The education and socialization sites of youth: Experiences and representations in a non-school context
Sociology of Education an Educational Administration University of Minho Braga, Portugal
There are many studies inspired by multiple theoretical models strictly related to schooling, with sociology [of education] having almost exclusively centred its attention on the formal teaching system, on school and schooling processes. However, as far as the non-school sub-field and its relation with school are concerned, there is a certain scientific underdevelopment, despite the consensus on the need to redirect the sociological look to other educational objects of relevant heuristic potential.
Our proposal, here, is guided by shifting the debate to other less saturated spheres of educational knowledge, mainly to those that allow for other angles of analysis to understand the educational process globally, namely the search for answers to some issues raised when we cross the social condition of young people of today with the multiplicity of sites and experiences that the city offers them. As everyday life is so fertile in learning possibilities, which conditions drive young people to give them distinct meanings and values? How are the different experiences summed up and translated into the construction of youth identities and subjectivity? What is the underlying logic to investment and participation in the different non-school activities and how does this articulate with wider projects for education and citizenship?
The empirical information that we use in the second part of this paper emphasizes a non-school youth movement - Portuguese boy-scouts -, in as far as it is represented as a context where the issues structuring our thought intersect: school and non-school education, young people and their social condition, social experience and action. This centenary youth movement developed on the whole planet, supported by an educational project, which holds young people responsible for their own education. The scout is invited to be active in the discovery of life's personal and collective meanings in a logic of collective citizenship and democracy, which, in our opinion, is indicative of a process of meaningful education emerging from action and by action. The data reveal expressively young people's look on the diversity of the worlds they live in, from a non-school educational context, which provides them with a detailed map of benchmarks for action.