Social and Labor Market Integration Processes of Young People during a Continous Economic and Financial Crisis

Friday, July 18, 2014: 3:30 PM
Room: 512
Oral Presentation
Sotirios CHTOURIS , University of the Aegean, Mytilini, Greece
DeMond MILLER , Sociology and Anthropology, Rowan University, Glassboro, NJ
The proposed  presentation παresearch intends to focus on Greek Youth social and labour integration process, based on analsis of two important factors, namely, social and cultural capital on one hand, youth agency on the other. Strong social bonds constitute an important integrative factor for youth, in conjuncture with prevailing traditional social and cultural values. Public education (secondary and higher), as well as employment in the public sector , constitute, in this context, a primary social mobility strategy, which is mainly financed by middle class family income and sustained by the Greek public education system.  However, given the current global economic crisis, and more particularly the Greek one, there is enormous liability to state finances, provoked by the accumulation of a staggering public debt and an increasing budget deficit. This has caused not only an imbalance but also a radical transformation of the current social setting. Rising unemployment, drastic decline in state employment, as well as social and employment risks push for an emergency rearrangement of both individual and family strategies. Youth’s social capital is undergoing a deep transformation, characterized  by an expansion of social networks on one hand, and a proliferation of loose social ties on the other, resulting in a boost for professional and geographical mobility. On the other hand, we observe groups of young people that tend to adopt social disobedience practices, as well as an active oppositional stance against the established social and political order, in the framework of their reaction to social risk and economic hardship. The emergence of new social media has significantly improved communication capabilities and, at the same time, has offered new opportunities for spontaneous mobilization of anti-government protesters.