© 2016

Life Narratives and Youth Culture

Representation, Agency and Participation

Part of the Studies in Childhood and Youth book series (SCY)

Table of contents

  1. Front Matter
    Pages i-xi
  2. Young Writers and Life Narrative Encounters

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 1-1
    2. Kate Douglas, Anna Poletti
      Pages 3-32
  3. Writing War

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 61-61
    2. Kate Douglas, Anna Poletti
      Pages 63-88
    3. Kate Douglas, Anna Poletti
      Pages 89-117
  4. Girlhoods Interrupted

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 119-119
    2. Kate Douglas, Anna Poletti
      Pages 121-148
  5. Youth Publics

    1. Front Matter
      Pages 175-175
    2. Kate Douglas, Anna Poletti
      Pages 177-202
    3. Kate Douglas, Anna Poletti
      Pages 203-224
  6. Back Matter
    Pages 233-267

About this book


This book considers the largely under-recognised contribution that young writers have made to life writing genres such as memoir, letter writing and diaries, as well as their innovative use of independent and social media. The authors argue that these contributions have been historically silenced, subsumed within other literary genres, culturally marginalised or co-opted for political ends. Furthermore, the book considers how life narrative is an important means for youth agency and cultural participation. By engaging in private and public modes of self-representation, young people have contested public discourses around the representation of youth, including media, health and welfare, and legal discourses, and found means for re-engaging and re-appropriating self-images and representations.  Locating their research within broader theoretical debates from childhood and youth studies: youth creative practice and associated cultural implications; youth citizenship and autonomy; the rights of the child; generations and power relationships, Poletti and Douglas also position their inquiry within life narrative scholarship and wider discussions of self-representation from the margins, representations of conflict and trauma, and theories of ethical scholarship.


Romanticism literature zines War diaries memoir Riot Grrrl Activism internet autobiography child soldiers suicide culture participation youth

Authors and affiliations

  1. 1.Flinders UniversityAdelaideAustralia
  2. 2.Monash UniversityClaytonAustralia

About the authors

Anna Poletti is Associate Professor in English at Utrecht University, Netherlands and a Senior Research Fellow at Monash University, Australia. 

Kate Douglas is Associate Professor in the School of Humanities and Creative Arts at Flinders University, Australia. 

Bibliographic information


“Life Narratives and Youth Culture highlights the diversity in the life writing produced by young authors, including diaries, letters, memoires, zines, blogs and life writing on Facebook. … Life Narratives and Youth Culture is laudable for many reasons. The style is accessible and the arguments are backed up with well selected quotes and source references. … The authors open up a rich field of study that is relevant to many scholars working in children’s literature studies.” (Vanessa Joosen, International Research in Children's Literature, Vol. 11 (1), July, 2018)