Issues and Aspects of Comparative Long-Term Studies in Youth Unemployment in Europe: Biographical Constructions of “Generation Y”

Sunday, 10 July 2016: 14:45
Location: Hörsaal 30 (Main Building)
Oral Presentation
Stefanie ERNST, University Muenster, Institute of Sociology, Germany
Inken ROMMEL, University Muenster, Institute of Sociology, Germany
Are we - in view of the ‘brutal’ challenge posed to the significance of human labour and its digitalization in the fourth stage of an anthropological history of wage labour? On the one hand we suffer from skills shortage; low-performance persons with a minimal amount of cultural capital are increasingly isolated from participation in the job market, on the other. Esp. youth unemployment is still a persistent conflict and unemployment rates in European countries always used to be higher than average unemployment rates. Youth unemployment can not only be defined as an individual but also as a structural phenomenon: generational conflicts, increasing radicalization of young people without a professional perspective, a long lasting dependency of young people on family resources and homes, the threat of little pension claim as well as uncertain living conditions for these young people in the future.  Accordingly, these young people show little respect for social and political institutions at the European level, due to the lack of their integration. Since socialization via work is still highly relevant and these young people are supposed to refine the future European integration, youth unemployment occurs to be a very crucial issue for sociological research; esp. a research that reflects the mutual constitution or interplay of individual and collective processes as well as the drag effects of institutional and individual behavior.

With regard to these developments, could one speak of a “forgotten generation” or even of a “generation without future” in Europe? How can we cope with methodological problems of long-term and comparative research throughout Europe (various quotas, work-ethics etc. and key figures of youth unemployment)?  How can we compare European youth unemployment, employment policies, the long-term effects and its biographical impacts (i.e. physical, material and psychological effects, self-images in relation to dominant work-ethics)?