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February 23, 2005

Book Outline: Youth Liberation's Big Ideas

[NOTE: This document was added to the blog on May 22, 2005]

My previous essay revised and commented on an outline for "The Keywords of Youth Liberation". Herein I integrate all those notes.


1. Introduction: How do these buzzwords fit together?


2. Adult / Youth
Q: Where is the dividing line between the two?
A: It's fuzzy -- but based on the family.

  • Youth as a social group - objections (objections)
    • youth is temporary, a phase; other identities are permanent
    • youth is a universal, there's no relationship between groups
    • experiences of girls/boys, teens/infants, blacks/whites are too different

  • Different models of age
  • [Adulthood is (mostly) artificial]
  • Adulthood as a membership organization
    • ways in which adulthood is like an organization
    • the "family resemblance" model of youth
    • explaining a paradox: oppressed becoming oppressors

  • What word to use? - youth, minors, kids, children

3. Difference
Q: How different are adults and youth, really?
A: As different as adults are from one another.
  • Sameness vs. difference: addressing age-based abilities
  • Varieties of age-based discrimination [problems for equality]
    • Obvious discrimination (curfew, spray paint)
    • Participation in decision-making (the vote)
    • Skill-based competencies (driving license, airplane seating)
    • Vice (cigarettes, alcohol, drugs, pornography)
    • Protection from exploitation (age of consent, labor laws)
    • Privileged treatment (juvenile sentencing)

  • Thought experiment: Ageless being

4. Identity
Q: Who do you think you are?
A: It depends on where your allegiance lies.
  • Membership vs. identity
    • what if I don't feel like an adult?
    • acknowledging membership -- while transgressing identity

  • What makes me an adult? - different models
  • "I'm not a kid!" - strategies for dissociating from childhood
  • Being a conscientious objector to adulthood
  • [Maturity as virtue]
  • [** Adults entitlements & obligations; a sense of superiority]
  • [Good kids / bad kids (and daring to be bad!)]
  • [Is the problem adult's image of youth -- or adults' self-image?]


5. Adultism
Q: How do adults mistreat youth?
A: They continue to treat youth like human property.

  • [A brief history of adult oppression]
  • [How different varieties of YL frame the problem]
  • How different authors have defined "Adultism" [same topic?]
  • [** Adultism as the command / obey relationship]
  • Ageism vs. Adultism
  • Creating a YL vocabulary

6. Oppression
Q: Why do some groups mistreat others?
A: There's a history of one group benefiting off of another.
  • Oppression: A starting-place definition
    • a historical relationship of power difference
    • commonly recognized oppressions
    • oppression vs. privilege vs. entitlement

  • Different models of oppression
  • Misconceptions about oppression (objections)
  • How oppressions get named
  • Two different frameworks: Inequality vs. Oppression


7. Youth Liberation
Q: How do we end adultism?
A: We fight back!

  • YL as a loose philosophy / movement
  • Youth Liberation vs. Children's Rights
  • Sub-varieties of Youth Liberation
  • Criteria for YL organizations

8. Activism
Q: What tactics should YL use?
A: Working in small groups to influence decision-makers.
  • What constitutes "activism"?
  • The value of working in groups
  • Risks & benefits of becoming an activist
  • How youth activism differs from that of other groups
  • Perpetual debates: long-standing disagreements about what tactics to use
    • separatism vs. collaboration
    • angry confrontation vs. peaceful friendship
    • assimilation vs. radical cultural identity
    • narrow identity politics vs. a united progressive front

  • Problems that arise within the movement: cooptation, corruption, self-appointed leaders

9. Adult Allies
Q: What should the role of adults be in YL?
A: Helping youth with resources -- but not replacing youths' own voice.
  • [What adults fear about YL (objections)]
  • Different models of being an ally
  • Against adults being the sole voice of YL
  • Separatist vs. Multigenerational organizations
  • Different roles for different age groups
  • Etiquette for allies
  • [Parents as allies]
  • [Why activists from other movements should care]

10. Social Change
Q: What does the world we're fighting for look like?
A: A place where youth can escape harm, and where adults don't feel entitled to command.
  • Models of social change
  • A consensus YL political agenda
  • [Life in a post-YL world]
  • [Escape freedom / Guiding Principles: self-ownership, etc.]

Posted by Sven at February 23, 2005 12:03 PM