Grammars of the Anthropocene: young people and entreprise (Part 1)

Let me introduce myself. I’m Diego Carbajo, a postdoctoral researcher of the University of the Basque Country (Spain). I have been working at RMIT’s (Melbourne) School of Education with Peter Kelly since 2017 on a research project titled The Grammars of Self-entrepreneurship in the Basque Country from an International Perspective y project develops the hypothesis of the emergence and stabilization of a “Grammar of Self-Entrepreneurship” aimed at young people on a global scale. A global grammar that is not posed as a culture or an ideology, but something closer to a discourse, an apparatus or an assemblage that helps us to understand not only how young people are incited to behave and act in certain ways, but how we are induced to perform a certain type of individuality in what has been called the Anthropocene.

This post extends on previous posts on the Arts-based Social Enterprises and Marginalised Young People’s Transitions project blog, and an upcoming article in the journal RECERCA. Revista de Pensament i Anàlisi.

To start with and without going in depth now in the necessary critical review the notion of Anthropocene (Moore et al, 2016), that enterprise is one of the common categories and subjective imperatives (to become entrepreneurial, to self-monitor oneself as an enterprise, to behave like an enterprise, etc.) of the 21st  Century seems a quite strong working hypothesis (Foucault, 2008).

image 1Image obtained from http://www.thelogicalentrepreneur.com

In fact, there are common elements of some governmental policies about self and social enterprises that connect geographically, culturally and politically distant places such as Victoria (AUSTRALIA), Scotland (UK) and the Basque Country (SPAIN). My aim here is to sketch an entry point to the Global Grammars of Self/Social Enterprise departing from the following research questions:

How have the concepts of self and social enterprise have been developed and deployed in various governmental spheres? What kind of governmental circuits do they emerge from and are subject to? Do they have a structure and/or obey to any rationale? What kind of uses and meanings have they acquired? How are these concepts downloaded? How is that vocabulary framed in local territories? Is the Anthropocene a proper framework to work in that direction? Will (social-, eco-, radical-) entrepreneurs ‘save us from’ or ‘give solutions to’ the problems posed by the Anthropocene (for instance)?

Of course, this is a big endeavour for some blog entries. So, I will settle for drafting the core ideas and trends that are important here and I will be happy to discuss them in the conference and/or forthcoming works.

On the global production of entrepreneurs

First of all it is worthy to note that one of the main agents that contributes to giving reality and continuity (Latour and Woolgar, 1986; Law, 2009, p.249) to entrepreneurship as an international phenomenon through a massive production of statistical data (Foucault, 2009, p.274) is the Global Entrepreneurship Monitor (GEM). Founded in 1999, this international agency operates as a global census of entrepreneurship and produces and circulates a range of indicators of entrepreneurship. In addition, it provides regional analyses, international comparatives and different state rankings that contribute to making entrepreneurship a standardised and measurable global phenomenon (Osborne & Rose, 1999). Its work is not limited to conventional understandings of entrepreneurship and its area of action has been expanding quite significantly. This agency is taken as a trustworthy data source by academics, journalists and diverse agencies, but more importantly, it is taken as a reference by policy makers, states and organizations such as the OECD and the European Union that need to measure quantitatively, and to some extent, performatively produce and standardize, entrepreneurship (Law, 2009, p.248). And it goes without saying that youth, as an un-problematized ‘population segment’, is one of the ideal subjects of this grammar (Serrano & Martín, 2017). My intention here is not to go into great detail about GEM, but to take it into account as an international agent in the production of representations of entrepreneurship in the Anthropocene.

Governmental policies on entrepreneurship

Although there are differences in its member countries, focusing on the European Union (EU), it establishes the foundations and the directives for the employment, entrepreneurship and social enterprise policies implemented by member states. It is apparent that these policies are based on a strong market oriented rationale where entrepreneurship is not only directly associated to job-rich recovery and prosperity, but as an agent that is capable of giving solutions to all kind of social, cultural and environmental problems and needs. Indeed, as all of these objectives are aimed at individual entrepreneurs, and at Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), they create a sense, often ambiguous, that an enterprise as an institutional product is both a personal quality of (initiative), and/or that individuals contain the qualities of an enterprise (Armstrong, 2005, p.6). This ‘grammar’ is evident in crucial political spheres  such as the European Commission Website. The definition of entrepreneurship that this institution establishes is close to an attitude, a skill and to a moral disposition:

Entrepreneurship is an individual’s ability to turn ideas into action. It includes creativity, innovation, risk taking, ability to plan and manage projects in order to achieve objectives.

