Youth of the global south and why they are worth studying
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While real place-based differences exist between groups of youth, the simple global North-South binary is problematic. This essay explores this paradox arguing that differences and the binary itself are the result of historical processes that are continually in flux. These histories-in-the-present are illuminated with descriptive statistics (wealth, violence, human development, inequality) that illustrate empirical differences between Southern and Northern youth. Unpacking the concept of Southern youth using Southern theory shows that material conditions in the Global South mean that many more Southern youth diverge from what is considered a normal transition into adulthood in industrialized nations in late modernity, with implications for the category or life-phase of "youth." The concepts of "precarity" and the practice of "the hustle" are then used to suggest how a Global South youth studies agenda might simultaneously center issues like livelihoods, struggle, and the formation of sociopolitical consciousness. Southern youth as maestros of the hustle simultaneously assert a form of being young that is not based on deficit or romanticism, is thoroughly modern, and which foreground material realities.