Youth Circulations is an archive tracing the real and imagined circulations of global youth.

As anthropologists who research the migration of children and youth, we recognize a glaring disconnect between the nuanced, transnational lives of the young people with whom we work and the active reduction of their lives into abbreviated tropes, such as the vulnerable victim, delinquent, violent threat, impoverished dependent and so on. In collecting and curating photographic representations of transnational youth, we aim to draw attention to this consequential circulation of images, including those that render something--and often, someone--immobile. We also strive to identify and highlight active counter-points, namely occasions in which youth are portrayed or self-represent as complex, agentive, skilled, creative, relational actors. Taken together, this website concentrates on three primary circulations:

  1. Youth themselves circulate. Through transnational movement and global technologies, young people circulate between nations, communities, and virtual spaces.

  2. Global youth are agents of circulation. As transnational actors, young migrants shape and contribute to global flows of people, capital, ideas, and values.

  3. Ideas circulate about global youth. Put forth in the media, in policy reports, and by advocacy and opposition efforts, representations of young migrants are power-filled and consequential, both in and beyond communities of origin and destination.

An ongoing project, the images we collect and feature on Youth Circulations are primarily from mainstream news sources, policy reports and promotional materials. Though we select and organize these images, we ultimately recognize them as contextual, as are their meanings and interpretations. The goal of Youth Circulations is to incite critique as well as conversation. We look forward to hearing from you.


The content and design of are copyrighted © 2014 by Lauren Heidbrink and Michele Statz. The images and videos may be copyrighted by third parties. Title 17 § 107 of U.S. Copyright Law indicates that the “fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phonorecords or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.” Specific permission to use these materials may be required; it is the user’s responsibility to assess and/or secure rights for use. Please inform of any potential copyright infringements.