‘Having money is not the essential thing . . . but . . . it gets everything moving’: young Colombians navigating towards uncertain futures?

Marzi, S. (2022) ‘Having money is not the essential thing . . . but . . . it gets everything moving’: young Colombians navigating towards uncertain futures? Sociological Research Online, 27(4), pp. 842-860. (doi: 10.1177/13607804211024273)

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In this article, I extend the discussion of aspirations as a conceptual tool by exploring how young Colombians plan to pursue them and by seeking to understand their aspirations as a way of navigating towards what they see as a good life. Drawing upon insights from fieldwork, I use Vigh’s concept of social navigation to emphasise the importance of the social environment, and the available opportunity structures and resources, which shape young people’s aspirations and their ideas of a good life but which, more importantly, influence their navigational strategies to pursue them. I argue that Colombian young people from poor backgrounds do have aspirations and that these go beyond educational and occupational goals. Their aspirations provide information about their desire for a more stable future in an uncertain world but do not necessarily match the opportunities available to them. The young Cartagenians featuring in this study, therefore, struggle to overcome contextual and structural constraints in their social navigation, which is aimed at achieving a good life. I conclude that the young people featured in this study live amid uncertainty about their future and follow a form of doxa in formulating their aspirations. However, while the combination of economic constraints and doxic aspirations that are usually unachievable create barriers to their imagined futures, the young people socially navigate according to the opportunities that emerge and become available to them, to achieve a form of what they perceive as a good life, whereby educational and occupational goals became a means to an end.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:The author is grateful to the University of East Anglia, Social Science Faculty, which financed this research.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Marzi, Dr Sonja
Authors: Marzi, S.
College/School:College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences > Sociology Anthropology and Applied Social Sciences
Journal Name:Sociological Research Online
Publisher:SAGE Publications
ISSN (Online):1360-7804
Published Online:11 August 2021
Copyright Holders:Copyright © 2021 The Author
First Published:First published in Sociological Research Online 27(4): 842-860
Publisher Policy:Reproduced under a Creative Commons License

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