‘Making Their Way through the World': Socioeconomically Underrepresented Youth Perceptions of Future Education and Employment Trajectories.

Wednesday, 13 July 2016
Location: Hörsaal II (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Distributed Paper
Zoe BAKER, The University of Sheffield, United Kingdom
The purpose of this paper presentation is to provide insights into the considerations of future education and employment options by socioeconomically underrepresented Further Education (FE) students in England. The research employs a longitudinal narrative inquiry approach to understand the reasons, influences and attitudes informing students’ decisions for their futures over the final 12 months of their FE studies. This was achieved through the use of paper and audio diaries as well as periodic interviews. I consider Margaret Archer’s (1995) morphogenetic framework in which she posits that society and culture now exist in a state of ‘contextual incongruity’ leading to ever increasing variety. This requires young people to plan their own path with no knowledge of the results; they need to ‘experiment, to migrate, to innovate and to elaborate’ (Ibid., p. 42). Through the application of Archer’s (2003; 2012) reflexive typologies to participants’ narratives, intricate understandings of individual action and responses to structure emerged; these illustrate how young people intend to make their way through the world in such circumstances (Archer, 2007). The presentation will focus on how particular modes of reflexivity exhibited by these young participants resulted in views of fractured career trajectories, an acceptance of delayed stability and detachment from their natal contexts to be regarded as foundations for their futures.