Dr Ayo Oyeleye
I gave a talk recently at the Birmingham School of Media’s Research Seminar events about my current research interest in global youth resistance and protests, and the conjuncture of these revolts with the unrelenting extension of neoliberal policies and values by states across the world. In my paper I sought to offer a critical intervention on the topical issue of contemporary youth experiences and location in the wider context of the global restructuring of place and space, and the attendant issues of unequal opportunities and life chances instigated by a neoliberal global restructuring that constitute the lived experiences of youths around the world. In exploring this subject I focussed particularly on the conceptual notion of ‘lost youth’ by exploring the discursive practices and praxis that give this descriptive term its concrete expression in the lives of youths across the world. I explored the materiality of this loss through the prism of neoliberal economic and political policies that have become the order of the day in the restructuring of national economies and societies since the latter end of the twentieth century. I contended that the current outbreaks of youth protests and uprisings across the world against a long-running oppressive and hegemonic global system and interrelated processes signals an instance of the breaking of silence of youth as a social group long rendered mute and nondescript by society, and an announcement of youth agency in the determination of their own future in a way that relocates the social category youth from ‘lost’ to ‘found’ both in broad global consciousness and in performativity.