning and building of their lives. Meeting the challenges of the climate emergency requires eco-social learning on the individual and societal level.

Many sustainable development goals are deeply connected to work with young people in municipalities, youth organisations, religious communities, and supranational bodies. However, the understanding on green or sustainable youth work is at the process of being developed. The multifaceted field of youth work offers educational support, learning opportunities and encouragement to participate, all of which are needed in the age of eco-crisis.

The youth work of our time arises, for example, from the frameworks of community education, adventure education, social pedagogy, critical pedagogy, and non-formal and informal education. Their challenge is to meet the basic needs of young people and their peer groups, and at the same time offer channels to strengthen the inclusion and being heard of the young generation.

The youth work session will discuss the social, ecological, pedagogical and historical perspectives of building a sustainable world. We invite youth work researchers and youth researchers to come together and to reflect the challenges and possibilities of youth work in an ever-changing world. Presentations based on both empirical research and theoretical thinking are welcome.

17. Empowering young people’s activism for a just and fair world: the possibilities, potential and limitations of youth work

Hilary Tierney, Maynooth University Centre for Youth Research and Development; Ilona-Evelyn Rannala, Tallinn University School of Educational Sciences

The European Youth Strategy aims to engage, connect and empower young people while the 2017 Recommendation on Youth Work acknowledges the positive contribution of youth workers in all member states to: ’empowering and engaging young people in developing inclusive democratic and peaceful societies’.

Increasing state recognition of the value of youth work brings both opportunities and challenges about the purpose, nature, development and direction of youth work as an empowerment-focused practice that engages with substantive issues of our times.

We invite papers that consider if youth work has a role, what that role should be in empowering young people for fair and just world.

Social Policy

18. Universal Basic income and Youth: Diversity in Prospects

Jasmina Jerant, University of Ljubljana; Jurgen De Wispelaere, University of Freiburg

Universal basic income (UBI) that everyone would receive unconditionally, without means-testing or work requirement, has been broadly debated as one of the tools of justice and fairness in times of economic, social, health and political challenges. However, the UBI policy has been rarely connected to the debate on the needs of young people, even though poverty and social exclusion can deepen and perpetuate their unequal societal and economic standing, not just when young, but also throughout their life course. Therefore, the need for widening the debate on UBI concerning young people is more needed than ever. The proposed session aims to present the debate on UBI in relation to young people and address some of the normative challenges that come with it. The session will also discuss the appropriate age for eligibility, the form and amount of UBI, the results of UBI experiments on young people, the expected impacts of UBI on young people’s lives, and how young people can express their needs in the debate on UBI. By presenting and discussing diverse interdisciplinary views on UBI and youth, the session hopes to provide new angles of thought for the participants researching the lives of young people. Overall, the proposed academic session is an excellent opportunity to explore the prospects of UBI in creating a safer world for contemporary young people and future generations.

19. Young people and housing in uncertain times: Conditions, experiences, responses

Elias le Grand, Stockholm University

During the last decades, young people in many parts of the world have experienced increasingly uncertain and precarious housing conditions. As a consequence, many of them have delayed nest-leaving or returned to the parental home. Others have entered into insecure rental contracts or ended up in shared accommodation. One factor behind such precarity is widening housing inequality, linked to the deregulation of rental markets and asset inflation in the private housing sector. Housing inequality can hit youths from socioeconomically disadvantaged backgrounds particularly hard, as they may lack the intergenerational support often available to their more privileged peers. Thus, whilst residential independence is often seen as a marker of adulthood, it is one that many young people cannot readily attain. And those in insecure residential positions may involuntarily delay life course transitions and markers of adulthood such as marriage and parenthood. Studying young people’s housing situation is therefore important to understand a range of issues, such as their social relationships, social and spatial mobility, sense of safety and belonging, or views on the future. It also actualises questions about the sustainability and fairness of current housing systems, and how they may be changed in order to better benefit young people. This session invites presentations that address the housing conditions of young people, as well as explore how they experience and respond to these conditions, in order to generate knowledge which can contribute to a more socially sustainable politics of housing and greater intergenerational justice.

Social Relations

20. Young people’s family relations – support, tensions and new formulations

Sinikka Aapola-Kari, Alli Paasikivi Foundation; Ella Sihvonen, Kela

Family relations have huge significance regarding young people’s life choices and resources – or the lack thereof. They can be a source of support for young people, or burdened with obligations and problems.  Family diversity is acknowledged by many scholars, and traditional ideas of the family have been challenged, for example, by sexual minorities. 

