Street Corner Society: Leisure Careers and Social Exclusion
We now turn our attention away from young people’s differential engagement with school to consider their leisure lives and social networks and how these relate to wider process of inclusion and exclusion. As we described in chapter 2, more holistic youth research has striven to understand young people’s housing and family careers as well as their school-to-work experiences (Coles, 2000a). Relatively few studies simultaneously consider criminal and drug-using careers (see chapter 9), and fewer still incorporate an investigation of youth leisure as part of the task of charting and understanding transitions. Although young people’s leisure lives were not imagined by us to be significant in this respect, they certainly became so in the course of fieldwork and analysis. In this chapter, we discuss young people’s accounts of their changing free-time associations, peer networks and leisure activities and their significance in explaining their current life situations. We use the concept of ‘leisure career’, which has had some airing in the leisure studies literature (Rapoport and Rapoport, 1975) but which has been discussed rarely in youth research (Roberts et al., 1990; Roberts, 1999).
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