The Place of Young People in the Spaces of Collective Identity: Case Studies From the Millennium Green Scheme

Goodenough, Alice ORCID: 0000-0003-0862-2894 (2007) The Place of Young People in the Spaces of Collective Identity: Case Studies From the Millennium Green Scheme. PhD thesis, University of Gloucestershire.

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Change associated with late modernity is argued to have diminished collective identification, particularly in relation to locality, as an approach to and resource for, navigating life paths. Young peoples‟ creation of a life course has been understood as particularly responsive, or alternatively vulnerable, to such influences. Contrasting research asserts, however, that collective identification with and through particular appreciations and understandings of locality continue to provide ontological security within the circumstances of modern change. Local collective identification can be carried out via its participants‟ shared investment in symbolic interpretations of culture and space. This identification is asserted through claims to affinity with, or competency in, these socio-spatial systems and practices and the building of symbolic boundaries that contrast identities not possessing such claims. This perspective renews the significance of academic explorations of young peoples‟ choice of collective identification with locality as a tactic in managing their biography and its negotiation as an influential social, cultural and spatial context in their lives. This thesis explores the ways in which young people negotiate the spaces and resources of local collective identification, in the context of late modernity. It employs a qualitative analysis of a community participation project – the Millennium Green Scheme - to access such issues. The participation of adult active citizens and inclusion/exclusion of young people within this scheme are understood to reflect some of the dimensions of collective identification with locality, at three case study sites. At each case study - two rural and one urban - the research takes an unusual intergenerational approach, exploring both adults‟ and young peoples‟ understandings of locality, collective identification and young peoples‟ relationship to these. The findings suggest that young peoples‟ access to the spaces and resources of collective identification, with and through locality, are negotiated within adult defined social and cultural contexts. Further, adults mobilise cultural representations of young people that regulate this access, in relation to the symbolic resources and boundaries of local collective identification. This regulation is influenced by adult reactions to wider pressures upon collective identification associated with modernity. The research finds that although modernity may influence young peoples‟ recourse to local collective identification, it is also central in shaping adults‟ inclusion/exclusion of young people from accessing this means of navigating the life course. Adults‟ geographies of locality are central symbolic material to their collective identification with locality. They are also found to dictate the logic of adult inclusions of young people within the spaces and resources of local collectivity. Adults at the case studies associated many young people within cultural affiliations and competencies they understood to belong to the late modern context, resulting in representations of „dislocated‟ childhood. At rural case studies these were perceived as inappropriate to local socio-spatial norms and rendered young people outside the symbolic boundaries of collective identification and endeavour. In the urban research, young people were perceived to require reinstatement into local collective identification through education about and encouragement into, its spaces and resources. Both understandings reflected broader adult reactions to late modern change. Young people took up the tactic of collective identification with locality or rejected it, in context dependent strategies. However their perceptions of opportunities to share identification with locality were significantly influenced by adult attempts to shape their inclusion/exclusion from spaces of collective identification. In addition, young people interpreted these inclusions/exclusions as broad comment upon their local socio-cultural and spatial status. This research finds that locality and local collective social contexts continue to be of significance in young peoples‟ lives. It adds texture to understandings of the way in which the influence of modernity upon young peoples‟ biographical choices is experienced and negotiated from within local social and cultural relations and spaces.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Thesis Advisors:
Thesis AdvisorEmailURL
Additional Information: Undertaken in Collaboration with the Countryside Agency
Uncontrolled Keywords: Young people; Community partcipation; England; Millennium Green Scheme; Collectively identified locations
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > G Geography (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Divisions: Schools and Research Institutes > Countryside and Community Research Institute
Depositing User: Susan Turner
Date Deposited: 07 Jan 2015 12:39
Last Modified: 01 Aug 2021 21:29

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