(Re)Imagining Youth is a research project about youth leisure in two geographically and culturally diverse research sites: Glasgow and Hong Kong. It being carried out by Susan Batchelor and Lisa Whittaker at the University of Glasgow and Alistair Fraser and Leona LI Ngai Ling at the University of Hong Kong. The project runs from September 2013 until August 2015 and is funded by the Economic and Social Research Council and the Research Grants Council of Hong Kong.
The questions that we want the research to address are:
- What are the similarities and differences in the ways in which young people in Scotland and Hong Kong spend their free time? What kind of leisure opportunities are available for young people? In what spaces do these activities take place? When do they take place? What are the relationships between family, leisure, study and work activities?
- How do cultural understandings of leisure differ between Scotland and Hong Kong? What does ‘leisure’ mean to young people? How central is leisure to their lives? To what extent does risk, consumerism, and technology feature in leisure?
- In what ways is young people’s leisure shaped by diversity and inequality? How do leisure values, attitudes and behaviours differ according to age, gender, social class and ethnicity across the two sites? What role does leisure play as a context for identity formation?
- In what ways has youth leisure altered in these settings since the late 1960s? To what extent have social, cultural, technological and economic change shaped young people’s leisure habits? What role does leisure play in young people’s extended transitions to adulthood?
- What are the theoretical and policy implications of this comparison? How, in the light of the above, can a more informed and integrated understanding of youth leisure be developed? What are the long-term implications of past and current changes in leisure socialization during youth?
The study will involve concurrent data-collection in case-study locations in Glasgowand Hong Kong – including ethnographic observations, stakeholder interviews, focus group discussions, and oral history interviews – using common procedures to and ensure comparability. Approximately 150 young people aged 16-24 years, with a cross-section of age, gender, socio-economic background, and work/study status, will be recruited through local youth organisations in both case-study locations. In recognition of the increasing importance of on-line leisure spaces for young people, these methods will be complemented by a range of ethnographic and interview data from young people’s online environments.