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Session Overview
RN30_03a_P: Mobility and Regionality
Wednesday, 30/Aug/2017:
6:00pm - 7:30pm

Session Chair: Hanna-Mari Ikonen, University of Tampere
Location: PC.1.7
PANTEION University of Social & Political Sciences 136 Syggrou Avenue 17671 Athens, Greece Building: C, Level: 1.

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Structural conditions for VET-mobility: opportunities and obstacles

Tabea Schlimbach, Karen Hemming

German Youth Institute, Germany

The paper ventures into a qualitative approach to the role of structural conditions for European cross-border mobility of young people in vocational educational training (VET). Following Giddens (1984), there is a recursivity of structures and individuals acting in social systems. Understanding the VET-system and the organisation of relevant mobility programmes (e.g. Erasmus+) as structures, individual mobility decisions are strongly linked with them. We will thus analyse how social actors perceive and react to structural frameworks, with closer attention to their fostering and hindering function within individual mobility processes of German apprentices. Additionally, comparisons to the Spanish VET-system will be drawn.

The current study is based on semi-structured interviews with former German mobile apprentices aged 18-29 (n=16) and experts (n=4; teachers at VET-schools and mobility consultants). It is part of the EU-project “MOVE” which has received funding from the EU-Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No.649263.

Results reveal that apprentices perceive the highly structured German mobility programmes as incidental opportunities offering “all-inclusive” organisation, and thus also enable participation by students lacking a typical “mobility-background”. Amongst others, obstacles arise from the difficulty of finding a suitable time frame for mobilities within the tightly organised German VET on the one side and the strong dependence on mobility consultants on the other, including their selective acquisition strategies (e.g. personal calls for participation) as well as their time capacities in the light of enormous bureaucracy and limited project run times.

Romanian youth migration – contagious behaviour in peer networks? A case study

Mădălina-Elena Manea1, Alexandra Deliu2

1University of Bucharest, Romania; 2Research Institute for Quality of Life (ICCV), Romanian Academy

Today, the UK is one of the main destination countries for Romanian migration and the high level of heterogeneity of motivations and trajectories of this migration has only become more complex in time, particularly with the decrease in costs of migration which accompanied the free access of Romanians on the British labour market in 2014.

Youth migration has generally been seen as an individual or family livelihood strategy, as a strategic behaviour understood as either conversion of types of capital or responses to challenges of the life context. The analysis this paper proposes is centred on circular migration to the UK for labour in agriculture, and more specifically on a recently formed network of young circular migrants from a Romanian village. Rather than focusing on the individual or the family as a unit of decision-making, we are interested to investigate a type of migration for which the decision and the actions are taken in a peer group. We explore the mechanisms through which this type of spontaneous group migration emerges and is perpetuated, and also the impact of contingent structural factors on its development.

To address the topics, we make use of semi-structured interviews with migrants and key informants, which were conducted in December 2016 in a small village in South-Eastern Romania. The village is particularly interesting for this research, as it has recently formed informal networks which recruit young men for seasonal work in two farms in the UK.

Regionality and social class in young adults experiences

Päivi Berg, Vuokko Harma, Anu-Hanna Anttila

Nuorisotutkimusverkosto, Finland

The discussion on the employability of young adults emphasizes the importance of mobility. Being employable requires an ability to move from one place to another in order to find work; usually the move is from smaller, rural towns towards growing regions and larger cities. Staying in a certain place, like hometown, is considered negative albeit it is relatively common particularly for the young people from working class background. Dano-Norwegian author Aksel Sandemose’s novel A Fugitive Crosses His Tracks (1933) introduces Law of Jante which describes a fictional town’s, Jante’s, atmosphere and mentality. Sociologist Susie Scott has reviewed the Law of Jante as a cultural “code of conduct” in Nordic countries in which self-assertion and attention-seeking behavior is considered as objectionable whereas humility and modesty is seen as a virtue. In this presentation, we aim to point out that the cultural code of conduct of the law of Jante is related to the social class of the individual and therefore affect their experiences in both working life and social class position.

Our data consist interview data of young adults (N=41) who live in the provincial area of Eastern-Finland or who have moved from there to Helsinki capital city region. We are particularly interested in looking at the self-employed and temporary workers’ experiences of regionality and social class. This presentation will consider the meaning of social class in relation to mobility and the possible attempt to distance oneself from the working-class identity (Skeggs 2004).

Spanish vocational education and training mobility in the EU: Youth mobility narratives intertwined structure and agency

Cristina Cuenca1, Lorenzo Navarrete Moreno2

1ICN - Colegio de Ciencias Políticas y Sociología, Spain; 2Universidad Complutense de Madrid

Author/s: Cristina Cuenca* Lorenzo Navarrete (Ilustre Colegio Nacional de Doctores y Licenciados en Ciencias Políticas y Sociología)


Keywords: youth, mobility, vocational training, agency.

The paper focuses on cross-border mobility of Spanish young people within the framework of vocational education and training (VET) in the European Union (EU2020 Lisbon Strategy). Using qualitative data obtained within the project MOVE, funded by EU-Horizon2020 research and innovation programme under GA No.649263, which focus on youth mobility in Europe (semi-structured interviews n=204), we present the first results extracted from the Spanish case (n=19) against our case study (VET mobility) partner Germany.

Our hypothesis is that there is a basic paradox at the core of youth mobility narratives that tend to present and represent mobility itself as an opportunity and a positive resource, even when the outcomes of this mobility and the decision to go abroad are somehow imposed by the institutions. Using a specific conception of agency, which enables a theoretical tackling of individual opportunity strategies in the structural and institutional Spanish context, we approach agency as a continuum which includes capabilities and opportunities (Näre, 2014), covering new forms of action needed in situations of social change, where new ways of acting and doing are implemented.

Traditionally scholars have presented any decision to go abroad as agentic, however, in relation to the content analysis of these interviews we observed that these decisions are usually embedded in the structural institutional narratives that present mobility as "good" per se, and are usually accompanied by a non-questioning of the reason (skills acquisition), destination (the destination country is often not chosen by the young person), and motivations to go abroad.

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