Conference Agenda

RN30_05b: Migration III: Mobilities and immobilities
Thursday, 22/Aug/2019:
11:00am - 12:30pm

Session Chair: Melanie Hall, Manchester Metropolitan University
Location: GM.303
Manchester Metropolitan University Building: Geoffrey Manton, Third Floor 4 Rosamond Street West Off Oxford Road


Young Peoples’ Aspirations. Social And Spatial (Im) Mobility In A Rural Context.

Giuliana Mandich

University of Cagliari, Italy

It is possible to explore aspirations and social mobility through a variety of perspectives. I embrace Appadurai’s idea of ‘capacity to aspire’ as able to emphasise the embeddedness of people’s wants, wishes, and projects in the social condition people live in (Appadurai 2013). Similarly to the concept of habitus the ‘capacity to aspire' shape what individual conceive as un/thinkable, ab/normal, un/ desirable and is/possible (Reay, 2004). In defining these possibilities, locality is a major factor. Both as a set of structural conditions impeding or enhancing young people's aspiration and as a lived place providing a feeling of belonging crucial in the possibility of young people to go forward in life.

Whiting this frame, this paper joins the growing literature debating the link between social and spatial mobility. I analyse 40 semi-structured interviews with young people (aged from 18 to 24) in two rural areas in Sardinia characterised by depopulation, a high percentage of students’ drop-off from the educational system and high rates of unemployment. These narratives about young people’s aspirations not only support the idea that mobility and belonging are not in opposition (Cuzzocrea 2018, Juvonen and Romakkaniemi 2018, Farrugia, Smyth, and Harrison 2014) but also identify varying configurations of social and spatial (im)mobilities. Young people's affective experience of the place they live in frame thus individual aspirations and projects of social and spatial mobility.

Fixing Your Gaze On The Sea. Young People, Place and Intergenerational Relations in a Faroe Islands Village

Firouz Gaini

University of the Faroe Islands, Faroe Islands

This paper, looking at a village community through the eyes of its youth, aims to examine and analyse the (local) knowledge, identity and intra- and intergenerational relations of people from a coastal community in time of societal shift. Focusing on the place and the sea, we asks what is the social and cultural meaning of the sea and the coastal landscape for identity and belonging? Based on their everyday lives, family histories, and narratives of past-present-future continuity, we review young people’s sense of ‘belonging’ to place and ‘bonds’ to the past. This paper – at the intersection of island studies, youth studies and rural sociology – is connected to the international research project ‘Valuing the past, sustaining the future. Education, knowledge and identity across three generations in coastal community’ (2016-2021), funded by Research Council Norway. It is based on 35 qualitative biographical interviews (from 2017) with members of 13 families representing three generations. The Faroe Islands, a North Atlantic island community heavily dependent on fisheries, represent a society in transition facing similar challenges as many other islands and small-scale societies, regarding out-migration, economic restructuration and relative ‘remoteness’ (‘islandness’). The presumption of the paper is that we need to rethink the human impact on local development and societal revitalization by putting young people in focus: How do contemporary girls and boys envision the future of their islands?

Aspirations, Place and Belonging: Young Adults’ Imagining the Future in a Swedish Industrial Locality

Hanna Uddbäck

University of Gothenburg, Sweden

This paper explores how place and a sense of belonging influence young adults’ imagined futures and aspirations. The paper draws on analysis of 19 qualitative interviews with young adults between 22 and 28 years old in an industrial locality in Sweden. The structural changes of the labour market have reduced the opportunity to get an entry-level industrial job. To meet the new situation the municipality is aiming to raise the level of education among its inhabitants by changing their ‘cultural attitude’ towards higher education and encourage spatial mobility. Research from the UK has critically engaged with politics of ‘raising aspirations’ where aspirations are seen as crucial to enhancing employability and social mobility. Place attachment is, within this politics, seen as an obstacle for young people to realise their aspirations (Allen & Hollingworth 2013, Brown 2011, Evans 2016). There is also a dimension related to the urban-rural divide, where staying in rural areas is (de)valued as a less ambitious and passive choice while leaving is seen as the only way to “get on” with life according to middle-class values (Jamieson 2000, Svensson 2006). How do the young adults’ in this study articulate their emotional attachment to their home locality? How do they relate to and understand the rural-urban divide? How do their sense of belonging influence their aspirations and imagined future? The results suggest that the young adults’ imagined future involves contradictory emotions of belonging and conflicting aspirations, including both dreams of mobility and immobility as well as continuity and change.

“I've Been Here My Whole Life. I'll Just Stay Here”. Young Women’s Narratives of Place-Making, (Im-)mobility and Imagined Futures.

Signe Ravn

University of Melbourne, Australia

This paper draws on findings from an ongoing qualitative, longitudinal research project focusing on the everyday lives and imagined futures of young women with disrupted educational pathways in Victoria, Australia. In this paper I focus on the participants’ place-making practices (cf. Benson & Jackson 2013) and sense of belonging in the present as well as in the futures they imagine for themselves. Drawing on Cuervo and Wyn’s (2017, p. 220) argument that ‘everyday practices over time build the layers of an affective experience of place’, I explore the young women’s sense of belonging in their current everyday lives via a mapping exercise and supplement this with interview data about their imagined futures. Central in these narratives is how their negotiations of their future dreams takes place in the context of an ever-present mobility ‘imperative’ (Farrugia 2016). However, the ways in which this imperative was present in the participants’ narratives differed significantly, showing complex relations between their present and future place-making practices. The paper discusses this by linking place-making practices to ‘people-making practices’, or in other words how imagining futures also means imagining future selves; a self in time and place.