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Session Overview
RN26_RN30_11b_P_JS: JOINT SESSION: Future Hopes and Transitions to Work
Friday, 01/Sep/2017:
4:00pm - 5:30pm

Session Chair: Sanna Aaltonen, Finnish Youth Research Society
Location: PC.5.29
PANTEION University of Social & Political Sciences 136 Syggrou Avenue 17671 Athens, Greece Building: C, Level: 5.
Joint session of RN26 Sociology of Social Policy and Social Welfare and RN30 Youth & Generation

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Youth attitudes towards their future: the role of resources, agency and perceptions of hard work

Avril Keating, Gabriella Melis

University College London, United Kingdom

The future for young people is often presented in a negative light, with media headlines frequently describe a ‘lost generation’ facing a ‘bleak future’ and with little hope of achieving the lifestyle that their parents and grandparents have enjoyed. Despite this, recent surveys suggest that a majority of young Britons remain optimistic about their own future (although they tend to be pessimistic about the future of their generation as a whole). Similarly high levels of optimism were reported in a nationally representative web survey that we conducted in 2014 with 2025 young people aged 22-29 in England, Scotland and Wales. In this paper, therefore, we examine whether the optimism that young people feel is linked to their resources or to their attitudes. What we find (using multiple regression techniques) is that youth optimism is indeed stratified by resources (such as class, gender, and being in employment) but that perceptions of agency and the importance of hard work are more powerful drivers.

"It is not the lack of jobs, but the youth despising jobs": the reasons of youth unemployment from the eyes of different actors

Kezban Çelik1, Hediye Sibel Kalaycıoğlu2

1Ondokuz Mayıs University, Samsun, Turkey; 2Middle East Technical University, Ankara, Turkey

Turkey has a young population; the share of people aged 0-24 constitutes 41.1% of population. The youth unemployment is quite high (25% in 2016), and it has increased more than that of adults. The following reasons are used to explain youth unemployment: lack of work experience by youth seeking jobs first time, easier dismissals of young workers during economic crises due to "last in first out" mentality, decreasing need for labour as a result of technological developments, and high expectations of youth from first jobs. Political actors and employers (business world) often use the expression in the title "the problem is not the lack of jobs, but the youth despising jobs" to explain the causes of youth unemployment in Turkey.

This explanation represents an incriminating approach to the unemployed youth. The essence of this accusing approach is that “there are enough jobs in the labour market but the young people are very selective about these opportunities”. As the youth unemployment could not be explained simply by blaming young people, this paper aimed to understand the views and perspectives of different labour market actors in Turkey. A qualitative research methodology was used in the study, including in-depth interviews with the three actors: public administrators, employers, and young people themselves. Each side had indeed both conflicting and overlapping dimensions of their viewpoints on the reasons of youth unemployment.

Less and less success on the labour market for the young? A comparison of the birth cohorts 1935 to 1979 in Germany from age 15 to 35

Tatjana C Mika

German Pansion Insurance, Germany

Cohort studies aim at the ongoing process of social change. The methodological challenge is the measurement of older and younger birth cohort at the same age and with the same analytical and empirical concepts. The time between the end of formal education and the successful entry into the labour market became more difficult for some members of younger birth cohorts. Periods of employment are more often interrupted and unemployment with and without income replacement and sickness pay fill some of those gaps. Personal income growth is also slower to come by and less steady for younger cohorts.

The paper compares the changing pattern of the first twenty years of the employment careers for the birth cohorts 1935-1944, 1945-1954, 1955-1964 and 1965-1974. For this goal, an analysis of all cohorts together is carried out with longitudinal data from the statutory pension insurance (‘Sample of the insured populations’ records’ (VSKT)) of the years 2002, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2011, 2012, 2014. The data make the life courses of those age cohorts at the same biographical period from age 15 to age 35 comparable, including the level of the gross income before taxes. However, a major challenge is the changing institutional framework, which requires a transformation of the biographical records in order to make them comparable. The results demonstrate the level of contributions to and respective future benefits from the Welfare State.

Good practice of European youth-empowerment: the case of "Bollenti Spiriti"

Clementina Giulia Maria Gentile Fusillo

University of Warwick, United Kingdom

Between 2005 and 2015, the Regional Government of Puglia (southern Italy) promoted Bollenti Spiriti (BS), a youth-policy programme financed by the European Social Fund. The programme was based on a radical shift in the understanding of the condition of youth: rather than addressing young unemployed citizens as a problem, it took up the challenge of considering them ‘the solution’. BS funded over 700 teams of young entrepreneurs whose projects fulfilled the requirement of addressing questions of public interest (social exclusion, environmental issue, civic participation) through innovative ideas. In 2012 BS won the European Enterprise Promotion Award for the section Promoting the Entrepreneurial Spirit.

I propose a case study focusing on the BS good practice and its insightful theoretical implications. Central to my argument is the idea that similar youth-entrusting / youth-empowering policies may play a role in the bottom-up identification and promotion of a European civic virtue. Citizens trained in such virtue, I argue, are willing to accept public challenges and able to turn the obstacles generated by the global crises into opportunities to shape a better society. In this perspective, young generations represent an occasion to redefine the word ‘work’, reconciling it with the meaning of one’s life.

Young European citizens are authoring the meaning of their social and political lives, and courageously thinking themselves as 'imaginative institutors' of the future European society. BS is a local model of ‘institutional complicity’ aimed at supporting this courage in younger generations. I suggest that - transposed in the design of specific top-down European policies- it could impact importantly on the identity of the Union.

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