Val av livsstil : problemungdomars sätt att hantera verklighet och konstruera identitet

Sammanfattning: The main aim of my dissertation is to understand the different ways problem youngsters cope with reality, construct identity and make choices of lifestyles. From a common starting point, the assessment home, I have by means of continual interviews followed fourteen youngsters, six girls and eight boys, for almost three years in the boundary zone between "the normal life" and "the deviating behaviour". In the assessment home they where defined as socially vulnerable and problematical. I was able to establish co-operation, got close and through narratives, gain insight into the "order" they gave themselves for experiences, thoughts and identity in choices of lifestyles. My interest was focused on life historical narratives and their own version of events. Even if different choices and lifestyles are experienced as individual they are not only a personal construction. Choosing is also the obvious way of doing gender, making a place for one's own thread, weaving it into the collective warp. Gender and reality differences leads to gender specific choices. Females gave priority to Intimacy before Identity and the males gave priority to Identity before Intimacy. I also found two types of social inheritance and life history scenarios that gave structure to choices and orientations. Choices of lifestyles were related to social action, ways of doing gender, dealing with social inheritance in situational ways. In an individual way actions had much to do with "a play around self-esteem" in which habits and routinized practice provided security and self-confidence. The power of habit gave security to create and recreate known figures even if the figures generated fear and respect in others' eyes. Social choices are decisions not only about how to act but who to be and the main theme for all the youngsters was to be somebody and to fit in somewhere.