Youth Futures: Comparative Research and Transformative Visions

By Jennifer Gidley; Sohail Inayatullah | Go to book overview

Chapter 12
Longing for Belonging:
Youth Culture in Norway

Paul Otto Brunstad

To elaborate on the subject, longing for belonging, I refer to my doctoral dissertation called “Youth and World View: College Students’ Faith and Expectations about the Future”1 as a point of departure. The study was based on a qualitative research method using essays and in-depth interviews. The dissertation focuses on one hundred secondary school students, aged eighteen to twenty, and their longings, dreams, hopes, and fears about the future in Norway.


REGRESSION AND PRIVATIZATION

My young informants seem in many ways to have lost their faith and hope in a meaningful global future and in the notion of a perpetual progress that will solve our present problems. Progress is no longer a living hope, but more a fate to which they feel condemned. Children have traditionally been seen as guarantors of a better future. The understanding of children has dramatically changed among some of my informants. A Danish study of college students’ view of the future focuses on the same problem. In this study, 39 percent of them didn’t want to bear children because the future was too insecure and risky.2 In his essay, an eighteenyear-old boy wrote this to me about children and the future: “When it comes to the future, the only thing I can say is that I’m glad I’m not my children. The world will soon be a hell of a place. I belong to the last generation who could grow up surrounded by fresh air and in prosperity.”

The next generation will be born into a world drained of important resources. We are eating the bread of the unborn generations. An almost apocalyptic expectation is imprinted upon this view of the future. This

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