The long and winding road - exploring transitions of young people 'at risk'
Department of Sociology University of Helsinki Helsinki, Finland
In this paper I discuss transitions of young women and men considered to be at risk to be marginalized from the educational system or from their peer groups. I understand transitions here in a broad sense to include different kinds of, sometimes discontinuous paths, processes and chances related to education and work but also to housing, family and leisure time. The paper is based on my research for which I have interviewed 32 ninth graders participating in Helsinki-based multiprofessional services offering support for young people in order to complete comprehensive school and to prevent marginalization. Many of these 15-17-year old young people have a history of poor school achievement, truanting, delinquent behavior and/or abuse of intoxicants and they may have already gone through more interventions and transitions in terms of their education, leisure or even housing than most of their peers. In the paper I will examine the classed and gendered nature of their lived and imagined transitions. Further, I will ask what kind of significance young women and men give to their past experiences and how do they understand and draw upon the resources available to them in planning their futures.