Youth Futures: Comparative Research and Transformative Visions

By Jennifer Gidley; Sohail Inayatullah | Go to book overview

Chapter 8
Reflections Upon the Late-Modern
Transition as Seen in the Images
of the Future Held by Young Finns

Anita Rubin

I want the future to give me a good job, a family, a flat of my own, a car, a dog
and a summer cottage.

This statement was declared by a fifteen-year-old boy in an interview that formed one part of a study into images of the future held by Finnish youths. The research consisted of two surveys and structured theme interviews. This chapter describes some of the results gained from that research and discusses the meaning of those images in the light of the present period of social transition.1

The first part of the research was carried out in 1994 and 1995 as a survey at twelve schools and educational institutes situated in different parts of the country—cities, small towns, and the countryside. However, Lapland and the island province of Aland were left out of the study. The surveys were carried out in the schools, and the questionnaires were answered under the supervision of teachers. The respondents were divided into three groups according to age and school level (Table 8.1).

The results of the analysis reveal that young Finnish people share a clearly dichotomic image of the future. When the respondents deal with their own personal futures, the images are bright and full of hope and show a great deal of confidence in their own possibilities for influencing their own futures. However, the further the images go from a personal level, the gloomier and the more hopeless they become, resulting in feelings of having reduced possibilities for affecting the future on the broader national and world levels.

This dichotomy results from the confusion in, and the lack of, social and political direction characteristics of the present time of social transition. In some aspects, the contents of future images rise from the concept of

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