It can be asked, whether young people are often seen from a too individualistic viewpoint in youth research, dissociated from their family relationships, even though their ties to their families may be very close and significant or cause them a lot of anxiety and concern – or both at the same time. 

From a relational perspective, youth is not only about the individual, nor the structural aspects; it is highly formed by family and other close relationships. Young people’s agency regarding their family and other close relationships can be interactional, and it may involve formulating these relations according to their needs, reconciling or redefining boundaries with their family relationships.

Young people’s processes of moving away from the childhood home and forming romantic relationships define the meanings they attach to childhood family relationships and other intimate and significant relationships they form as young adults, and how they make decisions about them. These relations are significant also from a social policy point of view.

We welcome in this work group presentations exploring young people’s varying forms of and negotiations regarding family and intimate relationships, their own meaning-making about families as well as larger trends in the society regarding families and youth.  Presentations can be based on qualitative or quantitative methods.

21. Youth, gender and intimacy

Kalle Berggren, Stockholm University; Marja Peltola, Tampere University; Päivi Honkatukia, Tampere University

Questions about gender, intimacy, relationships and sexuality are important in the lives of young people. In youth, many experience their first intimate relationships, (re)negotiate their gendered and sexualized identities, and experiment and enact their sexual projects in the context of their wider peer and social relations. These processes also raise societal interest, concern and sometimes even moral panics, and are targeted with various controlling measures. Yet, intimacy has relatively rarely been placed at the center stage in youth research. This session aims to highlight intimacy and to create connections among researchers with empirical as well as theoretical interests in questions about youth, gender and intimacies. We are interested in research that focuses on young people’s lived experiences, strategies and negotiations, as well as broader discussions about transformation and stability in social norms, contexts and discourses surrounding youth intimacies.

We welcome contributions on topics, including, but not limited to:

* Consent, power, and negotiations of gendered and sexual scripts

* The forms of contemporary youth intimacies, ranging from casual sexual encounters to durable romantic relationships

* The impact of digital technologies and social media on youth intimacies

* The salience and changing faces of social identities and inequalities, in terms of sexuality, gender identity, race/ethnicity, social class, dis/ability, etc.

* Theories and perspectives on youth intimacies, relationships, and sexualities, within and beyond youth research

* Discourses about youth intimacies, ’healthy’ and ’toxic’ relationships and ’risky’ sexualities

Theory and Methods

22. Methodological and ethical considerations in researching violence and abuse against young people

Anu Isotalo, Tampere University

Violence and abuse against young people constitute a societal and public health issue. Research on victimization provide insights into the experiences and needs of young victims/survivors, raising awareness about the prevalence and consequences of victimization, and enabling the development of more appropriate and effective interventions. Young people involved in these studies contribute to the production of valuable knowledge on issues that have personal relevance to them. Acknowledging their agency and active contribution, but also their vulnerability due to their experiences, calls for methodological and ethical rigour, balancing the pursuit of knowledge with the imperative to protect participants’ welfare. Ethical concerns may be addressed for instance by using trauma informed approaches, preparing for participants’ need for support services, or adopting reflexive practices that acknowledge the emotional toll of the research on the researcher. Victimized young people may also be a hard-to-reach group for studying violence and abuse, which challenges researchers to use their methodological imagination to think creatively in recruiting research participants and planning the research process. This session examines the multifaceted methodological and ethical considerations in conducting research on young people’s victimization experiences. We invite papers that discuss the interplay between methodological and ethical considerations, or specifically address ethical or methodological choices or considerations.

23. Youth researh, yesterday, today, tomorrow

Vesa Puuronen, University of Oulu

The First NYRIS conference took place in Oslo 35 years ago in 1987.  Since then, world has changed, technological development, internet, mobile phones, social media, climate change, extinction, globalization, geopolitical situation. Emergence of right-wing populist parties, collapse of Soviet Union, war in Europe all this were almost unimaginable and, in any case, not wanted future scenarios amongst those who gathered in University of Oslo in cold winter 1987.

World has changed but what about youth research. Has it changed and if yes, how? What is it like today and how it should change tomorrow to address the challenges confronted by youth The session will discuss and reflect methodological, theoretical and ethical starting points and future prospects of Youth research.

