• Lykke Jensen
4. term, Learning and Innovative Change, Master (Master Programme)
This thesis is a qualitative study of young people’s choice of spare time activities; studies which will form a basis for a research of the significance of communities for the formation of identity. Starting from research showing that an increasing part of young people in Denmark are choosing not to attend organized leisure-time activity - the latest showing that time is a decisive factor - this thesis will examine, which motives lies behind these choices – according to the young people themselves. Furthermore an attempt will be made to understand the significance of communities from the young people’s point of view.
The structure of the thesis is deductive, meaning that a thorough study of theory will provide the background for the research and the analysis of the empirical data; data which consists of four qualitative interviews with young people aged 14, who have chosen not to attend any or merely one organized leisure-time activity. The qualitative studies are performed with a phenomenological and hermeneutical approach, which is based on Edmund Husserl and Hans-Georg Gadamer respectively. A combination of these two methodologies means that the examiners horizon of understanding provides a necessary background, when examining individual’s experience of phenomenon in its life-world. This will lead to a fusion of horizon, which means that the horizon of understanding constitutes a prerequisite instead of a prevention of understanding. To understand the whole however you must understand the parts, which is illustrated in the hermeneutic circle, as shown in the thesis.
The theoretical basis in the thesis is the learning theory by Knud Illeris, supplied and/or complemented by other theorists dealing with the term of learning in the keeping with the paradigm of social-constructivism, such as Leo Vygotskij, Etienne Wenger, Axel Honneth and Abraham Maslow. The social-constructivism represented by Illeris sees human learning as highly individual including both social and personal processes based on the three dimensions; content, incentive and interaction, which is illustrated in his learning model.
Furthermore sociologists such as Thomas Ziehe and Sven Mørch are brought in on the discussion regarding the influence of post-modern society on the individual’s formation of identity.
The thesis concludes that the young people in the present study have a different understanding of leisure-time, than described by among others Illeris. The organized leisure-time activities are not recognized as being part of actual leisure-time, but are categorized as a learning activity in the line of school, only without being a duty as such. Due to this, these activities are considered less meaningful than the self-organized activities, and due to a state of ambivalence defense mechanisms are being mobilized, meaning that they instead often choose self-organized activities over the organized activities. These mostly involve hanging out talking, playing computer games and on occasion joining a party etc. with closest friends within the private sphere. This can also be a result of a defense trying to protect them from being exposed to the more mentally demanding learning processes, which will often be the case when joining communities involving people that they are less acquainted or simply unfamiliar with. And furthermore it seems these communities and activities are chosen as a sort of refuge from the hasty changes and many choices, which are characterizing many of the contexts that their lives are consisting of. And this can be an expression of strategies used to master the conditions of the post-modernism.
Study shows that due to several reasons these communities are the majority in these young people’s lives, and this constitutes a risk of identity extinguishing, meaning that when the individual is not exposed to (so many) different perspectives and the possibility of enjoying the role of different identities, it can result in being locked up in a “world of its own”.
However, this comprehensive being together in communities of practice with friends, who – which the study shows – are confirming, supporting and recognizing each other and all in all creating a safe environment, bring about a solid ground for developing both a strong self-confidence, a feeling of being accepted as an individual and worthy of being a part of relations, and self-esteem when the individual competence being used, is recognized as a value to this community. And these are the bricks included in the foundation of identity.
Publication date1 Jun 2015
Number of pages67
ID: 213394339