But more importantly, this definition is wide and ambiguous enough to include in it those self-employees, social enterprises and all kind of collectives (especially young people) who, after the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) are defined by various EU agencies as a priority groups that require urgent intervention.

On the other side, with regard to Social Enterprises (a notion that as such, has emerged quite recently in the Basque Country), it is interesting to note how they are defined by the European Commission, and how the adjective of entrepreneurial situates both entrepreneurship (as a disposition, but also as a particular type of person) and social enterprises in the analytical framework we could name as grammars of entrepreneurship for the Anthropocene:

A social enterprise is an operator in the social economy whose main objective is to have a social impact rather than make a profit for their owners or shareholders. It operates by providing goods and services for the market in an entrepreneurial and innovative fashion and uses its profits primarily to achieve social objectives.

The call for persons to be, or to become entrepreneurial is a cross-cutting issue in all the different political programs regarding employment, and gives shape to an apparatus (Foucault, 1980, p.194-195) that has been analysed in several works (Kelly, 2013; Bröckling, 2016).

In this frame, youth becomes a paradigmatic case of these governmental processes both as an object of intervention and as a producer of solutions (‘change makers’) for the challenges posed by the Anthropocene. Close to a biopolitical program (Foucault, 2008), youth becomes an object of intervention when we identify arguments that suggest that entrepreneurial learning promises the most significant and important solution to improve young people’s employability (Serrano & Martín, 2017). Close to a promise of salvation, youth is understood as the subject of social change that brings innovative solutions to all sorts of problems.

The grammars of entrepreneurship in the Basque Country

Two of the multiple problems that the EU is facing are continuing high unemployment rates, and employment precarity among young people. In the case of Spain, these indicators were scandalously high during the GFC that began in 2008, especially for the young (Eurofound, 2015).

image 2Youth (15-29) unemployment rates (%) evolution by country. Chart based on Eurostat (2017) and Basque Youth Observatory.

According to Eurostat (2016), the rate of youth unemployment (in the 15 to 29 age range) in Spain reached its peak of 42.4% in 2013. In 2016, the youth unemployment rate of 33.3% was, along with other Mediterranean countries, still one of the highest in Europe, over twice that of the EU-28 average. In the case of the Basque Country, these rates were lower. According to the Basque Youth Observatory, while the peak of youth unemployment was reached in 2014 with a rate of 29.5%, in 2017 it dropped to 15.1%. It is also worth noting that even though the unemployment rates in Spain’s are lower nowadays, the temporary employment rate in 2016 stood at 57.4%, the highest in Europe, in contrast to the EU-28 average of 32.5% (Eurostat, 2017).

In regions such as the Basque Country it is quite easy to find how the local policies and programs about entrepreneurship and social enterprises closely align with the directives of the European Union without any mediation of the state government. The Basque Country Government’s general plan, based in its own Law for the Support of Entrepreneurs and Small Businesses, has been recently updated until 2020 with a budget of 295 million euros. The determination of the Government with regard to the broad notion of entrepreneurship we have previously mentioned is clear, even though, according to GEM, in 2016 the Basque Country had one of the worst TEA (Total Entrepreneurial Activity) scores of the last decades at 3.3% (Hoyos et al. 2017). The overlap between youth and entrepreneurship becomes even more analytically challenging since the Lehendakari (The President of the Basque Government) has recently announced that youth is one of his government’s five prioritized and strategic fields in what remains of his mandate. All in all, both fostering entrepreneurship and “making young people’s lives easier” or bringing them back to the Basque Country can be posed as a biopolitical  problem of government faced by Basque institutions around the issue of “not governing too much” (Foucault, 2008).

image 3The low rate of entrepreneurs in Basque Country contrasts with the massive competitions for different positions in the Basque Government Institutions as officials and civil servants. Bilbao Exhibition Centre, photography by Alfredo Aldai/EFE.

Thus the Basque Government seems to be concerned and aware both of such ‘numbers’ and ‘resistances’, as well as that it is competing with other European regions for this niche —and the resulting European funding. As a result, the last update for the entrepreneurship program has been presented with the main goal of positioning Basque Country as a privileged place to create and develop all kinds of new entrepreneurial initiatives.  Overall, and in line with the European directives, the main intention of these policies is to ‘recover, generate and reinforce an entrepreneurial culture through generating an ‘entrepreneurial ecosystem’.

