19 SES 12 A, Ethnographic Research on Rural Education in a Metrocentric Europe. Different Processes of Spatial Inclusion and Exclusion. Part 2
Symposium continued from 19 SES 11 A
In Finland, the research on rural youth in educational contexts has particularly focused on the availability of schooling in sparsely populated areas. Central concerns in research have been the tangible spatial implications of educational policies, such as the weakening of the school network and the closing down of small village schools (Tedre & Pöysä, 2015; Autti & Hyry-Beihammer, 2014). Despite of the many life courses and the many ways of constructing social identities among rural youth, material and structural realities limit the lives of young people in a concrete manner (Harinen, 2015). As the network of secondary education is gradually centring in big cities, young people are forced to move away from their home regions (Kiilakoski, 2016). Farrugia (2016) has described this obligational mobility as a social imperative caused by material inequalities and symbolic hierarchies, such as economic pressure, structure of the labour market and educational opportunities. Also in Finland, many young people are basically forced to move to urban areas due to the unavailability of education and employment in sparsely populated areas (Vaattovaara, 2015). However, instead of representing the rural youth as merely being victims of political forces, it is necessary to promote alternative representations of the people in remote areas, and represent them as agents making their own choices despite the restrictive material conditions. (Kiilakoski, 2016; Lanas, Rautio & Syrjälä, 2013). In this paper, the focus is on the interplay of the material consequences of educational policies and the construction of young people’s spatial identities as presented in the Finnish research on rural youth. How are the voices of the Finnish rural youth presented in the research conducted in Finland? How are the policy implications reflected in the spatial identities of young people? What are the possibilities of ethnographic research in representing and promoting the agency of rural youth? The analysis is informed by a spatial framework, making use of such notions as spatial justice (Soja, 2010) and relationality of place (Massey, 2011). The presentation is based on the meta-ethnographic analysis carried out by Beach, From, Johansson and Öhrn (2018).
Autti, O. & Hyry-Beihammer, E. K. (2014). School closures in rural Finnish communities. Journal of Research in Rural Education, 29(1). 1–17. Beach, D., From, T., Johansson, M. & Öhrn, E. (2018). Educational and spatial justice in rural and urban areas in three Nordic countries: a meta-ethnographic analysis. Education Inquiry. DOI: 10.1080/20004508.2018.1430423 Farrugia, D. (2016). The mobility imperative for rural youth: the structural, symbolic and non-representational dimensions rural youth mobilities. Journal of Youth Studies, 19:6, 836-851. Harinen, P. (2015). Kilometrien eristämät? Nuorten arkea syrjäkyläkontekstissa [Isolated by the kilometers? Everyday lives of young people in remote villages]. In: S. Myllyniemi (Ed.) Ihmisarvoinen nuoruus. Nuorisobarometri 2014. Helsinki: Finnish Youth Research Society. Pp. 153–170. Kiilakoski, T. (2016). I’m on fire but my environment is the lighter. Helsinki: The Finnish Youth Research Society Internet publications 98. Massey, D. (2011). A counterhegemonic relationality of place. In Eugene McCann & Kevin Ward (Eds.) Mobile Urbanism. Cities and Policymaking in the Global Age. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1–14. Lanas, M., Rautio, P. & Syrjälä, L. (2013) Beyond educating the marginals: Recognizing life in Northern Rural Finland. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research, 57(4), 385–399.
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