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Approaching the future: a study of Swedish school leavers' information related activities
University of Borås, Swedish School of Library and Information Science. (LinCS)
2009 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The focus of the thesis is on how school leavers deal with the flood of information, advice and expectations that are directed towards them at a structurally induced turning point in their lives. With a departure point in Giddens’ claim that people select and interpret information on their own terms as a means of preserving coherent narratives of self-identity, stories of information seeking were examined as a means of gaining insight into how young people living in late modernity face its tensions and dilemmas in the ways in which they seek and use information. The theoretical framework of the study draws on Schutz’ ideas concerning the lifeworld and the social distribution of knowledge, on Bourdieu’s concept of habitus as well as on Giddens’ conceptualisation of the forming of self-identity in late modernity. The study is based on qualitative research interviews with twenty one school leavers during their last year at school and on a minor discourse oriented study of a selection of the information produced by major actors in the careers guidance system. Empirically, accounts of young people’s experiences of their information related activities in relation to study and occupational choice were examined using phenomenological narrative analysis. These accounts were set in relation to discourses in Swedish society concerning work and education. Four approaches to information seeking emerged from participants’ accounts: 1) They use information seeking as a tool in making connections between educational interests and the future labour market 2) They use information seeking both as a tool in finding pathways to occupations and as a means of orienting within an occupational domain 3) Study and career information seeking is put ‘on hold’, and information seeking is associated with planning extended transitions, and 4) Study and career information seeking is avoided as potentially threatening or as meaningless. By considering how approaches are related to the ‘new career’ discourse that comes to expression in study and career related information the study gives insights into the meaning of information for, and of its accessibility to, young people. A greater focus on the development of an information literacy is suggested as a means of better supporting young people in the process of making study and career decisions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Department of Library and Information Science/Swedish School of Library and Information Science University College of Borås/Göteborg University , 2009.
Skrifter från Valfrid, ISSN 1103-6990 ; 37
Keyword [en]
information seeking, career guidance, young people, transition
National Category
Information Studies
URN: urn:nbn:se:hb:diva-3515Local ID: 2320/1818ISBN: 978-91-89416-18-5OAI: diva2:876905
Akademisk avhandling som med tillstånd av samhällsvetenskapliga fakulteten vid Göteborgs universitet för vinnande av doktorsexamen framläggs till offentlig granskning kl. 13.00 fredagen den 5 juni 2009 i sal M404, Högskolan i Borås.Available from: 2015-12-04 Created: 2015-12-04

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Hultgren, Frances
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