Call for papers: 5th International Conference on Geographies of Children, Youth and Families 25-27 September 2017  University of Loughborough UK

Session Title: Precarious lives: children, youth and families in contexts of urban poverty

Session Organisers: Lorraine van Blerk (University of Dundee, UK) & Harriot Beazley (University of the Sunshine Coast, AUS)


The 2030 sustainable development goals recently adopted by the UN highlight the significant challenges faced by society. In particular the SDGs aim to end poverty, provide economic growth and employment for all, and make cities inclusive, safe and sustainable. By 2030 as many as 60% of all urban dwellers will be under the age of 18. Most of these young people will be living in cities in the Global South facing challenging circumstances in terms of poverty, their health and well-being, and in meeting their basic needs.

The challenges for urban young people in the 21st Century are further exacerbated by a range of complex social, economic, political, and environmental contexts, with young people growing up in increasingly precarious situations. Significant changes in global environmental conditions have witnessed escalating impacts of natural hazards in already precarious urban communities, while refugee and asylum seeker populations in urban areas are experiencing increasingly protracted and complex conditions as global conflicts continue unabated.  Yet the processes by which young people respond to the effects of precarity in their lives are sparsely investigated. Young people’s lives are entwined with the urban fabric and social life of cities in which they live and our capacity to understand their resiliencies and strategies for coping in adversity is important. The importance is not only for deepening our understandings of young lives, which is always significant, but for broadening our knowledge about the lived experiences of growing up in precarious contexts in the Global South more generally.

This session seeks to explore the precarious situations in which children, youth and their families experience urban life, and to understand the impacts and opportunities such contexts create for overcoming the challenging social, economic, political and environmental conditions in which they live.

This can include, but is not limited to research papers addressing the following:

•Displacement and refugee experiences

•Health challenges: water and sanitation

•Living ‘illegally’: urban poverty and informal settlements

•Precarious livelihoods and employment

•Gender, sexuality and identity

•Violence, stigma and Isolation

•Impacts of environmental change: living in hazardous environments

•Resilience and strategies for coping

•Reducing inequalities

•Research and methods for examining precarious situations.

Please send abstracts of no more than 250 words to Professor Lorraine van Blerk ( or Dr Harriot Beazley ( by Monday 27th February 2017.

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