What do young people think about Will Smith?
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.