Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
Home
Hostname: page-component-768ffcd9cc-8zwnf Total loading time: 0.323 Render date: 2022-12-07T01:18:40.608Z Has data issue: true Feature Flags: { "useRatesEcommerce": false } hasContentIssue true

8 - Constructing Viable Futures as ‘Adults’

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  21 April 2021

Elaine Chase
Affiliation:
Harvard University, Massachusetts
Jennifer Allsopp
Affiliation:
University of Sheffield
Get access

Summary

‘Because with everything that happened, I know I can write my life, which way shall I go. I can go the road that I want. Before now, everywhere was junction and block, sealed off and I can't jump.’ (Janan, in the UK)

Introduction

This chapter considers the opportunities and constraints encountered by young people in the study as they sought to realize the sorts of futures they aspired to. As such, it brings to light the bordered realities of their becoming. While many young people arriving in England, and to some extent in Italy, alluded to the expanding futures emerging in Europe, they frequently saw these new horizons shrinking as they approached adulthood, particularly if they still had uncertain legal status. At the juncture between institutionally defined childhood and adulthood, the notion of vulnerability, used by immigration and social care structures and systems as a sorting mechanism for deciding who is and is not eligible to support, takes on very different economic, social and political meanings. No longer meeting the institutional criteria of the ‘vulnerable child’, young people may paradoxically become more vulnerable as they encounter the multiple uncertainties of having an undetermined immigration status or, even when they do have status, are propelled towards independence with little preparation or support. Refocusing the lens away from individualized factors and circumstances typically associated with vulnerability towards more fundamental questions of the precarity – or the ‘politically-induced’ nature of precariousness (Butler 2006, 2009), we argue, forces a reconsideration of policies and practices and how they fundamentally determine young people's wellbeing outcomes, and whether or not they can construct the sorts of futures they aspire to.

Viable futures through becoming adult

Young people in the research commonly saw their personal priorities for moving forwards with their lives as a set of intersecting motives including finding safety, securing work, pursuing their education, family reunification and the right to a private life. Such pursuits were linked to achieving a degree of autonomy and greater responsibility which they associated with ‘becoming adult’.

In Europe and North America, much research on transitions to adulthood has examined the trajectories of ‘disadvantaged youth’, especially men, in urban areas (McDowell 2001; Thomson et al 2002).

Type
Chapter
Information
Youth Migration and the Politics of Wellbeing
Stories of Life in Transition
, pp. 135 - 152
Publisher: Bristol University Press
Print publication year: 2020

Access options

Get access to the full version of this content by using one of the access options below. (Log in options will check for institutional or personal access. Content may require purchase if you do not have access.)

Save book to Kindle

To save this book to your Kindle, first ensure coreplatform@cambridge.org is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part of your Kindle email address below. Find out more about saving to your Kindle.

Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations. ‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi. ‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.

Find out more about the Kindle Personal Document Service.

Available formats
×

Save book to Dropbox

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Dropbox.

Available formats
×

Save book to Google Drive

To save content items to your account, please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies. If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account. Find out more about saving content to Google Drive.

Available formats
×