‘Entrepreneurial Ecosystems’ of the Anthropocene

In this frame, and mainly focused on enterprise generation, social entrepreneurship appears as a variation of entrepreneurship linked to the notion of social innovation. Even though the earlier Basque Government program partially reproduces the European Commission one, a lower level in the Basque administration structure gives some hints about how it is understood. A quick reference to the Provincial Council of Bizkaia 2017 call for funding innovative and social enterprises leads to the idea that all of them have to acquire, if not the form, at least the outcomes and ‘attitudes’ of a conventional enterprise. Some of the limitations of this sort of approach have been sketched elsewherein the Art Based Social Enterprises Projects blog. But I would like to stress that beyond the social values that some social-enterprises might look for (environment and sustainability, justice, equality, integration, access to culture and knowledge, alternative economic models, etc.) they are mainly valued and judged by the ‘survival’ criteria settled by the market. Or if not, they will be evaluated as potential substitutes or externalized ‘resources’ of the Welfare State. So, are these different kind of enterprises, and the market driven framework they are ‘invited’ to survive in, the proper answers to the Anthropocene?

Lastly, in a very explicit way, we see particular dimensions of the moral economies of social enterprise come into view – something that is made quite clear in this Art Based Social Enterprises blog post. We see both the moral obligation that governments create for young people to be and become entrepreneurial. And, alongside this, we see an ‘investment’ in the promise of social enterprise framed by a sense that social enterprises, in taking on these responsibilities, will enable ‘savings’ in the State’s obligations to develop and administer not only labour market programs and welfare payments but also, environment related issues posed by the Anthropocene

References

ARMSTRONG, P. 2005. Critique of entrepreneurship : people and policy, New York, Palgrave Macmillan.

BRÖCKLING, U. 2016. The Entrepreneurial Self. Fabricating a New Type of Subject, London, SAGE.

EUROFOUND. 2015. Youth entrepreneurship in Europe: Values, attitudes, policies, Luxembourg, Publications Office of the European Union.

EUROSTAT. 2017. ‘Youth unemployment rate by sex, age and country of birth’, accessed at Eurostat http://ec.europa.eu/eurostat/web/youth/data/database on March 30, 2019.

FOUCAULT, M. 1980. Power/Knowledge. Selected Interviews and Other Writings 1972-1977, New York, Pantheon Books.

FOUCAULT, M. 2008. The Birth of Biopolitics. Lectures at the Collége de France, 1978-79, New-York, Palgrave-Macmillan.

FOUCAULT, M. 2009. Security, Territory, Population. Lectures at the Collège de France, 1977-78, London, Palgarve-MacMilllan.

SAIZ, M., HOYOS, J., GONZÁLEZ-PERNÍA, J., PEÑA, I., GONZÁLEZ, N., GUERRERO, M. & URBANO, D. 2017. Global Entrepreneurship Monitor. Comunidad Autónoma del País Vasco. Informe Ejecutivo 2016, Bilbao, Publicaciones de la Universidad de Deusto.

KELLY, P. 2013. The Self as Enterprise: Foucault and the Spirit of 21st Century Capitalism, Surrey, Ashgate/Grower.

LATOUR, B. & WOOLGAR, S. 1986. Laboratory life : the construction of scientific facts, Princeton, N.J., Princeton University Press.

LAW, J. 2009. Seeing Like a Survey. Cultural Sociology, 3, 239-256.

Moore, J., Altvater, E., Crist, E., Haraway, D., Hartley, D., Parenti, C., & McBrien, J. 2016. Anthropocene or Capitalocene?: Nature, History, and the Crisis of Capitalism: PM Press.

OSBORNE, T. & ROSE, N. 1999. Do the social sciences create phenomena?: the example of public opinion research. The British Journal of Sociology, 50, 367-396.

SERRANO, A. & MARTÍN, P. 2017. From ‘Employab-ility’ to ‘Entrepreneurial-ity’ in Spain: youth in the spotlight in times of crisis. Journal of Youth Studies, 20, 798-821.

Youth Studies and the Problem of Structure and Agency

There are a number of interests that drive the work of this blog – and the conversations we want to foster through the conference in Bilbao in September 2019.

These diverse concerns will be canvassed an a variety of ways in these spaces of the next months and beyond.

