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An exploration of the good life narratives of young people

Loukianov, Anastasia (2020) An exploration of the good life narratives of young people Doctoral thesis, University of Surrey.

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Young people’s understandings of living well are informed by shared sociocultural stories of the good life which have social and environmental implications and affect the possibility of sustainable and fair futures. As visual culture and social media gain importance in young people’s lives, they increasingly shape young people’s processes of meaning-making in relation to living well. This thesis aims to progress the search for fairer and more sustainable understandings of the good life by identifying which good life narratives young people use and have access to; speculating on their implications for sustainable and fair living; and exploring the role of visual mediums and social and material infrastructures in shaping these narratives and their availability. Research material is approached through a phenomenological hermeneutic framework. Analysis is based on two studies: a) a filmmaking project with four groups of 10-14 year-olds in which participants created short films about living well and; b) an exploration of the understandings of the good life accessible on Instagram through hashtag #goodlife. Each project identifies three narratives: a) the good life as luxury, as normal life, and as caring life in the filmmaking project; and b) the good life of the affluent entrepreneur, of the world-traveller, and as shared experience on Instagram. Two of these narratives (the good life as caring life and as shared experience) are less common but have more potential to support fair and sustainable futures. Findings suggest that infrastructures, which are disproportionately shaped in favour of less sustainable understandings of living well, are key in making resources available for meaning-making. Considering the theoretical possibilities of a shift in dominant narratives by linking ethics and aesthetics, the thesis concludes by making the case for injunctive normativity in research and beyond in our appraisals of good life narratives.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Divisions : Theses
Authors : Loukianov, Anastasia
Date : 28 February 2020
Funders : Faculty of Engineering and Physical Sciences
DOI : 10.15126/thesis.00853732
Contributors :
Depositing User : Anastasia Loukianov
Date Deposited : 06 Mar 2020 12:59
Last Modified : 06 Mar 2020 13:00

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