Peer-Reviewed Journal Details
Mandatory Fields
Cassidy, Anne and McGrath, Brian
Journal Of Rural Studies
Farm, place and identity construction among Irish farm youth who migrate
Optional Fields
Migrated farm youth, Irish family farm, Identity and recognition, Farm status, Identity construction
While studies of rural young people's relationship to place continue to provide illuminating insights into experiences of belonging and identity construction, this paper specifically focuses on farm youth to explore the connection between involvement in the farm and its influence on their relationship and connection with their local community. The paper is based on qualitative narrative research with a group of thirty university students who grew up on the farm but are highly unlikely to pursue farming as a career or return to the farm. Their farm experiences reflect different levels of farming engagement since their childhood. The paper outlines how the nature of roles and farm involvement inform wider social recognition and identifications, which significantly shape their connections with the places they were ‘born and bred’. Early farm role allocations into ‘worker/'helper’ positions are shown to influence interactions with the wider locality and farming community and have a distinct impact on how young people build their identities. The findings of this research show that the kinds of gendered work roles and farm involvement while growing up influenced their wider social recognition and identifications, which significantly shaped and continues to shape their feelings of connection to where they were ‘born and bred’. Despite having moved to urban locations e and relatively varied ‘internal’ relationships with farm/rural community culture e a more abstract ‘rural’ identification persists in opposition to a negatively imagined external urban ‘other’. A key conclusion from this is that young people from this background, who are socially and spatially mobile, continue to affirm farm identities as they build a life away from their home place and local community.
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