• Collaborative individualization? Peer-to-peer action in youth transitions

      Cuzzocrea, Valentina; Collins, Rebecca; University of Cagliari ; University of Chester (SAGE, 2015-04-23)
      In this paper we propose the notion of collaborative individualization (henceforth, C.I.) as a means of characterizing young people’s attempts to define their identities as simultaneously self-reliant and in need of support and collaboration. Our arguments are based on the findings of a transnational case study: a recent Council of Europe policy project called Edgeryders, an online platform whose participants were invited to discuss their experience of attempting to achieve “fully independent adulthood”. In light of findings which suggest that individualization amongst the young might take forms which are more collaborative than self-focused, we argue that youth scholars ought to rethink the assumptions made about the nature of individualization in youth transitions. We propose that such theorizations should embrace the potential described by C.I. in order to provide constructive responses to young people’s changing socio-economic needs, and refocus attention on young people’s situatedness within the communities many are demonstrably committed to working with and for.
    • Excessive but not wasteful? Youth cultures of everyday waste (avoidance)

      Collins, Rebecca; University of Chester (SAGE, 2019-08-26)
      This article contributes to ongoing debates around the cultural production of waste by arguing for a clearer distinction between concepts of ‘waste’ and ‘excess’, and by suggesting the benefits of this distinction for tackling the perceived consumer-cultural waste ‘problem’. Drawing on recent qualitative research with UK adolescents I consider how a range of (youth/consumer) cultural drivers, social norms and moral imperatives shape young people’s everyday material consumption practices in ways that reflect (and produce) varied ways of (de/re-)valuing no-longer-wanted possessions. By exploring the cultural projects within which the young participants and their material possessions were engaged, and by identifying their aims in employing specific keeping and ridding practices, noteworthy differences between ‘waste’ and ‘excess’ materialise. I suggest that the drivers of the ‘excesses’ identified – characterised here in terms of ‘outgrowings’ and ‘hedging’ – highlight a set of distinctly cultural challenges to be met if the slippage of materials from ‘excess’ into ‘waste’ is to be averted. I contend that acknowledging these challenges, and these conceptual distinctions, may prove beneficial in attempts to address some of the societal challenges (e.g. material novelty as a driver of social status) related to the production of waste.
    • Fashion acolytes or environmental saviours? When will young people have had ‘enough’?

      Collins, Rebecca; University of Chester (Palgrave Macmillan, 2018-10-01)
      In the global north, high rates of material consumption show few signs of abating, despite oft-repeated warnings of dire social and environmental consequences. Environmental educators have identified young people as a potentially effective group of change agents, capable of driving a transformative shift in how we consume. Yet this picture of the young environmental ‘saviour’ is at odds with many Western young people’s thirst for the ‘latest’ fashions and trends. This chapter explores how young people themselves make sense of this apparent contradiction. Exploring under-researched questions around young people’s conceptualisations of, and affective and embodied responses to, the notion of ‘enough’, it highlights the cultural and contextual factors which could prove decisive in positioning the notion of ‘enough’ centrally in a sustainability-compatible youth material culture.
    • New-Old Jeans or Old-New Jeans? Contradictory aesthetics and sustainability paradoxes in young people’s clothing consumption

      Collins, Rebecca; University of Chester (TU Berlin, 2019-11-30)
      This paper reports on an ongoing research project exploring the role of aesthetics – particularly aesthetics related to the multiple meanings of ageing – in young people’s interventions in the material lives of their clothes. Provoked by the trend for ‘pre-aged’ jeans, this study interrogates how material manifestations of the passing of time shape young consumers’ relationships with their clothes. Specifically, this enquiry focuses on the multiple, intersecting and sometimes contradictory aesthetics of aged garments. It examines the extent to which – and circumstances in which – young consumers view the visible lived history of their garments as positive, and the role played by personal manual interventions (e.g. acts of repair, customization, upcycling or repurposing) in transforming an un(der)loved and un(der)used item into one with heightened forms of value. Drawing on practice-based workshop-interviews with around 20 18-22 year olds, this research seeks to contribute to emerging debates around sustainability, consumer agency and ownership in relation to the consumption of fashion.
    • Youth transitions as ‘wiki-transitions’ in youth policies platforms

      Cuzzocrea, Valentina; Collins, Rebecca; Universita degli Studi di Cagliari; University of Chester (Taylor & Francis, 2019-11-21)
      In recent years, a number of youth-focused online platforms have emerged which, in different ways, seek to support young people across Europe in building pathways to independent adulthood. In this article, we draw on data from Edgeryders, a recent youth policy research project, to reflect on the extent to which online discussion platforms are useful instruments for understanding the challenges youth face in their transitions to independent adulthood across Europe. Noting the collaborative emphasis articulated by both the project designers and participants, we ask how we might make sense of the data – and the meanings conveyed by that data – produced by online projects. We propose the notion of ‘wiki-transitions’ as a means of theorising young people’s use of online space to support their transitions to adulthood.