387.2 Young people's aspirations in the context of intergenerational relations

Thursday, August 2, 2012: 4:30 PM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Oral Presentation
Sanna AALTONEN , Finnish Youth Research Society, Helsinki, Finland
Sakari KARVONEN , National Institute for Health and Welfare, Finland
Parental support is one of the central resources in negotiating outcomes and life chances. Further, imagining of ‘possible futures’ has been claimed to take place primarily within the context of family relations. The aim of this study is to analyze young people’s future aspirations within this particular context. It looks at the practices, motivations, and emotions related to intergenerational relations and transmission. In this paper we ask how resources and positions are handed down, how parents support their children and how children use, need or reject the resources and examples of the parents. First, we describe the different sorts of futures that young people perceive feasible, and how these are patterned by family background and parenting styles as well as whether these have changed over time. These analyses are based on two surveys conducted in the school setting in 2004 (N=2420) and in 2010 (N=2012). Second, drawing on qualitative biographically focused interviews with young people and their parents, our aim is to investigate how hopes, resources and options concerning the future of young people are negotiated in a family context. The interviews of young people (N=32) and their parents (N=15) were conducted in 2008-09. All young participants were in their final year of the lower secondary school, around 15-years-of age and about to make the transition to post-compulsory education. By applying mixed methods, the study aims to unravel what is the role of family in shaping the aspirations of young women and men, in their dealing with the weight of the past and calculating the feasibility of different choices concerning their future.