Inventing Youth Wellbeing



Calls to address wellbeing are now so commonplace and widespread that they can mean both everything and nothing. Across policy and popular discourses, improving wellbeing is offered as a solution to the myriad issues facing young people today. This chapter explores the invention of youth wellbeing as a concept and a category of concern, noting its ambiguity and changing applications. It introduces a case for defamilarizing the status and truth claims of the construct of youth wellbeing, by exploring its invention as well as its movements and productive effects. Two sets of conceptual resources are outlined for developing this analysis: the first is informed by Somers’ approach to developing an historical sociology of concept formation, and the second is Bacchi’s account of the construction of policy problems. The chapter concludes with an overview of the papers in this volume which, in drawing on a range of approaches and intellectual traditions, take a step back from taken-for-granted assumptions about youth wellbeing and provide provocations to think anew about this category, the problems it addresses and the promises it makes.


Defamilarization Historical sociology Policy Problematization Youth wellbeing 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Singapore 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Melbourne Graduate School of EducationThe University of MelbourneMelbourneAustralia

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