Feeling alive : Voices of incarcerated youth in We Are Alive

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


This article presents a case study of a documentary film to demonstrate the need to look beyond conventions for insight into youth incarceration. Yau Ching's (2010) We Are Alive documents a series of media production workshops conducted in juvenile correctional centres and training centres in Hong Kong, Macao and Sapporo, Japan. We Are Alive is a significant media text for analysis for two reasons. First, it is a youth-led documentary that offers a glimpse into settings that are often inaccessible to researchers, and second, it adopts a comparative perspective on three East Asian societies. The film offers rich data for sociological analysis as a point of access to understanding the lives of young people detained in correctional institutions in Asia. In analysing it, this article engages the contesting issues of social conformity, criminal justice, youth resistance and teenage masculinities and femininities through a close reading informed by a theoretical matrix comprising queer theory and cultural studies in an inter-Asian context.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-170
Number of pages18
JournalCrime, Media, Culture
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Documentary film
  • Hong Kong
  • Japan
  • juvenile delinquency
  • Macao
  • youth


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