Guerrilla selfhood: Imagining young people's entrepreneurial futures

Luke Howie, Perri Campbell

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

21 Citations (Scopus)


In this paper, we argue that complex forms of selfhood emerge in relation to rapid economic and social changes unfolding in the early stages of the twenty-first century. We draw on literature that explores youth at risk, entrepreneurial selfhood and neoliberalism to argue that young people are developing modes of transition that allow them to acclimatise to economic and social insecurity. It is an insecurity borne of a paradoxical reliance on, and failure of, neoliberal forms of economics and society. In the context of a post-Global Financial Crisis (post-GFC) world, we explore how young people take responsibility for their uncertain futures. Via our critique of how young people are supposed to manage their lives from education to employment, we argue that a form of selfhood emerges as they are challenged by limited education and employment opportunities. We call this selfhood the guerrilla self. We use this term to designate types of identity that require participation through resistance, institutionalisation through the appearance of not being institutionalised, and individualism in the midst of a failure of individualism. In making this case, we draw on stories told by young people in the USA planning for a future in a post-GFC world.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)906-920
Number of pages15
JournalJournal of Youth Studies
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Entrepreneurial self
  • guerrilla self
  • interviews
  • neoliberalism
  • transitions
  • youth at risk

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