Youth Mobility and Cosmopolitan Citizenship. the Italian Case

Thursday, 19 July 2018: 16:30
Oral Presentation
Ilenya CAMOZZI, University of Milan Bicocca, Italy
People’s increasing mobility is one of the most evident implication of ongoing globalization processes (Urry and Sheller 2006). Mobility characterises not only many adults’ course of life but also numerous young people’s biography. Youngsters’ increasing mobility – not yet largely analysed (Gabriel 2007; Skrbis et al 2014) – asks to be investigated as a key aspect of contemporary youth condition, traditionally analysed from two different perspectives – ‘transitions’ and ‘cultural’ (Furlong, Woodman, and Wyn 2011; Woodman and Bennett 2015). Mobility represents a fertile category to connect these two perspectives inasmuch mobility constitutes both a marker in many young people’s transition to adulthood, and a distinctive character of contemporary youth culture.

Nowadays, mobility is a condition experienced both as an abroad educational exchange (more and more widespread) and as a job opportunity to tackle high degree of unemployed young people in our contemporary society (even in the Global North). On one hand, moving and residing abroad for a long time it embodies an opportunity to fuel the process of transition to adulthood (Thomson and Taylor 2005) and a reaction to the ‘presentification’ of young people’s biographies (Leccardi 2005), and, on the other, an occasion to experience (ethno)-cultural diversity and exercise a cosmopolitan gaze. This emerging scenario reshuffles the sense of belonging of young people on the move, who would embody new citizens, namely cosmopolitan citizens.

The paper will present the preliminary results of an ongoing qualitative research on Italian young people – aged between 24 and 34 - who moved abroad in search of job opportunities, new life experiences and social recognition. The focus will be on their motivations for mobility, their expectations for the future in terms of being considered active and conscious subjects as well as fully citizens.