Imagining a better future: Young unemployed people and the polyphonic choir

Bidragets oversatte titel: Forestillinger om en bedre fremtid: Unge arbejdsløse og det polyfoniske kor

Sabina Pultz, Pernille Hviid

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


In this paper, we investigate how young unemployed people make sense of their situation in the face of adversity. Drawing on Cultural Life Course Theory and a new line of research on imagination, this multiple-case study examines the role of imagination for young unemployed people. Based on three in-depth interviews with young academics, we find that the ability to imagine a better future is pivotal for these young people in dealing with unemployment. We integrate the theoretical concept of imagination with Bronfenbrenner’s theory of ecological system. The integrative framework provides a multi-leveled analysis that examines how imaginations work at various levels and how these interact. Imaginations originate from subjective ideas about the future, developed biographically and in dialogue with others as well as societal discourses. We utilize Stern’s concept of experience when investigating how the individual has to relate to what we term the “polyphonic choir of imaginations” consisting of various and sometimes contradictory voices about what it means to be unemployed. Neoliberal policies introduced in the Danish welfare state and neoliberal ideas are singled out as particularly influential. This paper highlights the importance of taking into account temporality in the sense that visions about the future greatly impact how people deal with unemployment here-and-now.
Bidragets oversatte titelForestillinger om en bedre fremtid: Unge arbejdsløse og det polyfoniske kor
TidsskriftCulture & Psychology
Udgave nummer1
Sider (fra-til)3-25
Antal sider22
StatusUdgivet - mar. 2018
Udgivet eksterntJa

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