Prof. Valentina Mazzucato delivered the annual Sarah van Walsum lecture at the Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam

Prof. Valentina Mazzucato, a member of the MACIMIDE Board, delivered the 7th Sarah van Walsum lecture on October 7, 2021 at the Vrije Universiteit Amsterdam, about the need to rethink categories used in research and policy to talk about migrant youth. Her lecture was titled, ‘On categories: what we see and what we don’t see when categorising migrant youth.’

Studies on ‘migrant youth’ – especially large quantitative studies that are the most influential affecting policy and laws – typically use categories based on ethnicity and generation. Yet such categorisations hide the physical mobility that many migrant background youth engage in. Transnational migration and mobility studies argue that such trips are important for youth’s identity and belonging, yet such studies are small in scale, usually based on long-term recall, and have had little influence on the way that youth with a migration background are studied and data on them are collected in large-scale studies. Categories shape the production of knowledge and therefore need to be critically and reflexively examined by researchers.

In the lecture, Mazzucato argued for the need to experiment with a greater variety of categories and she offered some possible alternatives based on the integrated findings from the MO-TRAYL project.