If you search The Journal of Youth Studies – possibly the most important Euro-American journal of youth studies (2017 Impact Factor: 1.724, 5-Year Impact Factor: 1.800, Ranking: 26/98 {Social Sciences, Interdisciplinary]) – for Anthropocene one item is returned: a reference to an article I published in 2018 titled Three Notes on a Political Economy of Youth

Google Scholar searches for young people and Anthropocene are not much more productive.

It is safe to say that what might, for now, be called Anthropocene thinking has not made many inroads into the field of youth studies – a multi-disciplinary space emerging from sociologies, psychologies, education studies, anthropological and cultural studies, human geographies…

It seems that the ‘field’ remains largely uninterested or immune from a whole variety of discussions happening elsewhere – in science, technology and society studies, the environmental humanities, human geographies,…

In this post I want to engage this ‘absence’ through the ways in which youth studies (and possibly early childhood and childhood studies), and sociologies of youth in particular, continue to ‘struggle’ with the ‘problem’ of structure and agency in seeking to make some sense of young people’s life chances, life choices, life courses. Continue, in many respects, to be in thrall to what Donna Haraway identifies as ‘human exceptionalism’ and ‘methodological individualism’.

What follows comes from the Third Note in Three Notes on a Political Economy of Youth (pp1296-1301)

‘…So, to the problem of agency and structure in youth studies. What does human agency – individual, collective, for the young and for the old – actually mean if we take seriously the arguments put forward under the umbrella of the Anthropocene, the Capitalocene, the Third Industrial Revolution? What is/are structure(s)(ing)? What is agency? What or who has it, doesn’t have it? Would we know it if we saw it? What if we go looking for it and don’t see it, or can’t recognise what we think we are looking for? Why do we keep looking for it when we do Youth Studies? As Ian Hunter (1993, p.129) argued more than 20 years ago:

If by agency we mean human capacities for thought and action then, given the irreducible positivity, variety and dispersion of the technologies of existence and conducts of life in which such capacities are formed, it is implausible to assume that agency has a general form; and it is even more implausible to identify this general form with that special Western conduct that we call the formation of the subject.

In this note I want to suggest that many of the points raised by Côté, and France and Threadgold in the first installments of the debate in these pages revisit, in various, though fundamental, ways, many of the elements in another recent debate in the Journal about the usefulness or otherwise of the work of Ulrich Beck and Pierre Bourdieu in the doing of youth studies: a debate that was fundamentally about the structure/agency relationship in sociology in general, and youth studies in particular. Again, my initial engagement with that debate (Kelly 2014) raised a number of concerns that are worth re-visiting here. The debate that unfolded in the pages of the Journal (2009-12) between Dan Woodman (2009, 2010), Steven Roberts (2010, 2012) and Steven Threadgold (2011) was about the relative merits of the work of Ulrich Beck and/or Pierre Bourdieu for the doing of Youth Studies…My main intent there was to take up Dan Woodman’s (2009, 2010) suggestion in his contribution that in quite fundamental ways questions of ‘agency’ and ‘structure’ remain central to significant uncertainties (Latour, 2007) in the doing of Youth Studies.

Early in Woodman’s (2009, p.243) original 2009 Journal of Youth Studies article he argued that he was interested in the ‘emergence and use of the concept of choice biographies in the sociology of youth over the past decade, a concept that has been called, in critique, a “current pervasive theoretical orthodoxy”’. Woodman (2009, p.246) then provided a review of the ways in which both the concept of choice biography and, more broadly, the work of Beck has been used and critiqued in Youth Studies in the last 10 to 15 years. He spent some time discussing Karen Evans’ (for example, 2007) work on bounded agency as a response to a particular reading of Beck’s individualisation thesis. For Woodman (2009, p.246), Evans’ approach is representative of a tendency ‘to use Beck as a caricature to claim a middle ground between structure and agency’. In these debates about choice, structure, and middlegrounds, the problem of structure and agency, and the ability of these ideas to make sense of what young people do, and why, remains central. Woodman (2009, p.247) argued that while the ‘relative balance has swung back and forth, the vast majority of authors within the sociology of youth have proposed some kind of middle ground between agency and structure’. For Woodman (2009, p.247), occupying some sort of ‘middle position between structure and agency also makes sense in light of the way the history of youth sociology tends to be told’. In these accounts of what Youth Studies has done or should do, a ‘structuralist strand of school-to-work transitions research that has been historically critiqued for overemphasizing structure is contrasted to a cultural strand of youth research that is seen to have overemphasized agency’ (Woodman, 2009, p.247).

