Research Projects

Research within the Finnish Youth Research Network consists of projects of various scope and duration. Around 20–25 researchers are involved in these projects annually. The research projects and the researchers cooperate in focus areas that represent key perspectives of youth research and reflect the key perspectives of the research carried out within the Finnish Youth Research Network.

We have determined the following focus areas – or fields of knowledge – for our work:

Generational relations, life course and transitions

This field of knowledge is based on the multidimensional examination of intergenerational relationships, life courses and transitions. Generations are studied in various environments and contexts that involve negotiations concerning conceptions of a good life as well as material circumstances and conditions. The generational perspective pays attention not only to youth generations, but also to questions of family and intergenerationalism and to transitions and tensions between childhood, youth and adulthood during a life course. Life courses and transitions are interpreted from the perspectives of personal experiences and social and institutional processes.

The perspective of life courses also means that the approaches of follow-up and longitudinal studies are more strongly integrated into the production of information within the Finnish Youth Research Network. This serves to ensure that the life courses of young people and interruptions in the course of everyday life can be identified more extensively.

Democracy, equality, inequality

This field of knowledge examines issues related to democracy, equality and inequality. The research topics in this field concern social structures in the lives of young people, such as the areas of ethnicity, sexuality, family and politics, as well as social action, such as influencing in society and life in families and other close relationships. The domains of knowledge in this field mainly concern the institutional relationships and practices of young people. The research projects are interlinked by theoretical concepts: citizenship, social exclusion, discrimination, structure and human agency, embodiment, and resistance and deviance. This field of knowledge is characterised by complicated special issues related to research ethics with regard to sensitive topics.

Youth work, youth activities, services for young people

This field of knowledge focuses on operational environments and services for young people and the underlying structural conditions. It examines the nature of services and their position in the field of youth policy as well as their significance for young people at the level of individuals, groups and communities. Special attention is paid to the status of young people and to their citizenship and participation opportunities, as well as to conditions for their human agency in independent activities and activities targeted at young people. More broadly, this field of knowledge concerns interaction between young people and society and the manifestations of this interaction in the lives of young people. The goal is to call attention to young people’s experiences and the need to adjust the starting points for youth work and policy so as to make them more relevant and meaningful to young people.

The methods in this field of knowledge range from traditional data collection approaches to developmental research and action research. Studies in this field often involve dialogue with various fields of youth work and policy.