24. Rethinking ’youth transitions’ in the global South

Henri Onodera, University of Helsinki; Linda Herrera, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

The concepts of ”youth transitions”, and particularly ”school-to-work transitions”, face increasing challenges to capture the lived realities of young people today. Youth across the globe, the most highly educated population in human history, encounter increasing challenges in pursuit of work, careers, and livelihoods. Young people, living in low- and middle-income countries in the global South are under even more acute pressures. They must navigate conditions of precarity, climate vulnerability, intimately felt geopolitical conflicts, poverty, migration for work, and fragile citizenships, to name a few. Prolonged periods of youthhoods represent a public policy concern for governments and global agencies, who prioritize harnessing the world’s young people as a productive labour force, turning their large numbers into a ”demographic dividend”. Failures in this regard are often blamed on the personal and collective qualities of young people themselves, rather than structures of the economy and markets, political neglect, and technological disruptions.

This working group has two purposes. The first is to examine the analytical usefulness and accuracy of the concept ”youth transitions” in the global South and to explore alternative and/or complementary conceptual categories. The second is to build knowledge from the ground up through biographical research with and by youth about their everyday realities in relation to work, the economy, political system, with attention to ways they understand work, education, and opportunities. We invite scholars with a range of disciplinary and regional expertise who are interested in tackling these questions.

25. Choosing theory? Critical reflections on theory and listening to youth’s voices in youth studies

Susanna Areschoug, Stockholm University; Ville Pöysä, University of Jyväskylä; Helena Ristaniemi, University of Jyväskylä

All research is based on ontological and epistemological assumptions that affect the knowledge produced. In youth studies, theoretical debates have often centred on understanding the complexity of young people’s lives and trajectories in different contexts. During the past decades, youth scholars have engaged in efforts to bridge the divide between transitional approaches and the study of youth cultures (Johansson, 2017; MacDonald & Schildrick, 2007). Conceptual debates regarding subculture, post-subculture and neo-tribes (Bennett, 2000; Muggleton, 2005), along with discussions of broader theoretical frameworks such as modernism and postmodernism (Raby, 2005), new materialism (Fox & Allred 2017) and intersectionality (Berggren, 2023), have nuanced our approaches to youth lives and cultures.

Despite the variety of theories in youth research, a common aim is bringing youth’s own perspectives to the fore. While great benefits come from challenging statistical and adult-centric representations of youth, this agenda sometimes leaves youth’s voices under-theorized. Experiences of young people are never already ’out there’, ready to be collected and described. Instead, they are produced through ontological and epistemological standpoints, even when not made explicit (cf. Barad 2007; Fox & Alldred 2017).  

For this reason, we invite scholars from different disciplines to think together about the theoretical choices we make when researching youth, even though we may not always recognize these moments choices. We welcome empirical and theoretical papers reflecting the use of theory in youth research. We ask what theoretical assumptions may be implicit in youth studies, and how different theoretical choices affect our understanding of youth’s lives.

26. Changing societies and world together: co-creation in youth research

Reetta Mietola, University of Helsinki; Meri Kulmala, University of Helsinki

Youth research has been in forefront of development of methodologies that take seriously young people’s participation in knowledge production. This has resulted in lively reflexive methodological discussion on power relations and young people’s positioning in research as well as development of novel research designs and methods that aim to change social relations of knowledge production. These developments have often drawn from and intertwined with emancipatory commitments that have extended the objectives of projects from doing more equal and inclusive research towards contributing to social change. Researching together is thus often conceived also as changing things together. 

This session will focus on discussing practices, experiences and possibilities of co-creation in youth research. With co-creation we refer to both established methodologies (such as co-research and citizen science) and other approaches to research where knowledge is produced in close collaboration with young people and communities where everyday lives of young people take place. We welcome both methodological papers and papers presenting experiences and outcomes of empirical work.

Well-being and Mental Health

27. Intersectionality and Mental Distress

Tuuli Kurki, University of Helsinki; Elina Ikävalko, University of Helsinki; Shambhavi Singh, University of Helsinki; Ulkar Aghayeva

For this session, we look for contributions that reflect youth mental distress from intersectional perspective. The concept of intersectionality (Crenshaw 1991) directs to examine the ways in which mental health care system itself can be racialising, gendering, cisheteronorming, classing and disabling and as such, reinforce conventional social arrangements that harm specific groups of young people while benefiting others (Bacchi 2017). This has become even more visible amidst a plethora of recent socio-ecological crises. We are seeing (and experiencing) that mental distress is not merely an individual crisis but a personally and politically relevant reaction and complex and multidimensional result of many intersecting factors that make life distressed (Mills 2017). It is therefore important to create space for systemic critique of mental health epistemes that do not locate the problem and its solutions in individual bodies (Voronka 2019).

