Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
RN30_08: Transitions and social change
Thursday, 22/Aug/2019:
6:00pm - 7:30pm

Session Chair: Airi-Alina Allaste, Tallinn University
Location: GM.337
Manchester Metropolitan University Building: Geoffrey Manton, Third Floor 4 Rosamond Street West Off Oxford Road

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Open-ended Transitions: Changing Metaphors for a New Age

Rachel Thomson1, Jeanette Østergaard2

1University of Sussex, United Kingdom; 2VIVE - The Danish Center for Social Science Research, Denmark

The field of youth studies has been characterised by a self-conscious use of metaphor with the term ‘transition’ the focus of debate. In this paper we review the ways that metaphor has been used in youth studies, including a recent term to new metaphors that capture the foreclosure of futures for young people, capturing experiences of waiting, delay and non-institutional notions of temporality. Drawing on the intellectual resources of queer theory we challenge the developmentalism that continues to underpin youth studies, experimenting with notions of the impasse (Berlant) and growing sideways (Bond-Stockon) which in different ways capture the open-endedness of young adults lives. Drawing on data from a qualitative longitudinal study of Danish youth we focus on the way that 47 young people responded to an invitation to talk about and through an object that represented that last three years of their lives, the time that had elapsed since our last interview. These rich accounts can be understood as examples of Riceours ‘metaphoric discourse’, characterised by the simultaneity of ‘is’ and ‘is not’. The paper offers a categorisation of the biographical objects (trophies, hobbies, turning points, connective, protest and evocative) before engaging with participants’ own metaphorical thinking in great depth – suggesting that such examples can help us expand how we understand the struggle for maturity and the way it is mediated both by tensions between individualised and institutionalised markers and by shifting orientations to the past and the future.

Changing Youth Life Course. Decision-Making Process In Times Of Discontinuity

Ralph Chan

University of Vienna, Austria

Life courses of youths have changed over the past decades due to societal changes. They are experiencing faster-paced changes than before, more fractions, fragmentations and transitions in their life course. These challenges have a big impact on the individual life projects and influence the decision-making process, for instance, on educational choices or career pathways. Career decision-making is considered as complex process where critical moments have an impact in the life course and identity. This presentation on my doctoral research is designed to find out and understand the aspects that are relevant (= rationale) and how they influence the decision-making process of youths. The main research question of is: What is the relative weight of different influences on young people's decision-making about education and/or training on leaving school (e.g. further education, apprenticeships and other youth training programmes or work)? The research gap is that current research on the life course, on youth and their educational choices in Austria and specifically in Vienna and Innsbruck from a sociological perspective remains limited. With a research design, that combines secondary quantitative and qualitative data, it can help to get a broader understanding of the contextual factors how decisions are made. In this presentation the theoretical framework as well as the first preliminary results should be presented.

The Role Of Leisure Activities On Gender (A)Typical Occupational Aspirations – Discussing The Causal Structure

Julia Zimmermann

Deutsches Jugendinstitut (German Youth Institute), Germany

Research on gender differences in the process of career choice usually focuses on the overall context of the educational and vocational training system. One of the neglected aspects is the impact of informal and nonformal learning environments. There is a shortage not only of longitudinal studies that allow to investigate singular factors (like certain extracurricular activities) influencing career choices, but also of theoretical concepts that consider all causal and non-causal mechanisms of career development. Since most hypotheses-driven regression models do not depict the complete causal structure of a social problem and thus may lead to biased interpretations, we propose a graphical causal diagram, which summarizes theoretical assumptions about the formation of occupational aspirations. It incorporates educational, individual and family characteristics as well as extracurricular activities. By using longitudinal data from the survey "Growing up in Germany (AID:A II)” of the German Youth Institute, we estimate the effects of certain leisure related activities on gender (a)typical career aspirations.

Young Returning Migrants as Actors of Social Changes in Slovakia

Roman Hofreiter

Matej Bel University, Slovak Republic

The situation in Slovakia is characterised by a high number of young people studying or working abroad. A migration presents a cyclical event for young Slovaks. It involves the process of leaving the homeland but on the other side it is also the process of returning home. The process of return migration is often studied from an economic perspective. However, the return migration presents new themes, some of which are include in the presentation. I will focus on the tendencies of returning young migrants to become bearers of change and development in their home country and I will explain how young returning migrants modify life in their immediate primary circle, community and even society. However, to be young returning migrant does not automatically means ability to bring significant social innovation. Therefore, I will also present the social and cultural characteristics of young returning migrants that support returnees´ ability to bring innovation into community and broader society.

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