Everyday Life and Social Death among Youth: The Meaning of Empathy, Moments of Silence, and Daydreams
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionCargo. 2022, 19 (1-2), 57-79.
During two years of fieldwork among Norwegian inner-city youths, I observed that self-preservation was the dominant factor in their interactions with teachers, activity leaders, one another, and their natural surroundings. I found that the context in which this ‘role playing’ occurred consisted of moments often embodied in non-verbal encounters and moods signaling uncertainty, fear, anger, care, and grief. These encounters involved physiological and sensory communication that may shed light on youths’ understanding of group affiliation, hope, expectations, and dreams in the present and for the future. But how can we understand these youths without narrowing the potential for interpretation? Empathy is an intersubjective experience in which one takes on another’s perspective (Hollan and Throop 2008). Empathic insight lays the groundwork for understanding why youth feel anger or fear, rather than merely recognizing that these feelings are expressed. person-centered ethnography; empathy; social death; youthhood