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The economic crisis and future imaginaries: How the economic crisis has affected people’s future imaginaries

Authors:

Helen Sophia Schönborn ,

University of Amsterdam, NL
About Helen
She obtained her Bachelor of Arts in Psychology at the American University of Paris. Before starting her master’s degree, she did an internship at the Università San Raffaele in Milano working on a research project on theory of mind capacities. As part of her Research Master of Science in Social Psychology at the University of Amsterdam, she went on an ERASMUS exchange at the Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona to complete her master’s thesis. The thesis deals with how the economic crisis has affected future imagination.
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Bertjan Doosje

Universidad de Ámsterdam, NL
About Bertjan

Catedrático de la Universidad de Ámsterdam. Es titular de la cátedra Frank Buijs sobre estudios de radicalización, financiada por el Ministerio de Asuntos Sociales y Empleo, el Instituto Verwey-Jonker (Utrecht) y MOVISIE (Utrecht).

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Abstract

This study looks at how people construct future imaginaries and how this has been influenced by the economic crisis of 2008/2009. Future imaginaries are conceived as a realm of plans and wishes for the future, which depend not only on an individual’s personal life history, but also on the given social/historical context (Cantó-Milà and Seebach, 2015). The economic crisis, which affected all European countries, has been portrayed as a far-reaching societal event; therefore, it may have an impact on people’s future imaginaries. For this study, life story interviews were conducted in Germany and Spain, two countries with different experiences of the economic crisis. The interviews were analyzed using a grounded theory-inspired approach guided by the concepts of images of the future, figures, and imaginaries of the future developed by Cantó-Milà and Seebach (2015). The economic crisis affected participants’ future imagination in Spain and Germany in different ways. While German participants’ outlook on the future remained unchanged by the crisis, Spanish interviewees’ accounts indicated three changes in mentality: the labor market is now perceived as less stable than before; young people have to be more prepared – meaning they need higher-level qualifications; younger Spaniards aim to live and work in foreign countries. The reasons and dynamics behind this mentality change are discussed.
How to Cite: Schönborn, H.S. and Doosje, B., 2018. The economic crisis and future imaginaries: How the economic crisis has affected people’s future imaginaries. Digithum, (21), pp.21–32. DOI: http://doi.org/10.7238/d.v0i21.3112
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Published on 15 Jan 2018.
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