Snee, Helene. "Doing Something ‘Worthwhile’: Intersubjectivity and
Morality in Gap Year Narratives." Wiley Online Library, John Wiley & Sons,
Accessed 3 Mar. 2017.
In her paper, Doing Something ‘Worthwhile’: Intersubjectivity and Morality in Gap Year Narratives, Helene Snee acknowledges the fact that gap years are often put forward as an opportunity to engage in individualized, reflexive, identity work. However, she has a small criticism; when it comes to student accounts of their gap-year experiences, Snee feels that many narratives of gap-year travel tend to be framed with reference to standard ‘scripts’ and are influenced by structural forces. The paper explores gap year narratives in online travel journals or ‘blogs’ of 39 students, both male and female and from differing social classes and backgrounds, throughout their journeys.
Besides being an award winning author, Helene Snee has worked as a sociology professor as well as a research associate to the head of Manchester Business School. Snee earned her PhD in Sociology from the University of Manchester.
5. Key Terms:
Intersubjectivity: existing between conscious minds; shared by more than one conscious mind
Reflexivity: therefore, comes to mean an act of self-reference where examination or action "bends back on", refers to, and affects the entity instigating the action or examination.
Self-development: the process by which a person's character or abilities are gradually developed
The following two quotes are examples of blog posts by students during their gap year experience:
“The realisation that there are so many amazing things you can do has really hit me today. There is absolutely no need at all to be a sightseer. Whether it is teaching, working at a rescue centre or building furniture for Tsunami victims [as (Friend), one of the other GAPpers is], working in a place gives you so much more than just passing through and seeing the sights. Getting to know a place, networking with the Thais – learning the lingo and having fun, is infinitely more rewarding.” (page 849)
“On the back of our staff shirts it said: “Be the change you want to see in the world” and this summer i’ve realised how true that is I mean, i haven’t done much yet but i know that i’ve affected some kids lives for the better and that’s an amazing feeling.” (page 850)
A key part of the successful gap year is the recognition that enjoyment is an intrinsic part of the experience, as long as orientations to doing something worthwhile are also evident. Thus, the gappers who only focus on having fun tell a less successful story than those who strike a balance, aligning with the imperative to be a well-rounded, socially conscious employable person. (page 851)
One criticism that Snee has about gap-year narratives is that they may not be genuine because they tend to be framed by standard “scripts”. So, the fact that this journal focuses on the true feelings students had in the process of experiencing their gap year will give a great insight towards how students are affected in the midst of the learning experience.