Development and Urbanization
(South-)East Asian societies have, over the past few decades, undergone dramatic demographic, economic, political and technological transitions. Particularly impacted by these transformations is the younger generation, whose experiences differ greatly from those of earlier generations. Continually exposed to both traditional and modern values and practices, young people in (South-)East Asia have proven particularly active in appropriating old and creating new practices when seeking to shape their subjectivities and aspirations. Urban space and cyber-space afford self-expression, anonymity and opportunities for socio-economic mobility, which were previously inaccessible. The panel will bring together research conducted in urban China, Laos and Vietnam, thus engaging across the common divide between East and Southeast Asian studies. Although the scale and the intensity of the urban condition differ considerably between these countries, the papers in this panel reveal striking similarities in the urban experience of young people. The aim is threefold: to unveil the importance of thinking about youth not just as a life phase but also as a generation (i.e. a window onto the historical moment); to reflect on youth not as a passive target of state-led, or consumerist modes of governmentality and family's expectations, but as active agents able to shape cultural landscapes, including the cultural industry; to sustain a dialogue with recent anthropological work that foregrounds the "future" as a legitimate area of study. By examining "youthful places" in Beijing, Shanghai, Ho Chi Minh City and Vientiane, this panel will consider spatial performances of youth as not only deployed through spatial practices, but constituted by these very spaces, be they actual or virtual.