We – James Goring, Peter Kelly, Meave Noonan and Seth Brown – have just published an open access article in the British Journal of Sociology of Education titled, Rethinking young people’s aspirations in times of crisis: stories of futures from a de-industrialising city

The article is available for free download here.

The article presents a number of young people’s stories from our project: COVID-19 and Disadvantaged Young People’s Education and Employment Aspirations: A Longitudinal Study of Young People’s Transitions in Geelong

In this paper we suggest that Arjun Appadurai’s (2004) ideas about the ‘capacity to aspire’ encourage us to shift our focus from the ‘aspirations’ of individual young people, and to think, instead, about the different resources that might be at play in shaping a capacity to aspire.

Departing from the detailed stories of two of the young people who participated in this project, we argue that critical, post-humanist and futures oriented ontologies offer productive possibilities for reimagining the ‘promise of education’ in relation to young people’s aspirations, their dreams and hopes, fears, anxieties and despair that emerge from the “thick of social life” (Appadurai, 2004) in which young people live, imagine who they are, and what they might become.

In a series of earlier blogs we presented an initial draft of our emerging argument, and posted videos and told a version of the young people’s stories that appear in the published article.

  1. Deindustrialisation, youth unemployment, and the (broken) promises of education in the 21st century

  2. Madeline’s story

  3. Marisa’s story