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Bringing disability studies and youth studies together to enhance understandings of youth transitions

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Janice McLaughlinORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


Critical youth studies understands contemporary youth transitions as an interplay between long term changes in labour markets and state approaches to welfare and the regulatory presence of societal norms about the ‘right kind’ of transitions and the ‘right kind’ of young adult citizens. This work is intersectional, with emphasis given to class, gender and race and ethnicity. However, in comparison less focus is given to disability, even though it shapes youth transition possibilities. This paper highlights the problems created by paying insufficient attention to disability, alongside making the case that there are conceptual tools useful to critical youth studies within disability studies. (1) Disability studies approaches to inequality help make the case that material inequalities are still an important factor in young people’s lives. (2) A focus on disability supports arguments that as forms of state support dwindle, family is increasingly significant - and problematic - as a resource in youth transitions. (3) Critical disability studies can help explore the significance of normative embodied markers of transitions for young people making their way towards adulthood. (4) Collaboration can encourage deeper recognition of the relational quality of transitional processes and move away from a linear understanding of time.

Publication metadata

Author(s): McLaughlin J

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Youth Studies

Year: 2023

Pages: epub ahead of print

Online publication date: 01/03/2023

Acceptance date: 15/02/2023

Date deposited: 16/02/2023

ISSN (print): 1367-6261

ISSN (electronic): 1469-9680

Publisher: Routledge


DOI: 10.1080/13676261.2023.2182674

ePrints DOI: 0


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