Journal cover Journal topic
Geographica Helvetica
Geogr. Helv., 73, 31-42, 2018
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.
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07 Feb 2018
Unbound emotional geographies of youth transitions
Kathrin Hörschelmann Leibniz Institute for Regional Geography Leipzig (IfL), Leipzig, Germany
Abstract. This paper makes the case for greater consideration of unbound emotional geographies in research on youth transitions, based on the biographical narratives of young people interviewed as part of a qualitative research project on understandings of (in)security in the German city of Leipzig (2014–2015). The need for more holistic approaches to the complex temporalities and spatialities of transitioning in young people's everyday lives and across their life courses is identified and I propose developing such approaches partly on the basis of less bound understandings of emotion as an important medium through which boundaries are crossed, times and places intersect and both spatial intersections and boundary crossings are sensed and negotiated. The value of such an approach is demonstrated through empirical analysis of the accounts of young people from disadvantaged socioeconomic backgrounds in Leipzig, focusing particularly on interpersonal conflicts and how young people negotiate the resulting emotions in different everyday and institutional contexts. The accounts of research participants in Leipzig show that interpersonal conflicts evoke emotions that reach well beyond localised settings and the present. They also require a significant amount of emotional work to be carried out across a range of everyday informal and institutionalised settings. An approach to emotions as unbound and embodied can help, it is argued here, to better understand how young people negotiate their social positioning across entangled sites and relations and to develop support structures that are more responsive to this entanglement.

Citation: Hörschelmann, K.: Unbound emotional geographies of youth transitions, Geogr. Helv., 73, 31-42,, 2018.
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Short summary
This paper makes the case for greater consideration of the ways in which young people experience and negotiate transitions in their everyday lives and across the life course emotionally. Based on qualitative research with young people from the German city of Leipzig, the paper analyses the emotional fallout of interpersonal conflict, especially in families, and makes tentative suggestions for responding to young people's unbound emotional geographies in social and educational policy.
This paper makes the case for greater consideration of the ways in which young people experience...