In this editorial introduction to the Special Issue Youth, Aspirations and the Life Course: Development and the social production of aspirations in young people’s lives, we put the work presented in this collection in conversation with the wider literature on development, youth and aspirations. Aspiration we define as an orientation towards a desired future. We elaborate on our conceptualisation of aspirations as socially produced and reflect on the methodological challenges in researching young people’s aspirations in development. While mindful of the various critiques of aspiration research we argue that aspirations constitute fertile terrain for theorising the temporal dynamics of being young and growing up in contexts of development.
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