1 Forskningsprogrammet i ungdomsforskning, Danish School of Education, Aarhus University, Aarhus University2 Department of Education - Education, Danish School of Education, Arts, Aarhus University3 Danish School of Education - Research Programme in Youth Research, Danish School of Education, Arts, Aarhus University4 Danish School of Education - Research Programme in Youth Research, Danish School of Education, Arts, Aarhus University
Young people’s involvement in education is receiving enormous political attention in Denmark. The political aim is to ensure ‘education for all’. The background is the fact, that despite an ongoing political focus on the importance of ‘youth education’ over the past 30 years, a relatively stable figure of almost 20% of a youth-generation, still does not complete a youth education. Furthermore, research shows clear patterns in regards to, who is at risk in the educational system; Young people from a social background with little or no tradition for education are statistically less likely to attain success in the educational system compared to young people who come from backgrounds with a strong educational tradition. Drawing on two longitudinal research projects (Pless&Katznelson, 2007; Pless, 2009) based on both quantitative and qualitative data, we will focus on the factors that seemingly shape and influence young Danish people’s educational choices and pathways from primary school and onwards – focusing especially on ‘youth at risk’ in the educational system. The studies aim at understanding the narratives of young people at risk in regard to education and more broadly their dreams and visions of the future (as grown ups). In the paper we will illustrate some of the dilemmas and challenges that especially ‘youth a rick’ face as part of their life-and educational pathways from primary school and onwards. A main focus will be on the dialectic relationship between subjective narratives on education – and the dominant political discourses. How can political discourses on education be traced, in young people’s narratives, and to what extent are these discourses reproduced, or challenged in this process? Furthermore the paper will address a pivotal theme in youth research; that youth transitions and young people’s perceptions of education and work is changing profoundly. The view is that the notion of linear, focused ’normal’ biographies increasingly is being outpaced by unpredictable, individualised and fragmented yoyo-transitions and ‘choice’ biographies (eg. De Bois-Reymond, Wyn&Dwyer, Beck). Drawing on our researchstudies we will discuss to what extent the young people’s narratives can be said to support a movement towards choice biographies and yoyo transitions, or if alternative understandings are needed?