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'There is No Alternative?': Challenging Dominant Understandings of Youth Politics in Late Modernity Through a Case Study of the 2010 UK Student Occupation Movement

Lookup NU author(s): Rowan Rheingans, Professor Robert Hollands


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Utilising an in-depth case study of a student occupation at Newcastle University as its focus, this article makes a critical appraisal of Beck, Giddens and Inglehart's ideas about youth and political agency in late modernity. In short, we argue that when considering the case of the 2010 UK student occupation movement, dominant theoretical thinking about young peoples' politics overemphasises the importance of individualism and ‘lifestyle politics’ and is premised on a somewhat uncritical philosophical approach towards youth's collective ability to self-organise for social change in the modern world. Interview data from our case study highlight the importance of collective reflexivity in the student movement, the merging of so called ‘materialist’ and ‘post-materialist’ political values and the importance of both physical and virtual spaces for youth activism.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Rheingans R, Hollands R

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Youth Studies

Year: 2013

Volume: 16

Issue: 4

Pages: 546-564

Print publication date: 01/11/2012

ISSN (print): 1367-6261

ISSN (electronic): 1469-9680

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.1080/13676261.2012.733811


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