•The Elephant and the Blind Philosophers (they each see something other than an elephant)
•“Youth as a social category has always been double-sided, encompassing both negative
and positive characteristics and stereotypes. If there is one stereotype in which youth,
simply by their very existence, are said to threaten the core fabric of society, there is a
flipside, in which youth are promised to revolutionize society and cure it of its past ills and
failures...Promoting youth, proclaiming their power, strength or virtue, or celebrating their
innate creativity or revolutionary potential is not inherently any more progressive, critical,
or radical –or just or accurate—than is condemning youth, complaining about youth,
disregarding youth or focusing on their shortcomings, problems and deficits. The challenge
for critical analysis is not simply to replace negative stereotypes of youth with positive ones
(or vice versa). It is, rather, to understand how and why particular kinds of positive and
negative stereotypes of youth …are mobilized by different groups in changing social and
economic contexts over time.” (Sukarieh & Tannok, 2011, p. 688).
•The Ontological Debate: Is ‘Youth’ Real?
•Cote (2014) argues that the “youth” question is an ontological one
•Ontology: comes from the Greek word for “being” Related to the study of being (i.e.
fundamental assumptions about what is real/ not real).
•What does Cote mean by this? Ontologically speaking do you believe “youth” is real?
•Nominalism & Realism
•Nominalism: The ontological position that social reality is the product of human
consciousness, particularily the symbols (names) humans ascribe to mental experiences
and social events. (From Latin, ‘name’).
•Nominalists see “youth” as a social construction (much like “society” or “gender”)
•Realism: The ontological position that social reality has its own properties, regardless of
human consciousness and social construction. (From Latin, ‘thing’).
•Realists see “youth” as a real thing.
•What are the benefits/ consequences of each ontological position as it relates to the
question of “youth?”
•Youth are often expected to have chronic emotional problems
•why is this the case?
•Helping professionals who work with youth have a skewed perception that may lead them
to believe that the majority of youth are emotionally distraught.