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Session Overview
RN30_01a_P: RN KEYNOTE SESSION with Ann Nilsen: Youth, Intergenerational Solidarity and the Crises in Europe
Wednesday, 30/Aug/2017:
2:00pm - 3:30pm

Session Chair: Valentina Cuzzocrea, University of Erfurt
Location: PC.1.7
PANTEION University of Social & Political Sciences 136 Syggrou Avenue 17671 Athens, Greece Building: C, Level: 1.
Discussants: Carmen Leccardi; John Goodwin; Sanna Aaltonen

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Youth transitions in times of inequality:

Ann Nilsen

University of Bergen, Norway

Youth transitions in times of inequality:

‘Private troubles and public issues’ in discussions of intergenerational solidarity and conflict


The current time of increasing social inequalities, cutbacks in public spending and high youth unemployment in many European countries, is a challenging period for young people making their transitions to adulthood. On the other end of the age spectrum, the demographic circumstances with an ageing population are also a source for concern in many countries. In the public debate and in some social science research, the demographic situation is put forward as a major reason for the plight of the young as public spending on pensions and care for the elderly far outweigh the economic transfers to the younger strata of populations in social protection budgets. The unequal distribution of social protection expenditure by age has increasingly been discussed in terms of an intergenerational conflict. Others have maintained that a social contract between generations is the basis of all societies and highlighted how the upholding of intergenerational solidarity is a cornerstone for peaceful co-existence across generational divides. An overarching aim in this paper is to examine the wider implications of the standpoints in this debate with a particular emphasis on young people’s transition phases. The origins of the ‘generational equity debate’ will be traced and addressed within a wider framework that includes an historical contextualisation of the ideas and concepts involved. C.Wright Mills’ approach and concepts form the main theoretical frame of reference. Empirical evidence will include relevant statistics, and interview material from a three generation life course study of intergenerational transmission processes.

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