Becoming Adults. How the Transmission of Inequalities Changes in a Time of Work Uncertainty

Sunday, 10 July 2016
Location: Hörsaal 50 (Main Building)
Distributed Paper
Teresa BALDI, Sapienza Università di Roma, Italy
Young people are paying individually both the weight of the global crisis and the consequences of macro-structural dynamics of long term which increased the work uncertainties.

This paper inquires how this phenomenon influences the phase of the transition to adulthood. In particular, from one side, this change means an extension of this process, with a substantial postponement of the key-events of this life phase. From the other side, however, this fact may increase the transmission of inequalities between parents and sons.

The aim of the paper is to examine how the process of transmission of inequalities changes when the labour, especially for young people, seems to have lost its centrality in the social stratification. If we assumed that work as an agent of emancipation (and social mobility) failed, other factors become more influent (such as the housing factor): as a consequence the transmission of inequalities becomes an inherited fact.

I will explore this topic presenting the most relevant evidence from the research I am conducting in Florence. My investigation uses a mix-methods approach and a purposive sampling; the questionnaire examines both structural aspects and the subjective strategies of young adults with scarce  economic resources. The data allow to rebuild the biographical paths and to inquire the nature of the more relevant factors on the transition to adulthood. However, in order to collect data I use “face to face” interviews that give a more comprehensive view of the different life choices. Moreover, the interviews may be an attempt for the interviewed to rationalise hir/her personal condition and to reflect about the dyad rejection/identification of their generation.