78.4 Activation without work? The sanctioning of jobless youth by employment services in Germany

Wednesday, August 1, 2012: 11:30 AM
Faculty of Economics, TBA
Oral Presentation
Dr. Franziska SCHREYER , Education and Employment over the Life Course, Institute for Employment Research, Nuremberg, Germany
From “Welfare without work” to “Activation without work” – that is how the neo-liberal  transformation of European welfare states is characterised from a critical sociological perspective. A core problem of activation strategies not only in Germany is that they are one-sided: They concentrate on the jobless benefit recipients and their assumed individual deficits, while neglecting the creation of jobs providing sufficient income. In Germany unemployed younger than 25 years are defined as a special target group regarding the participation in activation measures. In order to integrate them into the labour market, they are also subject to more sweeping sanctioning regulations. Contrary to a stepwise reduction of the financial benefit for older clients, benefits for unemployed younger than 25 years are reduced by 100% for mostly three months after the first neglect of duty. In case of repeated failure within one year, the payment for housing and heating is cancelled in addition.

In our presentation we would assess the consequences of the sanctioning rules against young jobless welfare recipients. Our questions are: Can social inclusion (in terms of integration into the labour market) be achieved with the threat and imposition of sanctions? Or does financial pressure rather lead to more social exclusion, material and subjective? To answer these questions, we present some main findings of quantitative research as well as our own qualitative research. We analyze narrative interviews with sanctioned young jobless as well as semi-structured interviews with case workers in employment services. In addition we examine the counseling records that have been compiled about the young people.