Researching the messy complexities of rural youth identities: Experiences from Australia and Ireland

Year: 2012

Author: Croft-Piggin, Lindy, Laoire, Caitriona Ni

Type of paper: Abstract refereed


Young people in rural places across the globe are facing the challenge of dealing with rapid changes in rural, agricultural and economic processes and practices. Young people in rural sites are being pressured to re-examine their representations of themselves to themselves and the world. A consciousness of the future presses as urgently as a consciousness of the past on the identity authors of today's rural sites. Rural education researchers endeavouring to understand the relationships between social constructions of identity and rural sites and spaces must take into account a number of fields of practice. In the past research has identified a number of useful lenses for the examination of the iterative process of rural identities construction. There has been a focus on the socially constructed nature of rural sites, the physical and material contexts and also on discursively constituted cultures.
In this paper empirical evidence from an Irish study of young farmers and an Australian study of rural youth will be explored to examine the possibilities available to investigators of rural lived experiences in place. The researchers will engage with various theoretical lenses as they mine the data for the messy complexities of youth identities and rural change in these contrasting sites.