Youth transitions and social change in Kuwait: tensions between tradition and modernity

Alnaser, Fatimah Abdulameer (2018) Youth transitions and social change in Kuwait: tensions between tradition and modernity. PhD thesis, University of Glasgow.

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Within the social sciences, there is extensive literature on youth transitions as a key context for understanding how social changes and complex contemporary life have an impact on young people’s lives, focusing generally on the ‘global north’. However, far too little attention has been paid to exploring youth transitions in the ‘global south’. Even if it is acknowledged that youth research in the global south has grown in recent years, and has discovered different youth experiences from those in northern contexts, these studies have still been narrow and mostly based on theoretical rather than new empirical work. This research addresses the research gap by investigating young people’s transition from education to the labour market, and exploring the impact of social changes on their lives beyond the global north, in Kuwaiti society. It provides insight into how contemporary young people are constructing and negotiating their pathways to work within a complex reality in which traditional norms and cultural restrictions come into conflict with modernity. It highlights the role of certain variables that continue to mould their transition, including family, gender, religion, education, and government policies. It demonstrates that the rapid change and the compressed manner of modernity in Kuwait have made young people live in a state of tension and contradiction between modernity and tradition, agency and structure, and individual and collective ways of life. It shows how the unique nature of modernity and its consequences in Kuwaiti society have made the young people’s experience distinct from that described in other contexts. This study draws on data generated through questionnaires and interviews. It involves a sample of 1,120 secondary school students, and 24 young adults who had recently entered the labour market. The thesis, which reports the results, challenges existing models in the youth studies literature and critically assesses general sociological theories which tend to be northern-centric. In considering the ideas of the German sociologist Ulrich Beck on modernisation and individualisation, it is difficult to apply his western ideas to the Kuwaiti context. This thesis therefore calls for a cosmopolitan sociology, claiming the need to re-define the concepts within social sciences in such a way that can be easily and flexibly used in a variety of global contexts.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Qualification Level: Doctoral
Keywords: Young people, transitions, social changes, compressed modernity, Kuwait, cosmopolitan sociology, youth studies, youth unemployment, underemployment, until employment.
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
L Education > L Education (General)
Colleges/Schools: College of Social Sciences > School of Education
College of Social Sciences > School of Social and Political Sciences
Supervisor's Name: Fraser, Dr. Alistair and Ferrie, Dr. Joanna
Date of Award: 2018
Depositing User: Fatimah Alnaser
Unique ID: glathesis:2018-30774
Copyright: Copyright of this thesis is held by the author.
Date Deposited: 10 Sep 2018 15:36
Last Modified: 19 Oct 2018 07:26

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