Posts Tagged ‘work’

Forthcoming Book: Celebrity, Aspiration and Contemporary Youth

Written by Heather. Posted in News

Today we submitted our draft book to Bloomsbury. It will be called ‘Celebrity, Aspiration and Contemporary Youth: Education and Inequality in an Era of Austerity’ and be out in early 2018. Here’s the abstract and brief chapter outlines…

This book uses the lens of celebrity to explore young people’s education and employment aspirations under austerity and after four decades of neoliberalism.

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.

Geeks and digital E-topias: new media careers and the gendering of ‘tech celebs‘

Written by Kim. Posted in News

 

After an intense first year on the project, data collection is now complete. As Heather has discussed elsewhere, we’ve started the initial analysis on some of the group interview data by developing a set of thematic codes to cut into the data which spoke to the research aims and questions, as well as unexpected themes and concerns that came up in young people’s talk about celebrity culture (for example: ‘routes to fame’ and different ‘genres’ of celebrity). Having coded the transcripts, we’ve started to take on individual sub-codes and develop summaries of their content, making initial observations about the patterns and themes within these. While this only represents the beginning of our analysis, this process of immersing ourselves in the data has allowed us to get a handle on some interesting patterns in how celebrity culture relates to young people’s classed and gendered aspirations. In this blog post, Kim discusses some of the themes and patterns that emerged from one of her coding summaries: young people’s talk about celebrities associated with ‘technology and enterprise’.

Youth and the ‘enterprise culture’: forgetting the lessons of the 1980s?

Written by Kim. Posted in News

‘Now’ can feel a lot like ‘then’ – the 1980s – with young people urged to ‘raise their aspirations’, take ‘responsibility’ and grasp the challenge of ‘enterprise’; all in a political context of high youth unemployment and drastic ‘reforms’ to welfare entitlements. Again we hear calls for ‘a nation of young entrepreneurs’. In this guest blog post, Robert MacDonald reflects more critically on the lessons we might learn from research in the 1980s about youth and ‘the enterprise culture’.

Mr Sneery strikes again: Gove’s Canon, ‘policy-based evidence making’ and the screen discourse of ‘low aspirations’

Written by Kim. Posted in News

On 9th May, The Education Secretary Michael Gove delivered a keynote speech at a conference hosted by Brighton College (The Sunday Times ‘Best Independent School’ no less). The title – What does it mean to be an educated person? is provocative enough, but the full speech is really something else. There has already been a lot of excellent analysis of Gove’s sneering and patronising speech on twitter, in cartoon form, on several blogs (a great example being this by The Plashing Vole), among professional associations, and in the news.  We don’t want to repeat too much of this, but rather to draw attention to three key issues about education reform and aspirations discourse under this government – crystalised within Gove’s speech – which continue to raise concern for us.

Building an ‘aspiration nation': David Cameron’s Conservative party speech 2012

Written by Laura (Researcher). Posted in News

Aspiration is the engine of progress. Countries rise when they allow their people to rise. In this world where brains matter more, where technologies shape our lives, where no-one is owed a living: the most powerful natural resource we have is our people. -David Cameron

In this post I take a critical eye to the use of ‘aspiration’ in David Cameron’s speech yesterday. What does he mean when he talks about aspiration? And what is left out?

David Cameron

David Cameron’s speech to the Conservative Party conference yesterday focused strongly on the topic of aspiration, positioned as the solution to economic crisis and the tool to ‘meet the challenges our country faces’.

Language is not a transparent thing. The words that we use and how we define particular terms construct certain versions of the world; what gets to count as ‘true’ in any given moment – what Foucault referred to as ‘truth effects’.

Cameron’s speech is a fascinating text to examine the construction of the notion of ‘aspiration’.

When I grow up I want to be….

Written by Kim. Posted in Featured, News

A Facebook message appears in my inbox. A 30th birthday party invite from a close friend.  The party has a ‘fancy dress’ theme: ‘What did you want to be when you grew up…. ?’  A mixture of feelings comes over me: excitement at celebrating a close friend’s special birthday; anticipation at the varied outfits and guises that will great me; and anxiety as I think about my child self…. What did I want to be when I grew up?  Will it be different enough, ambitious enough? Will my childhood dreams of ‘becoming’ reflect where I am now? What will these dreams say to others about the person I have become?…

I was reminded of these thoughts as I listened to a recent podcast of the BBC Radio 4 programme Woman’s Hour featuring a discussion on school children’s aspirations. The segment opened with the voices of a group of 7-year old pupils from a school in Bromley, South London. What did they want to be when they grew up? The responses were varied, from the ‘traditional’ and solid to the vague and, well, interesting….

Address

  • School of Sport and Education, Brunel University
    Kingston Lane, Uxbridge, Middlesex, UB8 3PH

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