In everyday life
young people with ethnic minority background, or “the new youth” in Europe,
face both a social and cultural integration challenge. On the one hand, they are placed as other young people in an individualisation and identity
process of late modern youth life which is demanding and important for future
social success. On the other hand, they
are challenged by a new cultural life which may be different from
traditions and values of parents. This cultural integration process therefore
may make it difficult to engage and become successful in late modern life. So,
their cultural identity is challenged and in a change. This way of contrasting
two different perspectives in young
people’s lives seems difficult because of the different theoretical views embedded
in these perspectives. What however both approaches seem to overlook is, that
ethnic minority social integration is a process which has
in its centre the individual and individualised agent. This focus combines the
two perspectives. The integration process is mostly about the agent as an
engaged player in his or her life. An agent is one who finds and uses energy in a process of becoming
integrated in some kind of social and cultural life. In our paper, we use experiences from Danish research and our
European research project Up2Youth to draw some lines in understanding the life
of the group of “new youth” and their situation as caught in-between processes
of objective and subjective social integration. Especially we will focus on young
peoples’ activities as their solution
to the process of developing late modern agency according to the demand of
individualised social responsibility.
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