14 SES 05 A, Vulnerable Young Adult´s Life Course Transitions
- Background.The aim of this article is to study aspects of informal social learning over time. Reviewing European educational research longitudinal studies following vulnerable young persons over a period of 20 years as in the present study of of what influence face-to-face (FTF) and internet mediated (IM) social relations, hardly exist. This study is an intermediate sized compared with large quantitative cohort studies (Bynner & Wadsworth, 2011) and qualitative studies of transitions to adulthood following small scale biographical approach(Henderson, Holland, McGrellis, Sharpe & Thomson, 2007).In Norway, it is compulsory for children and youth (aged 6–16 years) to attend school. For the yearly age cohort, about 95% of the pupils leaving lower secondary school in the spring term start upper secondary school in the autumn term. School occupy a very large part of children´s time every day. This heavy child and youth cultural institutionalisation of childhood represents a decrease in (FTF)-interactions with persons from the local community. The goal is to qualify the young for life in society by paradoxically keeping children and youth at classroom desks and away from community ‘outside’ for many years of their lives. The priority placed on introducing instrumental, abstract competitive and individual (PISA)-inspired learning of school subjects seems to be poorly supported by research (see e.g. Meyer & Benavot 2013) – and in conflict with broader goals for life e.g. being socially and morally educated, as formulated in the general part of the national curriculum plan.The increasingly higher age of completion of initial schooling postpones youths’ labour market entry. There are fewer jobs for individuals who are unskilled, which leads to a higher risk of social marginalisation in times when demands for relational skills are increasing in work life. These contextual changes are increasingly becoming challenges – especially if enforced individualism (i.e. choosing or deciding one’s own identity) defines the process (Kvalsund & Hargreaves 2014).
Theoretical perspectives.Analyses of transitions frequently draw upon two complementary fields of knowledge: lifespan psychology and life course sociology. The former includes the proximal context (e.g. family and social relationships); the latter discusses more distal features (e.g. structural and cultural context) in addition to studying historical change over time. The life course theory refers to a perspective with a focus on the connection between individual lives and the historical and social context in which these lives unfold. This perspective offers a socio-cultural re-construction of transitions between arenas and trajectories adding up to a person´s life course for young people with special educational needs (SEN) (Diewald & Mayer 2009; Elder & Giele 2009).
Trajectories and life coursse studied in social science has already happened. They are historical. Frame factor theoretical thinking points to the fact that outcomes in life (results) therefore can be understood only by re-constructing prior conditions and processes that have led to these results (Dahlöf 1971). Network theory is a complementary perspective (Wasserman & Faust 1994, Putnam, 2000, Scott 2009). A network typology is developed by combining high and low level of social network size and social network density into four categories: Isolation, Bridging, Bonding. This is an important dependent variable of the study.
It is important to recognize that chances and misfortunes are unpredictable elements that can cause new chains of events and make changes more complex and, ultimately, have a crucial influence on the life course. This assumption enhances the relevance of a critical realism perspective in our analyses (Bashkar & Danermark 2006). Changes in the patterns of social relationships and networks of vulnerable young persons over time are very complex and would be understood through multilayered (individual as well as contextual) explanatory mechanisms.
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