Youth in the Age of Austerity

Monday, July 14, 2014: 7:30 PM
Room: F205
Oral Presentation
Alan FRANCE , Sociology, University of Auckland, Auckland, New Zealand
This paper will draw upon international evidence of how ‘youth’ and the ‘youth question’ within social and public policy has been (and is) changing as a result of the global disruption to international capital. It will examine how 'financial restructuring' in different countries is impacting on public and social policies aimed at the young and how the concepts such as ‘youth’ ‘age’, ‘transition’ ‘diversity’ ‘risk’ and ‘inclusion’ and ‘citizenship’ are being reconstructed and reconfigured in policy discourses. Since the early 80s ‘neoliberalism’ has been seen as the major driver to national and international policy frameworks in western type states. This paper will argue that the recent ‘crisis’ does not create new responses but has accelerated neoliberal strategies that see public and social policies and practices help western states implement a range of new ways of managing young people and the ‘youth question’. The focus of the paper will therefore be on how youth ‘policy’ is using the ‘crisis’  in responding to the youth question, how it is creating new narratives of youth and the life course and what new types of ‘societal pathways’ into adulthood for the young are emerging as a result of recent austerity measures in policy. The analysis will examine these developments by the use of a number of international case studies, across Austrasia, North America and Europe highlighting the political ecological framework of policy that integrates an understanding of how ‘finance’, ‘markets’  and various neoliberal policy responses to them are re-shaping the life course for the young through the implementation of austerity measures.