Posts Tagged ‘happiness’

Young ambition: Pocket Money Pitch and Amber Atherton’s reading list

Written by Heather. Posted in News

pocket-money-pitch-logoThis month the BBC’s children’s channel CBBC launches the 10-part series Pocket Money Pitch. This Dragons’ Den style show invites young entrepreneurs (aged between 8 and 14) to pitch their plan for the chance to win a year’s worth of ‘pocket money’ investment in their fledgling businesses. BBC business presenter Steph McGovern fronts the show dedicated to finding the ‘business brains of the future’. McGovern declared ‘Hopefully this will kick off the careers of our future business leaders, and we’ll find the next Richard Branson or Martha Lane Fox’. In each episode participants undertake set challenges including fighting a ‘head-to-head pitch battle’ to win a mentor to help them to the next stage. The show’s business ‘gurus’ include fashion designer Myleene Klass, Hussein Lalani (founder of 99p Stores), Rob Law who invented the Trunki suitcase, spicy sauce creator Levi Roots and Sarah Jane Thomson, founder of children’s national newspaper First News.

In this guest blog, Anita Biressi, Professor of Media and Society at the University of Roehampton, looks at what the show and the reading list of one of its mentors reveal about the complexities of growing up today.

Pharrell’s ‘new black’ : on racism, happiness and not being a ‘sore point’

Written by Kim. Posted in News

pharrell-oprah-interview-1We’ve been struck by news this week that Pharrell Williams – successful music producer, singer and collaborator – has asserted his belief in ‘the New Black’.  In an interview with US chat show host Oprah Winfrey, Williams stated that he represented a different kind of black identity:

The “new black” doesn’t blame other races for our issues. The “new black” dreams and realizes that it’s not a pigmentation; it’s a mentality. And it’s either going to work for you, or it’s going to work against you. And you’ve got to pick the side you’re gonna be on.

In this post Kim troubles Pharrell’s move, arguing that it denies the ongoing realities of racism.

What do young people think of Beyoncé?

Written by Heather. Posted in News

beyonce 1This is the third of a series of posts exploring what the young people in our group interviews had to say about key global celebrities. Here Heather looks at the talk about singer and actor Beyoncé. Elsewhere on the website you can read what our participants had to say about Bill Gates and about Will Smith. If you’re interested in how we analysed our data to arrive at this account then follow this link, here I focus on how and why it appeared to be compulsory to like, even love, Beyoncé.

What do young people think about Will Smith?

Written by Kim. Posted in News

Well, 2014 has well and truly started and there’s no let up for the team with lots of analysis being undertaken in the coming months. Last year we finished all our school data collection and began coding and analysing the data from the group interviews, and we’ve now moved on to looking at the individual interviews with our participants which explore in greater depth their own aspirations and imagined futures. These interviews were fascinating to conduct and now to return to. We’ll be posting blogs about those individual interviews soon, but we thought we’d start the year by reflecting further on some of the  initial analysis we’ve conducted on our group interview data.  In these group interviews, we focused on exploring young people’s views on celebrity culture: the celebrities they liked, disliked, and how these evaluations of ‘good’ and ‘bad’ celebrities were made.  As we’ve discussed elsewhere, while many of our 12 case study celebrities generated relatively mixed views among our participants, one celebrity in particular was universally liked, if not loved: Will Smith, variously located as an inspirational role model, a dream father, an entertaining friend and ‘cool guy’.  In this blog post Kim explores some of the patterns and themes in young people’s talk about Will in those group interviews and begins to question what these might reveal about young people’s collective sense making in relation to aspiration, success and race.

Gender and the Great British Bake Off

Written by Kim. Posted in News

One is not born, but rather one becomes a woman – Simone de Beauvoir, 1953

This well-known assertion of Simone de Beauvoir, pointing toward the social and cultural mores that form and regulate an individual as a ‘woman’, is especially apt in light of the controversy surrounding the finalists of BBC2’s Great British Bake Off. The three female finalists have been variously castigated for being too miserable, too opinionated, too confident and too feminine. The repeated characterisations of the women in terms of inflexible, binary gender roles, alongside the criticisms of them for either failing to live up to these or – bizarrely – for adhering to them too closely, invites further analysis of the presentation of womanliness and femininity in the media. Moreover, the presence in the criticism of underlying suspicions regarding the race and class status of the women finalists demonstrates the increasing need for more fine-grained examinations of how we approach the still-troubling and troublesome category of ‘woman’. In this co-authored blog post, CelebYouth’s Kim and guest blogger Sarah Burton discuss the relationship between the structural context of GBBO and the individual presentations of gender therein, with a particular focus on the interactions between media, Britishness and public space.

‘Crap town slags’, Gove and ‘Educating Rita’: some (more) thoughts on aspiration and ‘class mobility’

Written by Kim. Posted in Featured, News

At the gym last week, I listened to the latest episode in one of my favourite podcasts, ‘The Slate Culture Gabfest’, a funny, critical and intelligent review of cultural ‘happenings’ from film to literature. In the show, the presenters interviewed fashion commentator Simon Doonan about his new book ‘Asylum’, a collection of essays on the fashion industry’s ‘glamorous madness and stylish insanity’. Leaving aside my issues with this kind of highly selective appropriation and celebration of ‘madness’ and ‘inclusivity’ within the art and fashion world, I was intrigued by Doonan’s account of his literal and social journey from his working-class parents’ home in ‘the boonies’ (the suburbs of Reading) to become part of New York’s fashion elite. In this post, I share some of my reflections on the significance of Doonan’s story and how it led me back to Michael Gove’s class project.

Happiness and young people’s aspirations: freedom or constraint?

Written by Heather. Posted in News

It’s strange (and slightly disturbing) to think that I’ve been researching young people’s educational and employment choices and aspirations for over a decade now – from my doctorate, that looked at gender and the choice to study maths, to this current project. One thing I’ve noticed is how young people increasingly cite happiness as a rationale for their choices. This happiness is seen by those citing it, both to offer freedom and to guarantee the future. But in this post I want to question this by showing how happiness carries its own constraints.

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