Place, Rural Youth Identities, and Social Change

Thursday, July 17, 2014: 4:55 PM
Room: F204
Distributed Paper
David FARRUGIA , University of Ballarat, Australia
John SMYTH , University of Ballarat, Mt Helen, Australia
Tim HARRISON , University of Ballarat, Mt Helen, Australia
This paper responds to emerging critiques of the metrocentric and placeless focus of contemporary youth studies with a located, emplaced analysis of youth identities in rural and regional Australia. While theories of social change currently influential in youth studies depict a homogeneous and placeless modernity, nevertheless the processes these theories describe have reshaped young lives differently across urban and rural environments. Drawing on a research project ongoing in western Victoria, this paper analyses young people’s identities and biographical narratives in relation to arguments about social change, including arguments about globalisation, individualisation, reflexivity and the meaning of place in late modernity. Narratives and biographical imaginings of rural and regional young people articulate identities constructed across geographical scales, as well as providing a located understanding of the genesis of reflexivity and its relationship to locality and local inequalities. Discussing the contemporary significance of place, mobility, and changing geographical inequalities, this paper moves towards a spatialised and comparative analysis of youth identities in a changing world.