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Moving away or staying local? The role of locality in young people's 'spatial horizons' and career aspirations

Evans, Ceryn 2016. Moving away or staying local? The role of locality in young people's 'spatial horizons' and career aspirations. Journal of Youth Studies 19 (4) , pp. 501-516. 10.1080/13676261.2015.1083955

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Social mobility has been a central tenet of UK Government public policy, viewed as a silver bullet to creating a socially just and ‘fair’ society as well as an economically successful one. Within policy discourse young people's aspirations are deemed of critical importance to achieving educational success and in turn social mobility. However, within both popular and policy rhetoric ‘place attachment’ is routinely posited as a serious hindrance to successful realisation of aspiration, putatively because it embeds young people in ‘place’ (e.g. a particular community or geographical location) and prevents them from accessing employment in national labour markets. This paper, however, problematises the notion that ‘place attachment’ and ‘spatial mobility’ are necessarily mutually exclusive. Calling on data from a qualitative study of young people's aspirations in two distinctive regions of South Wales, UK, the analyses reveal that despite the largely localised ‘imagined futures’ of these young people they held very ‘high’ aspirations for professional forms of employment, which for some young people meant moving away from home and locality in order to achieve. The paper calls for a rethinking of how young people's aspirations are conceptualised both in government policy and academic research.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Social Sciences (Includes Criminology and Education)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
Publisher: Taylor & Francis
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Date of Acceptance: 11 August 2015
Last Modified: 10 Mar 2020 21:48

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