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Session Overview
RN30_03b_P: Trust, Mistrust and the Risk of Marginalisation
Wednesday, 30/Aug/2017:
6:00pm - 7:30pm

Session Chair: Nuno Almeida Alves, University Institute of Lisbon
Location: PC.3.15
PANTEION University of Social & Political Sciences 136 Syggrou Avenue 17671 Athens, Greece Building: C, Level: 3.

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The youth of today: Precarity, political mistrust and the collapsing welfare state

Eleni Triantafyllopoulou

Humboldt University of Berlin, Germany

Scope of the paper is to identify the impacts of the collapsing welfare provisions on the urban youth of Athens in the era of the “public debt” crisis. During the last seven years, the all-embracing socioeconomic and spatial measures promoted in Greece have intensified economic inequality, social exclusion and socio-spatial segregation, whereas austerity budgeting in the social state has been intensively enforced.

More specifically, the current policies and the welfare state retrenchment have altered the structural conditions of labour and education, as well as the ongoing positions and locations of today's youth. Being young and urban today means to confront the new reality of insecure and flexible working regimes, dealing with a life of increasing precariousness. In this dystopian landscape, the majority of young people have lost their trust to the role of the state and to the political system, proving that the social crisis has led to a political crisis as well.

Based on field research the paper examines to what extend do young urban residents of Athens rely on social policy and on institutions in order to cope with the social repercussions of the crisis. Furthermore, in a period where precarity seems to be the norm of the labour market, aim of the paper is also to investigate which alternative paths do young urbanities choose, what social networks and ties they create and whether they engage in some sort of collective urban action.

‘You do, you feel a little bit marginalised’: The political understandings of Muslim Young People in Bradford

Nathan Manning1, Parveen Akhtar2

1University of York, United Kingdom; 2Aston University, United Kingdom

Young people’s relationship with politics is routinely deemed problematic by a range of influential social actors. Amidst concerns over disengagement and the potential for radicalisation the political participation of ethnic minority young people is often particularly scrutinised. In contrast to such ‘crisis narratives’ this paper reports on qualitative research with young Muslims in a northern English city. Consistent with research on young people in general, the findings reveal widespread cynicism and disillusionment with electoral politics amongst this group. Despite this cynicism, most respondents were politically engaged and voiced claims for a substantive representation which addressed mainstream and often national political issues. These claims were articulated in contrast to an older generation who were seen as prioritising local issues and representation much more closely tied to kinship and ethnic identity. In the face of ongoing racism and marginalisation, these Muslim young people were asserting claims for a more mainstream citizenship marked against the political and cultural orientations of an older generation.

Longitudinal Exploration of Young Greeks' Subjectivation in 'Debt Society'

Eleni Stamou

Independent Researcher, United Kingdom

The starting point of this paper is a critical engagement with Mauricio Lazzarato’s genealogical account of the 'debt society' as a milestone of the economic organisation and most importantly, as a political relation, fundamental to contemporary Western societies. Following Lazzarato the rise of the debt economy involves the emergence of new forms of regulation through the domination of debt-creditor relations, which overshadow previous economic and social formations, such as the information society or the knowledge economy. Central to the operation of such debt economies and societies is the production of the ‘indebted man’, as the ‘the modern notion of economy covers both economic production and the production of subjectivity’.

Against this backdrop, the object of the paper is to utilise and critically consider Lazzarato’s concepts in pursuing a longitudinal exploration of young people in Greece. The paper will provide empirical insights drawing on and bringing together two sets of qualitative data: Firstly I will refer to young Greeks’ narratives of the self, which were generated as part of my PhD research, just before the outbreak of the financial crisis. Additionally I will present interview data gathered through a follow-on, small-scale research with young people in crisis-hit Greece. The discussion will focus on the construction of youth subjectivities over time, within radically changing socio-economic conditions.

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