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‘You try to be cheerful but sometimes you fail’: Adversity, sorrow and death in life interpretation among Icelandic teenagers
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Education in Humanities and Social Sciences.
Responsible organisation
(English)Manuscript (preprint) (Other academic)
National Category
Social Sciences
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-25423OAI: diva2:199685
Available from: 2008-09-11 Created: 2008-09-11 Last updated: 2013-07-09Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. ”I don’t believe the meaning of life is all that profound”: A study of Icelandic teenagers’ life interpretation and values
Open this publication in new window or tab >>”I don’t believe the meaning of life is all that profound”: A study of Icelandic teenagers’ life interpretation and values
2008 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

What do teenagers recount about themselves and their interpretation of life and values, and what characterises individual teenagers’ perceptions and statements? What is the relation between teenagers’ life interpretation and values and social circumstances? What challenges to school religious education do the teenagers’ perceptions and statements represent? These questions are central to the study Icelandic Teenagers’ Life Interpretation and Values.

The purpose of the study was to investigate some central elements in teenagers’ life interpretation so as to discuss the results in terms of social circumstances in Iceland and of school religious education. The background is that Icelandic society, having been relatively homogeneous, has changed during the past few years with increased plurality.

The material the study was based on consists of interviews with Icelandic teenagers. In four articles included in the thesis different parts of the material collected are interpreted using a hermeneutic approach. The main result showed that the teenagers were in a field of tension between homogeneity and plurality on the one hand and security and insecurity on the other. The main trends in the material indicate a common reference framework at the same time as plurality emerges in the teenager’s verbal expressions; and while most spoke of their happiness and security, there was also awareness of the risk and threat that can transform the situation.

The material exhibited greater variation within each school than between schools. This suggests the effect of plurality on the younger generation in Iceland. Given this variation among individuals it is urgent to find an approach to religious education that takes greater account of the different pupils’ backgrounds, personal experience and existential questions.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Pedagogiska institutionen, 2008. 192 p.
life interpretation, life philosophy, existential questions, values, teenagers, homogeneity, plurality, security, insecurity, religious education.
National Category
Research subject
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-8144 (URN)978-91-633-3092-6 (ISBN)
Public defence
2008-10-03, Dahlströmsalen, Campus Konradsberg, hus D, Rålambsvägen 26 D, Stockholm, 10:00
Available from: 2008-09-11 Created: 2008-09-11Bibliographically approved

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