Saldrupian at ISA World Conference on Sociology in Toronto

The logo of the XIX ISA World Congress of Sociology that was held in Toronto, Canada. The conference logo represents Canada’s era of reconciliation.

The International Sociologists Association’s (ISA) XIX World Conference of Sociology took place from 15-21 July 2018 in Toronto under the banner, Power, Violence and Justice: Reflections, Responses and Responsibilities. The ISA conference is one of the largest gatherings of sociologists in the world. Approximately 6,000 delegates from 115 countries participated.

SALDRU’s Dr. Ariane De Lannoy presented two papers: Youth Well-Being and Social Exclusion in South Africa and Re-Engaging Youth Agency and Resilience in Youth Research.

The former presents a brief overview of the concepts of ‘well-being’ and ‘social exclusion’. De Lannoy interrogated the definition of ‘exclusion’, making the case for understanding it more multi-dimensionally, as opposed to the narrow understanding based on economic exclusion that is often found in policy documents.

Her paper on youth agency – co-authored with Dr Lauren Graham from the University of Johannesburg – challenges the literature on youth vulnerability in poor communities. The prevailing view of youth is ambivalent, De Lannoy argues. Youth are either perceived to be vulnerable or dysfunctional, leading to interventions that are either about protection or correction. In contrast, the authors’ research shows that youth in poor communities can be remarkably resilient and demonstrate agency and that more comprehensive interventions that go beyond protection or correction are needed.

Reflecting on her experience at the conference, De Lannoy pointed out that there is a growing recognition of the overrepresentation of Global North academics and researchers in these gatherings. She found a growing interest in the Global South.

The youth research group that she participated in, in fact, made the case for thinking about a Global South theory of youth development to give more voice to the developing world in the framing of issues.