This book provides an engaging and informative insight into the experiences, dreams and hopes of children and teenagers in contemporary Ireland. O'Connor analyses a unique data set: a random sample of 4,100 texts drawn from roughly 34,000 texts written by young people aged 10-12 years and 14-17 years, in response to a nationwide invitation to describe themselves and the Ireland they inhabit. The young people's voices give the book a vivid reality, which is illuminated by the application of sociological concepts including global and local, individualization, and ways of 'doing boy/girl'.
The study leads us towards a better understanding of contemporary social problems by locating these young people's accounts within the broader context of cultural changewhere collective identities have become weaker; where the local is enmeshed with the global; where children anticipate a predictable future and teenagers focus on an extended present; where gender is no longer salient but yet in many ways remains a submerged framework mapping their life styles, life choices and relationships.
Written in an accessible style, the book presents a picture that is sometimes challenging, sometimes reassuring but always informative. Containing extensive quotations, it will be of interest not only to students and lecturers in sociology, education, child and youth studies, Irish studies and psychology but to thoughtful parents and teachers at first and second level, and especially those whose students took part in the Write Hear, Write Now project. -- .
Pat O'Connor is Professor of Sociology and Social Policy at the University of Limerick, Ireland -- .
Acknowledgements List of tables and figures 1. Young people in Irish Society: context and key concepts 2. Methodology 3. Love and work 4. Discourses about time 5. Discourses about space 6. Other aspects of narratives of the self 7. Young people's life styles 8. Relationship between the written texts and drawings/lyrics 9. Summary and conclusions References Index -- .