ROBINSON, MARGARET,ANNE (2020) Working it out for yourself: how young people use strategies and resources to reshape or reinvent identities which they experience as problematic and/or limiting in their progress towards adulthood. Doctoral thesis, Durham University.
|PDF (Final version thesis) - Accepted Version|
Adulthood is not a destination. Youth research has shown how ‘becoming adult’ is an active relational process of identity change which, in the post-millennium world, is highly individualised. Young people’s choices, however, are contingent on their life circumstances and what they consider, for them, to be ‘plausible’ (Skeggs, 2004) or within reach. In this study I set out to explore ways in which young people exercise agency, especially in situations that offer fewer options and thinner resources that they can call upon. My concern is to uncover the strategies and resources they use to reshape or reinvent identities that they find get in the way of subjectively feeling ‘adult’ and being recognised as such by others.
Rather than recruiting participants already ‘marked’ by the systems of education, youth justice or public care, I met young people through volunteering in three youth work projects. I was thus able to engage young people from 13-19 years with markedly different social experiences and characteristics. I approached the analysis of varied data gathered from narrative interviews, creative activities and ethnographic observation with theoretical tools including, but not limited to, Bourdieu's concepts of field, capital and habitus, generating insights into developing femininities, masculinities, ethnicities and friendships.
Researching across three sites also enabled me to examine how young people access youth work as a resource in and of itself and as a means of bridging to further resources, whether practical or for use in their ‘identity-work’. ‘Relationships of trust’ with youth work organisations and practitioners can especially benefit young people where these are otherwise absent from their lives. However, the findings suggest that young people in many different circumstances for diverse reasons value youth-friendly space and the relative equality that characterises youth work relationships. This adds weight to arguments for expanding both universal open access provision and flexible delivery of targeted provision.
|Item Type:||Thesis (Doctoral)|
|Award:||Doctor of Philosophy|
|Keywords:||youth young people identity agency transitions masculinities femininities|
|Faculty and Department:||Faculty of Social Sciences and Health > Applied Social Sciences, School of|
|Copyright:||Copyright of this thesis is held by the author|
|Deposited On:||19 Nov 2020 16:32|