School of Media, Communication and Sociology

Youth Work and Transition

This inter- and multidisciplinary cluster explores the lived experiences, cultural representations, and regulatory discourses of young people and their movements into, through, and out of key moments to adulthood. Contributors to the Youth, Work and Transition cluster approach this inquiry with their research backgrounds in sociology, media studies, geography, criminology, education, cultural studies, psychology, health, and gender studies. Researchers in this cluster share a commitment to a wide range of innovative research methods in order to explore youth as sociologically and culturally distinct from, yet defined in relation to, both childhood and adulthood. 

Contributing researchers

Our key questions

  • How do social, economic, political and cultural factors inform young people’s decision-making in education, training and employment?
  • How do young people negotiate decision-making in relation to health and risky behaviour?
  • What power relations are at play in the markets central to youth, work and transition: education markets, job markets, consumption markets, leisure markets?
  • How does age intersect with other identity markers to form distinctive youth styles, subcultures, and generations?
  • How do young people form and express their gendered, raced, classed and sexual identities? How do young people use media in the formation and expression of these identities?
  • How are youth identities represented in media culture? 
  • What role do young people play in forms of political activism?
  • What are the spaces – both online and offline – of youth communities and fandoms? 
  • How are fun, leisure and everyday identities experienced by young people, and how are these affects articulated? 
  • How do young people navigate digital networks, particularly digital spaces of extremism and risk?

Current and recent projects

  • Tracy Shildrick, John Goodwin and Henrietta O’Connor edit the Routledge book series Youth, Young Adulthood and Society.
  • Youth Opportunities? The Long-Term Impacts of Participation in Youth Training Schemes during the 1980s: A Preliminary Study. Henrietta O'Connor, John Goodwin, Andy Furlong (University of Glasgow) Laurie Parsons, Steve  Holmes and Laurence Droy. British Academy 
  • Making the 'Precariat': Unemployment, Insecurity and Work-Poor Young Adults in Harsh Economic Conditions. John Goodwin,  Henrietta O'Connor and Andy Furlong (University of Glasgow). ESRC
  • Scoping Data Analysis on Youth Transitions and Class in Britain Post 1945, £5,752, 2008-2009 (John Goodwin and Henrietta O'Connor).
  • Social Media and Adolescent Mental Health. Wellcome Trust (FEC – £22,558.33) Michelle O'Reilly, Jason Hughes, Natasha Whiteman, and Nisha Dogra 
  • Resilience and mental health in street children. International Research Development Fund (GCRF £4500) Michelle O'Reilly and Panos Vostanis  
  • Evaluation of Digital Intervention to Build Children’s Resilience in Brazil during the COVID-19 Crisis and Beyond: UoL LIAS (C19 £7800) Panos Vostanis, Michelle O’Reilly, Effie Law, Sarah Adams, and Juliana Fleury  
  • Relationship and sex education University of Leicester (Tiger Team £5000) Peter, Cumper, Kerry Onyejekwe, Michelle O’Reilly, Sarah Adams 
  • Adolescent Vaping 'Careers': A Qualitative Study of the Usage Trajectories of 16–18-Year-Old E-Cigarette Users in England CRUK (FEC- £265,570.17) Jason Hughes, Michelle O’Reilly, Khalid Karim, Kahryn Hughes and John Goodwin

Groups, topics and interests

  • DICE – Unit for Diversity, Inclusion and Community Engagement
  • Language and Interaction Research Assembly
  • Leicester Judgment and Decision Making Research Group
  • Media and Gender Research Group

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