Beyond Western Models: Towards a Global Framework in Youth Emancipation Trajectories

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Authors: Maria Josep Cascant-Sempere and Isarn Pardes-Fuses

To cite this article:  Cascant-Sempere, M. J. & Pardes-Fuses, I., (2024) Beyond Western Models: Towards a Global Framework in Youth Emancipation Trajectories, Youth Voice Journal, ISSN (online): 2056-2969.

Categories: Paper, Youth Voice Journal



Purpose: Frameworks on youth emancipation have developed mostly in industrialised contexts. Are these useful to understand the process in other world geographies? This study reviews data from West Africa, Southern Europe, and low-income countries in Latin America and the Caribbean, to suggest a framework with global benchmarks relevant to the various continents.

Methodology: The study is based on a review of literature that covered academic articles, official statistics, and grey literature from the third sector from 2015 to 2022. Inclusion criteria covered texts in English and Spanish with the words ‘youth emancipation’, ‘youth transitions’, and ‘youth trajectories’, ranging from ethnographic to statistical research.

Findings: Consolidated theory on itineraries (educational, labour, housing, and family) and dimensions (linearity, extension, reversibility, and diversification) prove useful to compare realities worldwide. However, some emancipation milestones are less relevant in non-European subregions – such as completing compulsory education, starting a full-time job, or leaving the family home. Marrying and having children remain central, especially for young women, dictating their life trajectories as much as education or work. Migration, displacements, and freedom of choice, emerge as new dimensions to be integrated.

Practical Implications: Youth organisations and inter-governmental bodies can use this framework to compare their work in different countries. More research is needed to develop a comparative framework that goes beyond Western centrality in theorisation.

Originality/Value: The suggested framework presents a review of non-western literature on youth emancipation. The framework resulting from it is likely to be more adapted than current frameworks used only for European contexts with European youth.

Keywords: Youth transitions, coloniality, West Africa, Southern Europe, Latin America and the Caribbean

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