Youth, Normality and belonging in the province: - In search of a methodology that grasps young people’s perspectives

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This presentation is based on qualitative research concerning young people’s place and activity constructions in the tension between everyday life perspectives and structural, societal imperatives. In our research we are interested in examining how young people in 8th grade experience, define and construct youth, normality and a sense of belonging in their local environments.Which spaces and places (Kirkeby, Gitz-Johansen & Kampmann 2005) do young people use in their everyday cultural practices, and how do their leisure life's various arenas mark identity, belonging and kinship? To what extend do young people use non-pedagogical spaces and adult-free places, and what role do such unstructured socializing spheres play for young people's communities and sense of belonging (Gravesen 2015; Gravesen & Olesen 2015a; Gravesen & Olesen 2015b)? What understandings of normality thrive among young people, and how are their choices regarding structured activities such as part-time jobs, leisure-time activities and sports affected by implicit and explicit structural requirements from the welfare state and its institutions and professionals (Frostholm & Gravesen 2016)?The methodological setup involves a variety of experimental, qualitative methods for approaching young people's everyday life perspectives (Featherstone 1992; Jacobsen & Kristiansen 2005). We conducted a number of research-facilitated workshops and subsequent follow-up studies. First, we conducted workshops in four 8th grade classes in four socioeconomically different Lower Secondary Schools in Horsens municipality in Denmark. In the four workshops we used socio matrix-inspired (Beum & Brundage 1950) cartographic everyday life mappings (Anvik & Gustavsen 2012) to gain insight into young people's use of and movement between different spaces and places in their local environment. In the follow-up studies, we move away from the classrooms where the workshops are situated, to take a more street-based ethnographic approach (Hastrup 2010; Spradley 1980). In this part of the data collection process, we follow core informants from each of the four classes when they move around in their locality. We conduct walk-and-talks, Photo Elicitation Interviews (Jensen 2008; Schjellerup Nielsen, H. 2013; Sand 2014; Pyyry 2015) and Place Interviews (Sand 2014) in order to gain a more thorough understanding of how the local areas, leisure, normality and structural requirements are linked to the young people’s sense of belonging. In the presentation we discuss the potentials and challenges of such experimental methods and assess the impact the participatory elements of the methods have for the ambition to grasp the young people's perspectives.By conducting this research we strive to develop a methodology that better grasps young people’s understandings of youth, normality and belonging. Our preliminary analysis suggest that the socioeconomic environment in the school districts are an important factor behind the young people’s place and activity priorities, and we will elaborate on this in the presentation.The understanding of young people’s take on youth, normality and sense of belonging, will shed light on important issues regarding socializing practices and formal/informal learning processes among young people in contemporary Nordic societies.
Publikationsdato23 mar. 2017
StatusUdgivet - 23 mar. 2017
BegivenhedNERA 2017: Learning and education – material conditions and consequences - Aalborg Universitet, København, København, Danmark
Varighed: 23 mar. 201725 mar. 2017
Konferencens nummer: 45.


KonferenceNERA 2017
LokationAalborg Universitet, København


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