Conference Agenda

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Session Overview
RN30_10a: Wellbeing and inequalities
Friday, 23/Aug/2019:
2:00pm - 3:30pm

Session Chair: Laura Gilliam, Aarhus Universitet
Location: GM.302
Manchester Metropolitan University Building: Geoffrey Manton, Third Floor 4 Rosamond Street West Off Oxford Road

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Subjective Well-being and Agency of Young Adults Leaving Care in the Russian North

Meri Susanna Kulmala1, Zhanna Chernova2

1University of Helsinki, Finland; 2Higher School of Economics, Russia

Russia is currently on-going a massive reform of its child welfare system. Besides strengthening support services for families at risk, the reform develops out-of-home care in foster families and transforms the previously large and segregated residential care institutions into small family-like units in order to promote better social inclusion of this specific group of young people left without parental care. As elsewhere, these Russian young adults face multi-layered (structural) inequalities and carry out a high risk of social exclusion. They typically face numerous challenges in their aftercare life, for instance, in the sphere of education, employment and income, housing and family life, and show poor health outcome and involvement in criminal activity. The listed spheres of life are usually considered as key components of well-being.

In our research, we aim is to move beyond such a problem-frame to focus on the positive outcomes. By analyzing the so-called successful cases, we zoom to resources and resilience of this group of young adults leaving care whom we consider as the best ‘experts by experience’ over the best practices of support in their aftercare lives. We aim to understand what kinds of elements might have positive effect on the experienced well-being and ability to have impact over their life course, i.e. we explore different components of their subjective well-being and modes of agency.

Our analysis is based on the qualitative interviews that we have conducted with young care leavers (aged 21-25 years) and peer-interviews conducted by young care leavers themselves in the Murmansk region (Russia). Thus, our scope of analysis is how these young adults themselves narrate their current life satisfaction and future prospects.

Youth Participation In Times Of Neoliberal Urbanism - Expert Discourses On The Effects Of Social Stratification And Unequal Living Conditions In The City Of Gothenburg

Zulmir Becevic1, Magnus Dahlstedt2

1University of Gothenburg, Sweden; 2Linköping University

During past couple of decades there has been a significant proliferation of interest regarding youth participation, on policy level as well as in research. Generally, the immense interest for the topic can be traced to a growing public concern regarding the 'youth participatory deficit' and youth dissatisfaction in European societies. This dominant discourse posits young people as low-degree participants in the economic, social and political processes of the established arenas of society, which in the long run threatens the foundations of democracy. Taking into consideration the neoliberal transformation of West European cities towards increasing socioeconomic and ethno-cultural segregation we argue for a pressing need to analyze youth participation as shaped by structural arrangements and unequal access to resources which create spatial and symbolic divisions between different categories of young people.

This paper examines the enigmatic concept of 'youth participation' through the prism of structural inequality, placing it at the heart of the current order of neoliberal politics. The idea of structure is brought into play aiming at examining participation as embedded in the societal matrix of unequal power relations and life opportunities which are essential characteristics of the neoliberal city. The individual acts, but always in relation to a web of relations that shape the framework within which participatory action evolves. Young people's experiences are inevitably shaped and differentiated by social divisions. Building on interview and ethnographic data from a recently completed Horizon2020 project on youth participation in European cities (PARTISPACE), the analysis aims at bringing into the understanding of youth participation the idea of social stratification that profoundly shapes and structures the worlds of young people.

'I've missed out on being young': The Construction of Young People's Life Courses in the Context of Parental Dementia

Melanie Hall1, Pat Sikes2

1Manchester Metropolitan University, United Kingdom; 2University of Sheffield

Dementia is the umbrella term applied to a group of symptoms associated with a range of terminal diseases affecting the brain, leading to cognitive change. Developments in medical knowledge have resulted in an increase in diagnoses, including young onset variants. However, research has yet to explore how this is experienced by children and young people who have, or have had, a parent with dementia. This paper reflects on findings from a study based on narrative interviews with 24 British 6-31 year olds. Findings illustrate the impact on the life course and how having a parent with dementia calls established phases of the life course, such as childhood and youth, into question. Data indicates tangible impacts on young people’s lives in terms of: planning their education/career; mobilities and navigating personal lives. Participants described the ‘limbo’ their lives were in or had been in, until their parents’ death. This resonates with Turner’s (1969) concept of liminality which is applied to phenomena that are in some way, ‘non-normative’ and render individuals ‘betwixt and between’. Participants were not considered bereaved and thus denied the social exemptions usually afforded to the bereaved, while also experiencing loss, and are thus ‘in-between’. Parental dementia disrupted their expectations of their lifecourse on account of their parents illness. Theorizations of these narratives illustrate the social construction of the lifecourse (Holstein & Gubrium, 2007) and argue for more nuanced approaches to these. The research contributes to understandings of young people’s constructions of the lifecourse in the context of loss.

Anime Youth Scene In A Muslim Region of Russia: (Sub)cultural Identities, Global trends and Local Barriers

Alina Vladimirovna Maiboroda

National Research University Higher School of Economics St. Petersburg, Russian Federation

The paper is focus on one youth cultural scene in Makhachkala, the capital of the Republic of Dagestan, and the third largest city in the North Caucasus region of the Russian Federation. The uniqueness of Makhachkala’s youth space is associated with the specific geopolitical and cultural circumstances of the history of the republic. This is set against the context of post-Soviet transformation: rising unemployment and severe inequality; the revival of Islam; radical changes in the gender regime, the ethnic and religious composition of Dagestanis; and a complicated political agenda involving the struggle with radicalization, and the growth of a terrorist threat. Thus, it important and timely to study local youth sociality, which exist in such a contradictory context.

The research is focused on the anime fans, who symbolically resisting to the pressure of social “normativity”. They represent themselves as ‘non-formal’1 youth and seek to be separated from ‘common’, ‘normal’, ‘ordinary’ young people. Participants demonstrate specific values. Using the theoretical concept of cultural scenes and a case-study approach (in-depth interviews, participant observation, community mapping), the potential to categorize youth that are not centred (that is, who are outside the ‘core’ of the capitalist world-system) is critically considered through the opposition between subcultural and mainstream groups. The key aim of the paper is describes the intra- and inter-group solidarities and the value conflicts of youth in a complex and contradictory local urban environment.

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