I have been interested in the problem of structure and agency in the doing of Youth Studies for a number of years. Recently I have approached the problem from slightly different angles. For example, at the Journal of Youth Studies conference in Copenhagen in 2015 I presented a paper that began with a reference to a moment early in Richard Flanagan’s (2014) Booker prize winning novel The Narrow Road to the Deep North, where the main character Dorrigo Evans recalls his mother’s sense of what it is to live, to experience life, to accrue memories, to imagine the world and her place in it: ‘Rock to gravel to dust to mud to rock and so the world goes, as his mother used to say when he demanded reasons or explanations as to how the world got to be this way or that: The world is, she would say. It just is, boy’.

As I argued there and elsewhere (Kelly 2014, Kelly 2017, Montero and Kelly 2016), we go looking in young people for that thing we call agency when we imagine that the world doesn’t have to just be as we encounter it, as it sets limits and possibilities. We look to young people to be acting in and on the world in ways that we imagine signify that thing that we call agency. That thing which suggests a special way of being, thinking, doing, acting in and on a world that doesn’t have to be just as we find it. It is the special character of this purposeful way of being and thinking and doing that is most problematic for Youth Studies researchers who are on the look out for such things. Because that thing that they, that we, call agency is so special it is not to be found in the everyday, the mundane, the myriad acts of daily life. To be special, to be agency, it has to be something else. The question here, then, is not one of young people’s agency, but one of the making, the assembling of thinking, acting and doing into something we can ‘recognise’ as agency (Latour 2007).

John Law (2004), and others, would argue that the assemblage we name as the sociology of youth makes some things present, some things manifestly absent, and still more things absent as Other. Any assemblage, argues Law (2004, p.144), ‘makes something present by making absence’. The idea of assemblage, in playing with the relations between presence, manifest absence and absence as Otherness, tries to make explicit and imagine the consequences of the ‘crafting, bundling, or gathering of relations’ between these elements. Between what Law identifies as ‘in-here or present (for instance a representation or an object)’; between what is ‘absent but also manifest (it can be seen, is described, is manifestly relevant to presence)’, and, finally, between what is ‘absent but is Other because, while necessary to presence, it is also hidden, repressed or uninteresting’. My interest here is in what we might make present, manifestly absent or absent as Other in assembling the social (Latour 2007) in ways that try to accommodate those things we call structure and agency…’

 

‘…In my more recent discussions of Youth Studies and the problem of agency and structure I have suggested that Foucault’s work, the work of Bruno Latour (2007) on actor-networks, and the posthumanism of Rosi Braidotti (2013) – with their indebtedness to Foucault’s legacy – offer different, though related, ways of unsettling what it is that we make present, manifestly absent, and absent as Other in terms of this problem, in terms of what we call agency and who has it, in terms of what we call structure and what it is and what it does. My interest in this space is with the ways in which these different trajectories can trouble the character of sociological worlds and sociological humans, and the orthodoxies that assemble these worlds, these humans.

Toby and Sox

I have argued that the world as imagined in sociologies in general, in sociologies of youth in particular, is one that is inhabited and populated by humans – children, young people, adults. It is an Anthropocentric world. These humans have something called agency, and do and make things. These made things are, overwhelmingly, the only Others in this sociological world. These Others include cultures and subcultures, education and health systems, labour markets, a vast array of administrative, even governmental, programs, and diverse technologies (old and new, algorithmic, media based, war oriented, bio-genetic). The list here can be made long and complex. So, it is a heavily populated world. But if you go into the world – the ‘real’ world (the scare marks are deliberate, ironic and ambiguous) – then the world of sociologies of youth looks under-populated, even barren. The non-sociological world is much more bio-diverse, and richly populated with non-human Others. The sub-atomic and atomic. Proteins and hormones. Viruses and bacteria. Animals. Plants. Geology. Clouds. Ocean depths. Wilderness. Again, the list, and humans do like to catalogue, to classify these Others (and increasingly monetise and commodify them – the ‘value’ of wilderness becomes ‘real’ when it is assigned a ‘dollar-value’), can be made long, diverse and complex. And that is without leaving the planet and venturing into the vastly non-human scale of the cosmos. Rosi Braidotti (2013, p.55) suggests that George Eliot, in her novel Middlemarch, ‘has authored [her] favourite sentence in the English language’:

If we had a keen vision and feeling of all ordinary human life, it would be like hearing the grass grow and the squirrel’s heart beat, and we should die of that roar which lies on the other side of silence. As it is, the quickest of us walk about well wadded with stupidity.

