Backpack AmbassadorsHow Youth Travel Integrated Europe

Backpack AmbassadorsHow Youth Travel Integrated Europe

Richard Ivan Jobs

Print publication date: 2018

ISBN: 9780226438979

Publisher: University of Chicago Press


This book emphasizes European integration as a fundamentally social and cultural process in addition to a political and economic one by studying the practice of travel and tourism by the young and the emergence of youth as a transnational social body in the postwar period. It explores the cultural practice of youth travel as a case study that argues for a less EU-centric approach to the writing of European integration history. European integration is usually treated as a top-down affair, but Backpack Ambassadors explores it from the bottom up through the cross-border travels of millions of backpacking youth. As a transnational history of youth mobility, this book is integral to understanding the historical development of European integration by showing how European states and societies sought to surmount cultural divides and promote civic discourse through the internationalism of the young. Backpack Ambassadors traces this cultural integration process from 1945 to 1992. It opens at the moment that Western Europe confronted the violent legacy of two world wars and concludes at the end of the Cold War and as European integration was redefined by the Maastricht Treaty. It is a history of youth culture and youth travel through cross-border mobility expanding from Northern and Western to Southern and Eastern Europe and beyond.