Decoding Youth and Neo-Liberalism: Pupils, Precarity, and Punishment

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To have a fuller grasp of the contemporary penalization of poverty, along with neoliberalism's regulative properties, a sociology of youth must be brought more to the fore. Although there are theoretical, ideological, and substantive disagreements about how to understand neoliberalism, the common themes that cut across varying approaches (e.g., market dominance, atrophy of the welfare state, reorganization of state capacities, personal responsibility, and self-governance) have important implications for young people, who are often the key subjects of neoliberal projects and provide a unique vantage point for understanding this contested phenomenon. The author suggests that by examining youth as well as the institutional and contextual circumstances that they inhabit, scholars can glean more about neoliberalism and poverty management as it relates to three key areas: schools, the criminal justice system, and militarization. This youth studies perspective has the potential to complement and complicate folk and scholarly assumptions about the transforming American political economy and its concomitant social inequalities

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Journal of Poverty