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  • Project contributors: Jamieson L, Rawlins E, Cunningham-Burley S,

    This Project is part of the following research programme/s:

    Fertility and Family


    The aim of this project was to explore how perceptions of global threats concerning the economy, security or the environment may be impacting on young adults' views about their futures, including being a partner and becoming a parent. This research sits alongside the other larger-scale projects exploring household formation and fertility.

    Through 35 semi-structured interviews with childless young adults, aged 20 -29 in further education, higher education or employment, the following issues were addressed:

    Is recession intruding into how young people are thinking about, talking about, imagining, anticipating and experiencing partnering and parenting, in the context of the stage they are at in partnering and parenting?
    How does recession intrude into young people's everyday experience and conversation about their current and future lives (e.g. patterns of consumption and saving; views about migration, mobility and living arrangements - benefits of staying with parents, living independently in shared housing, living alone; being a couple; ideas about what is needed financially to have a child)?
    Does a climate change intrude into young people's talk about their current and anticipated future lives and does a sense of other current or anticipated global threats intrude into young people's talk about their current and anticipated future lives?
    Young adults main concerns about the future particularly focussed on employment, career prospects, and housing. In some cases, plans and planning could be summed up as a sense of delayed future. The main emergent theme was the impact of uncertainty and lack of economic security associated with recession. However, responses were tempered by family cultures as well as objective circumstances.

    Car mobility, like parenting and, in some cases, partnering, was typically seen as temporarily on hold; a family, house and car in the suburbs remained a common ideal imagined future without reference to carbon footprint. At the same time, willingness to rethink circumstances and housing suitable for a family was also occasionally in evidence.

    Security issue almost never surfaced as a concern but climate change, sustainability and the environment did sometimes intrude into imagined futures.

    Publications & Activities

    The Future of Relationships
    Glamorgan Lecture (2013). (University of Cardiff)
    Authors: Jamieson L,

    Global threats and young peoples' anticipated futures
    Young adults' housing and independent living: New insights (2012). (Local Government House, London)
    Authors: Jamieson L,

    Sustainability in the imagined partnering and parenting futures of childless adults in their twenties
    British Sociological Association Annual Conference 2012 (2012). (Leeds)
    Authors: Jamieson L, Rawlins E, Cunningham-Burley S, Backett-Milburn K,

    Raising Issues: Recent Trends and Implications for Policy
    Women's Reproductive Health across the Lifecourse –Implications for Public Policy (2012). (The Royal Society of Edinburgh)
    Authors: Cunningham-Burley S,

    Young people's anticipated futures in a time of financial uncertainty
    British Sociological Association annual conference (2012). (Leeds)
    Authors: Cunningham-Burley S, Backett-Milburn K, Jamieson L, Rawlins E,

    They're all in the same boat as me and it's sinking really fast”: Young People's Support in a Time of Global Uncertainty
    New Researchers Conference (2011). (Centre for Research on Families and Relationships, Edinburgh)
    Authors: Rawlins E,