23 SES 11 B, Youth on the Move – Transitions in Times of Uncertainty (Part 1)
Symposium: to be continued in 23 SES 12 B, 23 SES 13 B
A trend towards increasingly extended, fragmented, and uncertain school-to-work transitions has been prominent in Europe and OECD during the last decades (Colley et al. 2007; Walther 2006). The situation deteriorated after the recession after the financial crisis of 2008 and the subsequent euro crisis. For example youth unemployment has reached very high levels and the average share of young adults aged 20−24 who were neither employed, nor in education or training was 17 to 18% in the EU countries in 2012 (Eurostat 2012). This situation is deeply worrying from individual and societal perspectives, since spells of unemployment leave long-term scars e.g. in terms of lowered life-incomes and health conditions, and amplifies social segregation and exclusion (Scarpetta et al. 2010).
In this conjuncture transition matters, to large extent consisting of education and training measures, have entered the national and supranational political arenas. A multitude of authorities and forces, a veritable ‘transition machinery’ has emerged to shape governable young adults in constant transitions as students, trainees and job-seekers (Hansson & Lundahl 2004; Brunila 2011). Dominant discourses on youth transitions do not simply describe young adults but create them, not only as objects but also as subjects, due to the way in which they can also influence the individual’s sense of self. For example new labels of psychological and emotional deficiency of young adults who fail to make successful transitions from school to work will serve to isolate and blame them for their inadequacies.When lack of education and unemployment aretreated as individual problems, personal or identity issues, the solutions are likewise individualised.Therefore, a critical reconceptualising of the cross-sectional politics and practices of transitions is called for.
The symposium focuses on educational and work-related programs and measures provided by schools and other educational institutions, EU, ministries and government policies, municipalities and associations that struggle to meet the interests of young adults. One of the aims of the symposium is to critically examine transitions and to determine how they shape the interests of young adults themselves, including those who live outside of education and work. Another aim is to deepen the understanding of how youth transition policies one the one hand are nationally and locally designed and employed (see e.g. Lundahl & Olofsson 2014), on the other hand how they are shaped at the Nordic and European policy agenda (López Blasco et al. 2003; Colley et al 2007; Walther 2007).
The symposium is arranged by researchers of the Nordic centre of excellence ‘Justice through Education’ (JustEd, http://blogs.helsinki.fi/just-ed/).
Brunila, K (2011). The Projectisation, Marketisation and Therapisation of Education. European Educational Research Journal, 10 (3), 421-433.
Colley, H. et al. (Eds.). (2007). Social inclusion for young people: Breaking down the barriers. Strasbourg: Council of Europe Publishing.
Eurostat (2012). http://appsso.eurostat.ec.europa.eu/nui
Hansson, Kristian & Lundahl, Lisbeth (2004). Youth Politics and Local Constructions of Youth. Brit. J. of Sociology of Education 25 (2), 161-178.
Lopéz Blasco, Andreu; McNeish, Wallace & Walther, Andreas (2003). Young People and Contradictions of Inclusion. Towards Integrated Transition Policies in Europe. Bristol: The Policy Press.
Lundahl, L & Olofsson, J (2014). Guarded transitions? Youth trajectories and school-to-work transition policies in Sweden. International Journal of Adolescence and Youth (e-pub ahead of print)
Scarpetta, S., et al. (2010) Rising Youth Unemployment during the Crisis: how to prevent negative long-term consequences on a generation? OECD Social, Employment and MigrationPapers, no. 106.
Walther, Andreas (2006). Regimes of youth transitions.Choice, flexibility and security in young people’s experiencesacross different European contexts. Young, Vol 14(2): 119–139
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