Inequalities in the making: The role of young people’s relational resources through the Covid-19 lockdown
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, youth researchers have reported increased inequalities between young people, but the social processes that drive these changes are not well understood. In this paper, we draw on rich longitudinal interview data following the same participants from a year before and into the midst of national lockdown during the pandemic in Norway to explore the unfolding of classed and gendered responses that were triggered in young people across the class spectrum. We find that advantaged, ambitious youths engaged in self-resourcing practices with support from their family that could make them even better positioned after the crisis. Youths that were socially vulnerable before the pandemic dealt with the situation alone and in highly gendered ways that seemed to amplify their insecure position in the peer group and community. Thriving youths from working-class communities engaged in lockdown practices that connected them deeper to the family and resourced them for gender traditional, local lives. Illuminating how a crisis prompts practices that increased emerging differences along classed and gendered lines, the paper shows that to grasp inequalities in the making, researchers must consider the importance and changing nature of resources – including relational resources in the family – over time.