How the Economic Crisis Is Affecting Young People. a Research in the Milan Area

Tuesday, 12 July 2016: 11:00
Location: Hörsaal II (Neues Institutsgebäude (NIG))
Oral Presentation
Enzo COLOMBO, Università degli Studi di Milano, Italy
Luisa LEONINI, Università degli Studi di Milano, Italy
This paper investigates how present economic crisis is affecting the daily life and social position of young people in Italy. The data presented are based on 65 narrative interviews with young adults (aged 20-30) living in the urban area of Milan, North Italy. Adopting an intersectional perspective, interested in analyzing the effects of different social locations derived by the intertwining of gender, class, education, and ethnicity, we focused on  the perceptions of crisis and the strategies and tactics young adult in everyday life.

The narrations collected show that precariousness and reduced job opportunities, with their consequences on social mobility, constitute only the more explicit and raw evidence of the lived experience of the crisis among young people. The research shows that these consequences are diversified according to the economic, cultural and social capital of families, to gender and generation position, and to subjective and contextualized perceptions. The central hypothesis of our work is that ‘the crisis’ is not just a temporary economic conjuncture; it is also a social phenomenon reshaping the social positions of individuals in both structural and subjective terms. Showing how the crisis is affecting different young people in very different ways, the paper investigates both structural evidence and subjective interpretations of the crisis. It highlights how the current economic crisis might represent both a potential danger and a new opportunity, stressing the relevant role of structural intersection of gender/education/ethnicity in shaping the factual space for youth’s agency.