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Planetary Youth Research

Planetary youth research is Research Professor Sofia Laine‘s approach to youth research, in which young people and youth are studied in relation to the carrying capacity of the planet. Research Professor Sofia Laine’s initiative of the ‘planetary youth research’ is well described by Vitor Sérgio Ferreira and Ana Nunes de Almeida (2023) in their text Re-Envisioning Youth Studies in Times of Global Risks: an Introduction, in Youth and Globalization journal:

The world’s volatility in multiple areas is increasing dramatically, leading to a global situation of parallel and concurrent shocks with deeply interconnected risks, undermining the resilience of all beings and things existing on the planet and, thus, accelerating the risk of polycrises – when different crises interact in such a way that their overall impact far exceeds the sum of their individual part (wef 2023: 57).

Faced with the threat to the planet’s sustainability posed by multiple and intertwined “global crises” (climate change, covid-19 and other zoonoses, political turmoil, wars, etc.), Sofia Laine presents the exciting essay “New Framework Proposal: Planetary Youth Research.” She discusses how youth research should be driven towards a “planetary approach”: planetary not only in terms of achieving a global scale but mainly in terms of prioritizing the relation between humans and more-than-human nature located on the planet. This creative approach, called “planetary youth research”, explicitly implies an ethical purpose of overcoming the traditional and historical exploitative relationships between human beings, and between human beings and other beings and things. It demands from the field of youth studies an engaged and applied ethical framework, that can provide solutions to address the complex challenges of sustainable development and the well-being of all living beings.

Youth studies play a fundamental role as a leading scientific field in approaching and debating the mediation between contemporary social institutions and the present and future generations. Its consolidated status as a social interpreter and sensitive listener of young people points out the relevance of youth research in the process of challenging current intergenerational inequalities. Research should stimulate the awareness and the expansion of a new ethical approach to the use of natural resources, as well as the promotion of socio-political responsibility and the intergenerational ability to link current decisions with the living conditions of future generations.

Although initially inspired by the four principles of the ‘global ethical framework’, presented by the Club of Rome in 1974, the planetary youth research proposed by Sofia Laine outlines an innovative framework by modernizing and extending these basic principles through the integration of current cutting-edge and marginal theoretical insights in the realms of social sciences. At the same time, the author opens up youth research to theoretical and methodological trends such as sensory, indigenous, or ecofeminist forms of knowledge, combined with participatory methods that involve young people not only in terms of research processes but also in the social and political arenas.

Network for Planetary Youth Research

Planetary Youth Research is an opening from the Research Professor Sofia Laine. She invites everyone interested to join the global or Finnish networks on this topic and to collaborate. If you would be interested, please contact her.

The next international event around this topic will take place at the Nordic Youth Research Symposiums (NYRIS) 2024 – Youth in a Just and Fair World. The working group Planetary youth research and young people’s climate emotions is led by Sofia Laine and well distinguished eco-emotions researcher Panu Pihkala. Call for abstracts is open until 19th January, welcome!

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Eila Kauppinen

Doctor of Philosophy (Education), Ph.D.
Research Director (temp.)
+358 44 416 5335

Eila Kauppinen

Doctor of Philosophy (Education), PhD
Research Director
+358 44 416 5335

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Jenni Lahtinen

Master of Social Sciences
Doctoral researcher, visiting researcher
+358 50 340 7361

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Konsta Happonen

Statistical Researcher
+358 44 416 5377

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Sofia Laine

PhD, title of docent in Youth Research (University of Tampere)
Research Professor
+358 44 416 5374

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Tomi Kiilakoski

Leading Senior Researcher
+358 40 504 6432

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