Cultural Representations and Social Complexity: The Case of Public Policies on Neets

Friday, 20 July 2018: 08:40
Oral Presentation
Erica ANTONINI, Sapienza University, Department of Communication and Social Research, Italy
Social representations of NEETs are a typical example of how cultural stereotypes can affect public innovation policies. The acronym NEET stands for “Not in Employment, Education or Training” and refers to large amounts of youth - aged 15 to 29 - who are involved in neither working, nor studying nor training activities.

Many are the causes of this huge social problem - especially economic and cultural -, however public opinions tend to ignore this complexity, by reducing this phenomenon to the sole “voluntary” dimension. In other words, NEET seems to be a condition uniquely caused by youth’s laziness, low attitude to sacrifice and/or snobbish attitude of only considering qualified jobs. Broadly speaking, this point of view reflects the wide-spread attitude of representing social criticalities just a as a matter of individual responsibility or even as psychological problems. Thus, this paper aims at reconsidering the whole complexity of NEET phenomenon, within the theoretical frame of “the end of working society”, by analyzing the structural trends that may be the ground for the large diffusion of this condition within contemporary societies. This paper will consist of the following steps:

  • A comparative analysis of quantitative data (especially official national and supranational statistics) about the dimensions and the features of this phenomenon in the main Western societies

  • A drawing of the main typologies of NEETs, according to specific needs and levels of vulnerability

  • A comparative analysis of the public policies implemented at an international level, basing upon in-depth interviews with privileged witnesses.

Namely, the last step will highlight the impact that the individual, rather than the structural approach among decision-makers, will exert on the public policies on NEETs.