Volume 4   Number 2     Winter 2010

Structures Of Recognition: A Dialogical Analysis of the Experiences of a Group of Young People within a Scottish Local Authority Access Programme

Lisa Whittaker
University of Stirling

pp. 75-93

ABSTRACT. Mead (1934) states the way we see ourselves and construct our identity is influenced by our interactions with those around us.  These people will form our internal dialogue or our dialogical self (Hermans, Kempen, & Van Loon 1992).   The theory of the dialogical self was used to explore the identities of one group of young people described by the media as ‘Scotland’s Shame’ (The Herald, 2007). The Scottish Government have defined unemployed young people as a ‘problem’ and stated that tackling this problem is a national priority. They have labelled this group as NEET (Not in Education, Employment or Training - The NEET Strategy 2006).  This paper presents the results of one analysis conducted on part of a wider data set.  Eight boys aged 16-18 and their youth support worker took part in discussion groups while waiting to sit a health & safety test at a local college.  A dialogical analysis illustrates the way in which this group of young people seeks positive recognition and their reactions when this is denied. This research has highlighted the importance of recognition and the need to further explore this notion for this group of young people.  


Keywords:   dialogical self, Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET), recognition