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Reflections on the use of spatial and relational metaphors in youth studies

Reflections on the use of spatial and relational metaphors in youth studies This article makes a contribution to ongoing debate with youth studies about the frameworks and concepts that inform research and practice. It offers an analysis of the spatial metaphor of transition and the emerging relational metaphor of belonging. Noting that metaphor is an essential tool of theory, and that all theories illuminate particular elements of life and obscure others, it argues that there are elements of the transitions metaphor that have become entrenched as orthodoxies. These include the focus on youth-as-transition, the entrenchment of particular markers of progress and the tendency to see youth as a category [not in employment, education or training (NEET), for example]. While the goal is not to replace one orthodoxy with another, new insights into the production of inequalities and the creation of enabling processes can be forged through consideration of what is opened up when a metaphor of belonging informs theorising and analysis. Belonging brings the idea of youth as a social process back into the centre of analysis, enabling researchers to recognise the significance of relationships to people, place and to the times. Drawing on analyses of young people's lives from an Australian longitudinal study, it illustrates the ways in which transitions and belonging approaches open up different insights. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Journal of Youth Studies Taylor & Francis

Reflections on the use of spatial and relational metaphors in youth studies

Journal of Youth Studies , Volume 17 (7): 15 – Aug 9, 2014
15 pages

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References (67)

Publisher
Taylor & Francis
Copyright
© 2014 Taylor & Francis
ISSN
1469-9680
eISSN
1367-6261
DOI
10.1080/13676261.2013.878796
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This article makes a contribution to ongoing debate with youth studies about the frameworks and concepts that inform research and practice. It offers an analysis of the spatial metaphor of transition and the emerging relational metaphor of belonging. Noting that metaphor is an essential tool of theory, and that all theories illuminate particular elements of life and obscure others, it argues that there are elements of the transitions metaphor that have become entrenched as orthodoxies. These include the focus on youth-as-transition, the entrenchment of particular markers of progress and the tendency to see youth as a category [not in employment, education or training (NEET), for example]. While the goal is not to replace one orthodoxy with another, new insights into the production of inequalities and the creation of enabling processes can be forged through consideration of what is opened up when a metaphor of belonging informs theorising and analysis. Belonging brings the idea of youth as a social process back into the centre of analysis, enabling researchers to recognise the significance of relationships to people, place and to the times. Drawing on analyses of young people's lives from an Australian longitudinal study, it illustrates the ways in which transitions and belonging approaches open up different insights.

Journal

Journal of Youth StudiesTaylor & Francis

Published: Aug 9, 2014

Keywords: youth transitions; belonging; metaphor; longitudinal study; social generations

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