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Session Chair: Sinikka Aapola-Kari, Finnish Youth Research Network
Location:PC.1.7 PANTEION University of Social & Political Sciences
136 Syggrou Avenue
17671 Athens, Greece
Building: C, Level: 1.
Framing young people’ futures: adults’ narratives of youth futurity.
University of Cagliari, Italy
Youth futures are not only undermined by the diminished opportunities due to economic crisis, the growing uncertainties and the dystopian long-term climatic projection. It can be said that narratives of the future circulating within society can be seen as a sort of colonization structuring fields of discourse (Watson 2009) and as “realizing narratives” (Weigert 2014) disempowering individual’s capacity to aspire (Appadurai (2009). Is there a dominant narrative of youth futures? How far does it shape adults’ view of young people’s futures? Within the wider frame of the iFuture research (Cuzzocrea and Mandich 2016) we interviewed a group of adults professionally involved with youth so to understand adult’s representations of youth’s futures. This presentation is going to analyse the narratives of secondary school teachers and social youth workers and experts in Sardinia (Italy) emphasizing two points. 1) Big narratives as circulating in media and public sphere are present as discursive topoi recurring in the interviews but not strongly shaping the emotional stance towards young people’s futures. 2) Visions of youth futures reflect instead both professional cultures and the strength of the relationship with young people.
HOVERING BETWEEN BRIGHT AND DARK EXPECTATIONS - A Review of Contemporary Young Faroe Islanders’ Future Images
University of the Faroe Islands, Faroe Islands
This paper explores scenarios created by young Faroe Islanders envisioning the future of their local community. The tripartite objective of the paper is, (a) to outline and analyse the role of contemporary realities and values in young people’s visions of coming times, (b) to examine the interplay between their personal future aspirations and their general vistas of the future, and (c) to delineate the value of the future as conception in research on young people’s everyday lives, knowledge and ambitions. Based on data from a qualitative study from 2014, the paper aims to shed light on young people’s hopes, fears and expectations from the context of a North Atlantic small-scale island community. Drawing on anthropological and sociological theories and discussions on the future, it seeks to illustrate how young people’s creative projections not only reflect ambivalent feelings about what assumingly lies ahead, but also represent the trial of critically confronting the present state with alternative thinkable presents (futures). Young Faroe Islanders do neither predict dystopia nor utopia in foreseeable future; they are curious and expect many changes, some of them quite radical, but they do not really connect them to their own life, to their own future plans.
Constructing future expectations in adolescence: relation to individual characteristics and ecological assets in family and friends
Mihai-Bogdan Iovu, Paul-Teodor Hărăguș, Maria Roth
Babeș-Bolyai University, Romania
Required to manage multiple developmental tasks, multiple systems and processes are involved in making adolescents thinking about and making plans for the future. The current study aims at exploring the manner in which individual (optimism, depressive symptoms, anxiety symptoms, and self-concept) and contextual factors (family and peer influences) contribute to the construction of adolescents’ future expectations. 1509 youth (891 females and 618 males) with different socio-economical backgrounds were questioned using an online platform. Compared with their counterparts, girls, adolescents who were not experiencing severe material deprivation,
those with high self-concept, displaying little depressive symptoms, and high level of optimism have more positive future expectations. As most of the available empirical data come from Western countries, these results complement the existing data in the area of emerging adulthood.
Framing a desirable future when you are young, disadvantaged and ‘at risk’
Evelyne Baillergeau, Jan Willem Duyvendak
University of Amsterdam, Netherlands, The
In our era of shrinking and precarious employment, many young people experience difficulties being enthusiastic about their future. This is especially true of youth living in disadvantaged circumstances, whose prospects on the labour market are often slim. But like their more privileged counterparts, they are expected to formulate and work towards future goals. How do they deal with this social expectation? Positive representations of the future have primarily been addressed within studies of aspiration, which have largely focused on educational and/or career aspirations. As such, sociologists of education (e.g. Sewell et al. 1969; Bourdieu & Passeron 1970; Kao & Tienda 1998) have addressed aspirations when analysing the social reproduction of inequality through what family and educational institutions project as respectable and achievable aspirations. What appears to be an almost singular focus on career aspirations has become even more prominent since the advent of ‘aspiration politics’ (Raco 2009; Spohrer 2011; Brown 2011) and agendas to broaden social participation (Hart 2012; Zipin et al. 2015; Bessant 2014; Archer et al. 2014). The focus on educational and/or career aspirations is understandable given that young people are largely expected and willing to join the labour force. But the focus on career aspirations tends to eclipse what may be more fundamental aspirations such as gaining social status and recognition. This paper discusses the conceptual and practical implications of shifting the focus from career aspirations to social recognition, based on qualitative research carried out in the Netherlands (primarily) and some references to other European countries.