Conceptualising Belonging in the Context of Well-Being Among Young People in Contemporary India

Friday, 20 July 2018: 10:30
Oral Presentation
Ravinder BARN, Royal Holloway University of London, United Kingdom
Vinod CHANDRA, J N P G College, Lucknow University, India
The notion of belonging is invariably discussed in relation to social locations and identity within sociological literature. Ideas of being and becoming, belonging and longing, performativity, and intersectionality are at the core of understanding the social meaning of belonging (Butler, 1990, Bell 1999, Yuval-Davis, 2006). By drawing upon a new qualitative empirical study focused on young people’s own meanings and actions, this paper utilizes Nira Yuval-Davis’s conceptualisation of belonging (Yuval-Davis, 2006) to offer fresh theoretical and empirical insights in relation to gender, and space and place. Study findings related to 11-14 year old young people’s conceptualisations of well-being, in both city and village settings, in India, are discussed along three different analytical levels - social locations, identifications and emotional attachments, and ethical and political values. Using the framework of the sociology of childhood that constructs children as agentic beings, the paper stresses the importance of the involvement of children in the research process as active participants with their own narratives and authentic authorial voices. Mixed-methods data from in-depth interviews, small group discussions, 7-day diary, and written exercises are utilized to triangulate disparate sources to advance thinking in the area of youth and belonging. A total of 92 young people contributed to the data collection. By contextualizing the debate and discussion within the notions of space and place, this paper seeks to contribute to new understandings of the meaning and sense of belonging among young people. This study is part of an international research initiative involving 25 countries engaged in qualitative study of child well-being.