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Stephen Young

Assistant Professor of Geography and International Studies

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PhD - Geography, University of Washington, 2010 Masters - Sociology, University of Edinburgh, 2002

Research Areas

Most of my research focuses on the everyday ways in which people - particularly youth - are negotiating economic change in India. My doctoral work examined struggles surrounding the commercialization of microcredit programs in coastal Andhra. Drawing on qualitative fieldwork I explored the multiple ways in which microcredit programs were both challenging and reproducing socio-economic inequalities in a small, rural town. I intend to conduct follow-up research on this topic in 2012. I am currently involved in a project that examines the livelihood strategies and cultures of enterprise developed by educated, unemployed youth in Uttar Pradesh, India (see below). I am also part of a large, multi-country study that will identify similarities and differences in the way that middle-class actors in different parts of the world engage with issues of poverty and inequality. I also have a strong interest in critical geopolitics. One other strand of collaborative research that I hope to extend concerns US government efforts to control informal communication flows. This includes Cold War 'psyops' that sought to perfect the diffusion of propaganda in the early-1950s, initiatives to control the circulation of rumors believed to be inciting urban unrest in the late-1960s, and current efforts to harness social networking sites such as Facebook for geopolitical ends.

Current Research

Uttar Pradesh (UP) is the most populous state in India and also one of the poorest. In the 2007 State Assembly elections, the BSP, a party representing low castes, won a spectacular victory. But has this led to social and economic gains "on the ground" for UP's most marginalized communities? My current work, conducted with Dr. Craig Jeffrey (University of Oxford), explores this question through a focus on educated, unemployed young men in northwest UP. We are tracking the lives of several young men as they seek to challenge discrimination and corruption in public office or carve out new economic opportunities. A current focus is on the kinds of work spaces and cultures of enterprise that are emerging among youth in this region.

Courses Taught

In Fall 2011-12 I will be teaching 'Introduction to International Studies' (IS 101). The course is designed to give students an overview of the main topics covered in IS major, including economic restructuring, conflict and security, human rights and democracy, and the 'global commons'. In the future, I will also be teaching intermediate and upper-level courses on economic geography, critical geopolitics, international development, and contemporary South Asia.

Selected Publications

C. Jeffrey & S. Young "Waiting for Change: youth, caste and politics in India" forthcoming in Economy & Society

S. Young
2012. Leveraging "Vision Mumbai": Global Finance, the State and Middle-Class Politics" in K. Coelho, L. Kamath & M. Vijaybaskar (eds.) Participolis: Consent and Contestation in Urban Governance New Delhi: Routledge

A. Pinkerton, S. Young & K. Dodds 2011. "Weapons of Mass Communication: the securitization of social networking sites", Political Geography 30, 3, pp.115-117

A. Pinkerton, S. Young & K. Dodds 2011. "Postcards from Heaven: critical geographies of the Cold War Military-Industrial-Academic Complex," forthcoming in Antipode 43, 3, pp. 820-844

S. Young 2010. "Gender, Mobility and the Financialization of Development," Geopolitics 15, 3, pp.606-627

S. Young 2010. "The 'Moral Hazards' of Microfinance: restructuring rural credit in India," Antipode 42, 1, pp.201-230

Contact Information

Office Hours: Fridays 2.30-3.30

Mailing Address:
University of Wisconsin Department of Geography 550 N. Park Street Science Hall Madison, WI 53706-1404

Phone: (608) 890 3097

Email: : sjyoung3@wisc.edu