Youth's future orientation and well-being: Materialism and concerns with education and career among Turkish and Norwegian youth

Youths’ well-being and subjectivity are strongly related to prevailing political, economic, and social conditions.


Neoliberalism has extensively permeated societies worldwide, changing the way individuals, especially youth, make sense of their surroundings and themselves. There is thus an increasing need to investigate how youth subjectivities are influenced in contemporary societies that are under the influence of neoliberalism. Through an analysis of the future orientation of youth, we can investigate discourses that shape youth subjectivities. In this study, we perform a Foucauldian discourse analysis of the future orientation of youth — high school students, from two national contexts, Turkey and Norway— who were asked to write an essay on their personal futures. We investigate what dominant discourses are revealed in the youths’ writings and how they may influence their subjectivities and well-being. We detail two frameworks of discourses, one pertaining to materialism and the other pertaining to education and career, that our participants drew upon in their writings. We relate these discourses to neoliberalism and discuss the extent to which youth constitute themselves as neoliberal subjects of their respective societies. We discuss how these discourses may also be related to their well-being in diverse ways.

International Journal of Child, Youth and Family Studies, 2016, 7 (3-4), 472- 497

Published Nov. 30, 2016 1:14 PM - Last modified Nov. 30, 2016 1:16 PM