We thus look for contributions that discuss mental distress and intersectionality from multiple perspectives. Presentations focusing on the oppressive and marginalising mental health politics and practices, and the ways in which they reproduce racism, ableism and sanism, are encouraged to participate to discuss how intersecting inequalities become produced and maintained but also dismantled in and by the mental health care system. Similarly, studies that highlight the lived experience perspective and are conducted with, by and for young service users/survivors are of particular interest. Also, as the definitions describing mental health are not neutral but a consequence of Eurocentric psychiatric power, presentations that seek new, alternative and less pathological ways to conceptualize mental health are invited to participate.

28. Out of Despair: how to break the pathways leading to deaths of young people

Tuuli Pitkänen, Finnish Youth Research Society

The workshop focuses on research in connection to violent, suicidal, and drug-induced deaths and near-miss cases of young people under 30. Since drug use, violence, and suicidal behavior are all heavily stigmatized phenomena, young people with those troubles are sensitively attuned to feel whether their worries are properly heard and understood. We call for papers on these topics from different perspectives and using different data sources, such as linked registers, qualitative interviews, ethnographies, and online discussions. Also theoretical papers, as well as, papers on vulnerable groups of young people, on access to and accessibility of services and support are welcome. We look for research and perspectives on ways to break negative pathways and promotion of conditions in which young people have better opportunities for a meaningful life. We assume that the in-depth examination of the most severe cases can yield knowledge that can be used to prevent negative trajectories and to enhance an understanding of how inequality, exclusion, and overall ill-being play out in young peopleʼs lives.

29. Social inclusion and social support as means to improve young people’s mental wellbeing and to resist inequalities

Satu Venäläinen, University of Helsinki; Päivi Berg, University of Helsinki; Minna Laiti, University of Helsinki; Meri Kulmala, University of Helsinki; Anna-Maija Multas, University of Helsinki

Young people’s mental wellbeing has been raised as a public concern in Finland in recent years, especially in the wake of periods of isolation due to the Covid-19-situation. Strengthening the subjective experience of social inclusion among young people, comprising the experience of meaningfulness, belonging and agency, has been deemed an important dimension in efforts to develop services to support their mental wellbeing. For instance, involving young people in the planning of mental health services has been suggested as a way of both enhancing young people’s motivation to engage with the provided services and as a means to develop the services so that they would better meet their needs. The inclusion of young people in research on the development of services and mental health interventions is equally important, because this helps in adopting practices and posing questions that avoid inadvertent pathologisation of young people by casting them as passive objects of interventions and research. Co-research or participatory research is particularly well-equipped for allowing young people to be seen as co-researchers and thus as subjects instead of passive objects of knowledge, and thus may have particular value in efforts to enhance their inclusion. Our working group invites presentations that explore possibilities to enhance young people’s inclusion both in relation to mental health services and in building understandings of mental health among young people, as well as in research via approaches such as co-research.The working group is jointly coordinated by IMAGINE-project and TUBEDU-project.

Youth and Gaming

30. Understanding youth gaming

Mikko Meriläinen, Tampere University; Maria Ruotsalainen, University of Jyväskylä

Gaming, both digital and non-digital, is an important part of many young persons’ everyday life. Games and the broader cultures surrounding them provide opportunities for self-expression, identity development, and building and reinforcing friendships. Especially in a youth context, gaming is often approached from the perspective of risks and there may be a considerable generation gap between youth and their parents or professionals working with them. Although risks, such as discrimination and well-being issues, have been documented, risk-focused approaches often ignore the diversity of young people’s game culture participation and its situated nature, at best suggesting utilitarian benefits such as learning as a counterbalance. Young people’s agency is often ignored in both research and public discourse, leaving youth positioned mainly as victims and beneficiaries rather than as individuals navigating a complex landscape of leisure, societal expectations, and commercial culture.
In this session, we explore questions of young people’s game culture participation. Regardless of field or methodology, we welcome diverse presentations that address youth gaming as a complex, multifaceted phenomenon.

Youth and Law

31. Youth and Law

Jukka Viljanen, Tampere University; Henna Juusola, Tampere University

Youth’s role in law, whether law drafting or litigation before courts, has been underestimated. Consulting youth requires different methods and considerations. This lack of hearing youth can have unpredictable consequences and in worst situation the end result is poor quality legislation and unbalanced court rulings. The session would interest on papers related on youth participation in legal processes and other law related youth related themes. This could include experiences of youth’s role in different legislative consultations and other democratic processes, including both national, local and European level. These could deal with educational system or other issues. . Youth has also started to become significant actor in litigation processes both nationally and internationally including Portuguese youth climate change case before European Court of Human Rights and other youth applications before UN bodies. The session would deal also the question of rights of future generations and how youth should be taken into account when doing impact assessment on legislation that will have significant impact on a long term.

