Connecting Individualizations: Towards New Generational Collective Actions

Wednesday, 18 July 2018
Distributed Paper
Enzo COLOMBO, Università degli Studi di Milano, Italy
Paola REBUGHINI, University of Milan, Italy
The presentation analyses how two different groups of young adults face the current difficulties in finding a job in Italy through emerging forms of cooperation, sharing of information, and mutual help. Based on a recent qualitative research (ethnography and interviews in Milan from March 2017 to April 2018), the paper focuses on two very different groups of young people. The first one is composed by high cultural capital young adults who squatted in an empty building in the center of Milan to carry on their individual small jobs – often connected with the use of new technologies – sharing each other skills and information. The second one is composed by low socio-economical capital young people living in a degraded suburb of Milan who created dynamic forms of mutual support to face the uncertainties, precariat and lack of resources in their daily life. The presentation will show how youth preferences and motivations in respect to the present and the future continue to be influenced by gender, education and family origins, but it highlights the specificity of a new generational experience characterised by an ambivalent attitude: on the one hand, a radicalization of individualized and de-standardized forms of actions trying to solve individually systemic problems (Beck); on the other hand, new forms of cooperation and solidarity that explore innovative ways of collaboration and belonging. From a theoretical point of view, the presentation shows the importance of combining a generational perspective with an intersectional analysis, rather than assuming the existence of a transition normative processes or accredited patterns of collective action.