Humans – child, youth, Adult – can, then, be made to look different to sociological humans – particularly if they are imagined as interacting and being shaped by these non-sociological Others (How does the warmth of the sun on your back make you feel, make you think, make you act…)

It is in this sense that I have argued that when young people encounter and are represented by sociologists what often emerges, at least in the published accounts of these encounters in which questions of choice and agency are said to be important, is an overwhelming sense of the young person as a more or less rational being, devoid of emotions or ambivalence. Pain, hurt, hunger, despair, anxiety, decisiveness, uncertainty, ambiguity, irony, humour, longing, desire, loneliness, companionship, love. If we want to we can say that many of these things shape and enable choice or agency. Though these things might be of interest to Youth Studies, they are not matters, solely, of sociological concepts such as class or individualisation or habitus or reflexivity. Such things can be readily experienced or felt or considered without recourse to any of these concepts, or to the wider institutionalised systems of thought from which they emerge and to which they give shape (Author 2014).

Finally, but not insignificantly, an emerging critical conversation in the history and philosophy of science, in media and cultural studies, in social theory, and in a variety of other fields is examining the roles played by algorithms (‘coding’) in structuring not just our exchanges, interactions, transactions, relationships and ‘likes’ in ‘digital spaces’ and ‘non-digital spaces’ – this distinction, which might once have been useful and ‘material’, increasingly appears as a ‘redundancy’ – but in re-making what we think of as ‘intelligence’, ‘consciousness’, and the very sense of what it is to be human, of human exceptionalism, of humans occupying some privileged space on the planet, in the universe(s), as sentient, acting organisms…Massimo Mazzotti (2017), in an essay titled Algorithmic Life in the LA Review of Books, covers much of the ground mapped by these critical conversations. As he observes, in tracing the shifting meanings of the term ‘algorithm’, and the material developments in ‘coding’ and its applications and structuring tendencies in the last decade, we currently:

rarely use the word “algorithm” to refer solely to a set of instructions. Rather, the word now usually signifies a program running on a physical machine — as well as its effects on other systems. Algorithms have thus become agents, which is partly why they give rise to so many suggestive metaphors. Algorithms now do things. They determine important aspects of our social reality. They generate new forms of subjectivity and new social relationships. They are how a billion-plus people get where they’re going. They free us from sorting through multitudes of irrelevant results. They drive cars. They manufacture goods. They decide whether a client is creditworthy. They buy and sell stocks, thus shaping all-powerful financial markets.

If, as Mazzotti, Grey (2015), and numerous others argue, humankind is, wittingly or unwittingly, by choice or not, increasingly living an ‘algorithmic life’ then, individually and collectively, socially, culturally, economically, politically and morally we will be confronted with opportunities and challenges that, together, further question what is that we understand as human agency:

for the simple reason that algorithms are not neutral. They are emblematic artifacts that shape our social interactions and social worlds. They open doors on possible futures. We need to understand their concrete effects — for example, the kinds of social stratification they reinforce. We need to imagine how they might work if they were designed and deployed differently, based on different priorities and agendas — and different visions of what our life should be like. Algorithms are powerful world-makers. Whose world will they make? (Mazzotti 2017)

In the context of the profound transformations, uncertainties and emergences of incredibly powerful non-human actants that I have only hinted at here, are ‘structure’ and ‘agency’ still appropriate terms, appropriate concepts for sociologies for youth? For the sorts of debates about Beck and Bourdieu, about a political economy of youth, that appear as significant in the doing of Youth Studies? What sorts of thinking, doing, being should sociologies of youth be concerned with? What relationships, practices, functions and consequences, what organisms, substances, actants, networks and apparatuses can be made present, manifestly absent, absent as Other in the doing of this work? Who or what might have that thing called agency in 21st century, bio-genetic, digital capitalism in which human exceptionalism looks increasingly problematic and provisional? As I have recently argued (Author 2017) the promise, the hope of re-making the world, can’t be invested in the autonomous, choice making, individualised human agent/subject. That is neo-Liberal capitalism’s game. It owns that subject. Structures and agency need to be re-assembled in ways that are fit for our times, and for new ways of understanding what it is to be a truly networked organism (Braidotti 2013)…’