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Existentiella konfigurationer: Om hur förståelsen av livet tar gestalt i ett socialt sammanhang
Stockholm University, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Education.
2013 (Swedish)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)Alternative title
Existential Configurations : On how the understanding of life is constituted in a social context (English)
Abstract [en]

The thesis contributes to the research field of education, or more specific to the field of religious education. The aim of the thesis is to interpret how young adults of today describe and understand their lives, with a specific focus on existential themes, and furthermore, to develop useful concepts that can help us understand individual meaning-making in a social and cultural context.

The meaning-making of young people and how they explore and develop their understanding is, in the thesis, seen both as an individual process and at the same time something socially shared. The theoretical understanding of the social context takes its point of departure in Berger and Luckmann’s theory about the social construction of reality. The methodological approach is empirical and the study is based on 21 deep-interviews with men and women between 19-29 years old. Their statements are analyzed using a hermeneutic - interpretive method.

The thesis gives a picture of the young adults’ understanding of death and the meaning of life. But the study also addresses vital existential themes for the young adults around the questions: who am I, what do I want to choose and where am I heading. Still another important theme is insecurity. One important contribution of the thesis is the development of new concepts that describe the young adults’ understanding of their lives, in terms of personal and shared configurations. In the material I have seen three different kinds of shared configurations and I speak of those in terms of: life-views, taken for granted perspectives and institutions. The dynamics that the personal configurations give examples of can be understood both in light of the shared configurations but also in light of the personal agency that the young adults show signs of.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Institutionen för pedagogik och didaktik, Stockholms universitet , 2013. , 181 p.
Doktorsavhandlingar från Institutionen för pedagogik och didaktik, 21
Keyword [en]
Existential configurations, young adults, meaning-making, existential themes, life questions, life-view, life-interpretation, hermeneutic approach
Keyword [sv]
Existentiella konfigurationer, unga vuxna, meningsskapande, existentiella teman, livsfrågor, livsåskådning, livstolkning, hermeneutik
National Category
Research subject
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-91199ISBN: 978-91-7447-695-8OAI: diva2:632089
Public defence
2013-09-27, Lilla hörsalen, Naturhistoriska riksmuseet, Frescativägen 40, Stockholm, 13:00 (Swedish)
Available from: 2013-09-05 Created: 2013-06-24 Last updated: 2013-09-02Bibliographically approved

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Gustavsson, Caroline
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