Youth Crime and delinquency

32. Youth Street Groups, Delinquency and Mediation

Antti Kivijärvi, Finnish Youth Research Society; Carles Feixa Pàmpols, Pompeu Fabra University; Sofia Laine, The Finnish Youth Research Society

Particularly in Nordic countries, crimes committed by young people and so-called street gangs have been prominent in public debates during recent years. The data from several countries indicate a crime drop and accumulation: A smaller number of young people commit crimes (Kaakinen & Näsi 2021; Svensson & Oberwittler 2021), but those who do might be more active (McCarthy 2021).

In this session, youth crime and violent behavior are scrutinized in the context of peer relations and youth cultures. Typically, youth crime is committed in groups and is directed toward other young people (Goldweber et al. 2011). Consequently, peers and group identifications are central factors in youth crime (Honkatukia & Suurpää 2014). Criminal gangs are one example of co-offending networks, but other types of less organized peer groups are also relevant.

Most of the research on street gangs focuses on their negative aspects. In this session we also welcome studies in which other aspects in peer and group relations, youth cultures and gangs are explored. Moreover, we welcome studies that analyze effective ways of prevention and intervention of youth crime, including experiences of mediation in the global context (Feixa et al. 2023).

Overall, we welcome papers that focus on:
· Youth groups and their delinquent behaviors
· Youth cultures and their relations to delinquency
· Young people’s relations with police and/ or private security guards
· Work with delinquent youth groups
· History of youth gangs
· Transnational youth gangs
· Public discourses on youth crime

33. From Destructive Paths to Constructive Futures: Addressing Gang Crime and Radicalization

Christine Namdar, Åbo Akademi and University of Helsinki; Anneli Portman, Finnish Institute for Health and Welfare THL

Amidst an era defined by global crises from climate change and wars to societal unrest young individuals navigate a maze of complex challenges. This backdrop has unfortunately led many into destructive behaviors such as gang affiliations and radical mindsets. With the rise in concerns about gang crime, echoing from Sweden and manifesting within our borders, the urgency of this issue becomes palpable. Recognizing the intricate nature of these challenges, it’s evident that superficial solutions will not suffice.

To truly address this issue, we must delve deep into its roots and adopt a holistic perspective. We emphasize the importance of cross-disciplinary collaborations, as a combination of insights from education, criminology, sociology, psychology, philosophy, and more, could provide the keys to innovative solutions. Our goal is not only to mitigate the present challenges but to offer young individuals pathways that harness their energy and potential for constructive and meaningful contributions.

We invite contributions that shed light on both the causes and potential remedies of youth disillusionment. By fostering this interdisciplinary dialogue, our collective aspiration is to pinpoint preventive measures, devise innovative solutions, and strategize sustainable long-term interventions, thereby guiding our youth towards brighter, more constructive futures.

Youth Cultures

34. Language & Youth Culture

Rickard Jonsson, Stockholm University; Bente Ailin Svendsen, Oslo University

Young people are often in the frontline of linguistic creativity. Their linguistic practices are therefore seen as a primary source to explore linguistic change as well as the role of language in social life, such as how language and identity, ideology and power relations intersect. By bringing research on youth language and youth culture together this session makes a contribution to recent critical sociolinguistic research by including questions of how youths cultural practices form and reshape social and linguistic practices, and furthermore, discussions of how age, class, gender, ethnicity and race are manifested, negotiated, challenged, resisted or confirmed in and through the linguistic and cultural practices of youth.
On the one hand, within critical youth studies, language is rarely a research target in itself. There is indeed a sociolinguistic tradition within the field, yet the discipline has its roots in Birmingham school, culture studies, sociology etc, where language use is often treated with less reflection (Côté 2014). In sociolinguistics, on the other hand, age and generation is often neglected power asymmetries (Coupland 2017). Here, the categories ’youth’ and ’youth voices’ have to a large extent been taken for granted, such as what is meant by ’youth’, by ’being young’ or ’giving youth voice’. This session integrates perspectives from critical youth studies in sociolinguistic research, with the objective of bringing forward the research on the interwoven relationship between youths’ linguistic and cultural practices. The session is open, and includes also contributions from the coming Routledge Handbook on Language & Youth Culture.