Future-making in an Uncertain World: The Presence of an Open Future in Danish Young Women's Lives

Justine Grønbæk Pors*, Sharon Kishik

*Corresponding author for this work

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Abstract

Reporting from a three-year longitudinal study following 16 young women through their upper secondary schooling, this article explores the lived experiences of future-making. By unpacking the striking finding in our material that for these young women, future-making consists in an ongoing labour to keep the future open, we complement studies showing how ideals of success in education affect young women’s everyday life. Our analysis reveals that although this mode of future-making induces anxieties and cruel labours, young women also navigate and negotiate their uncertain conditions. We show how they manage to (partly) escape extreme performance demands and how they connect to collective futures, thus challenging the individuality of neoliberal subjectivity. We contribute to a sociology of the future by demonstrating an approach to studying the future that zooms in on the practices and affective experiences, through which futures exert agency and organise the everyday lived present.
Original languageEnglish
JournalSociology
Volume57
Issue number2
Pages (from-to)398-414
Number of pages17
ISSN0038-0385
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2023

Keywords

  • Aspiration
  • Cruel optimism
  • Education
  • Future-making
  • Hope
  • Neoliberal subjectivity

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