Next Event 25 May: Understanding Socially Withdrawn Young People in Scotland and Hong Kong

Our next event:

Understanding Socially Withdrawn Young People in Scotland and Hong Kong: The Complexity of Sociality in the Digital Age

A presentation by Mark Wong, PhD Candidate Social Policy  

When: 25 May 2016, 4 pm
Where: Chrystal Macmillan Building Practice Suite, Rm 1.12

This presentation focuses on Mark’s PhD research which critically examines the sociality of young people who are seen as withdrawing from society. It attempts to construct a better understanding of the range, and importance, of varying interactions which can determine this sociality using a digital sociological framework.

Research and debates on young people becoming disengaged from society have been rising at a rapid rate over the last few decades. There has been growing interest recently in the concept of “social withdrawal” and its relevance to key discussions on the importance of young people being an active part of society.

The concept of social withdrawal refers to young people who are disconnecting from social interactions and confining themselves at home persistently. Much recent work demonstrates that there is an increasing number of young people “hiding” themselves in this way from months to over10 years. They have been assumed to be self-isolating as they are not engaged in traditional collective social structures, specifically the labour market, education, and local communities.

Mark’s research focused on further unpacking the complexity of the sociality of this group of young people. It importantly queried the variety of contexts that young people could be interacting with society in the “digital age”, particularly through interactions facilitated by digital media and technologies, despite staying at home physically. The primacy and predominance of physical social interactions were thus being questioned, and technologies were shown to have rapidly expanded and diffused into their everyday social life.

Mark’s research used qualitative case studies in Hong Kong and Scotland, with an aim of uncovering the lived experiences of socially withdrawn young people in depth. In the presentation, Mark will discuss the main findings from interviews he conducted, and propose there could be a wide range of digital and physical social interactions and high levels of complexity involved in conceptualising their sociality. Moreover, the findings suggested it is important to understand this group of young people as autonomous agents as well as address the structural barriers that could shape the states of their social interactions.

We hope to see you there!


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