Abstracts by sessions


Session 1

Reelika Pirk & Airi-Alina Allaste (Tallinn University)

Animal rights activists: ‘teenage radicals’ or creators of new lifestyle

This paper is about animal rights activism in Estonia initiated by young people in the mid 2000s.  Though the younger generation is believed to be alienated from politics, an alternative explanation is that young people are more interested in acting for concrete aims, rather than backing up the existing political force with their votes. Recent studies of youth activism have, on the one hand, broadened to include ‘consumer’ and ‘lifestyle’ politics; however, on the other hand they have pointed out that some forms of creative activism associated with civic disobedience can also be condemned.

In the paper, we analyse the ‘post-citizen movement’ for animal rights as an example of youth activism in Estonia.  Our central research interest lies with understanding the strategies and tactics activist use, considering their controversial roles. In light of Giddens’ conceptualisation ‘life politics’, the aims of animal rights activists can be interpreted as an attempt to create new moral standards and lifestyles. On the other hand, their activities can also be interpreted as a deviant, “teenage radical” movement. Animal rights activists have to deal with stereotypes disseminated by one-sided media coverage and ‘preventive measures’ taken by law enforcement agencies against them as potential offenders.

An in-depth, micro-level analysis is based on participant observation conducted in 2012-2016 and 14 in-depth interviews with 11 activists conducted in 2013-2016 and 2019. The focus of our analysis relies on the meanings that young activists attribute to their activities and the justifications of their strategic choices.

Evelyne Baillergeau, Gerlieke Veltkamp, Milio van de Kamp, Christian Bröer & Sherria Ayuandini (University of Amsterdam)

Politics in spite of adversity. Desired futures and political aspirations of adolescents faced with disadvantaged circumstances in the Netherlands

How comes that young people feel strongly about social change? For youth faced with high levels of adversity in their daily lives, substantial change is a necessity but imagining change isn’t self-evident, since much in the world of today rather nudges them to project themselves in status quo, i.e. bearing with similar levels of social inequality or worse. So how comes that some adolescents growing up in disadvantaged environments come to hold political aspirations? Building on some earlier work on the social processes involved in the development of the capacity to aspire (Appadurai, 2004; Baillergeau & Duyvendak, 2019) and a discussion of the concept of emergent aspirations as framed by Zipin and colleagues (2015), this paper discusses some findings from the CO-CREATE project carried out in a vocational secondary school in North Holland.
Through the setting of 15 ‘Youth Alliances for Childhood Obesity Prevention’, the CO-CREATE project has ambitioned to engage groups of adolescents (16-18 year olds) to formulate policy ideas regarding childhood obesity and to discuss these policy ideas with policy-makers and other stakeholders at the local level. As such, CO-CREATE addresses youth political participation in a proactive way, with an understanding of political participation ranging beyond voting or providing feedback on existing policy. Participating adolescents are invited to reflect on how to respond to childhood obesity by proposing concrete measures which they can test in their own environment. CO-CREATE is also a reflective project, as the youth engagement process is twined with a research component, geared at monitoring and assessing the factors and dynamics involved in the youth engagement process, building on the YPAR methodology. This article discusses the findings of an ‘Alliance’ based in a Dutch city, where the challenge of engaging adolescents was taken to reach out primarily to sections of youth that are usually under-represented in participatory initiatives, namely older adolescents facing high levels of adversity in their daily lives.

Carmen Leccardi (University of Milan-Bicocca)

Youth political participation: subjectivities and the everyday

The paper  focuses on some characteristics of young people’s political participation today, in a time of increasing scepticism of traditional political organizations and disenchantment towards representative  democracy. Based in particular on a qualitative ongoing Italian research on unconventional political participation among young people and its link with futurity, the paper  aims to mobilize new conceptual tools for the analysis of political participation. Politics is being reinvented at present to make use of new types of temporality, and to connect long-term futures with everyday experiences. It is in this analytical framework that the concept of ‘everyday utopias’ (Davina Cooper) seems  to offer a way to focus on what is doable  in the everyday while capturing a sense of hope and potentiality. This form of ‘temporal work’ (Michael Flaherty) resonates with the need for young people to intertwine the need to express control of their lives, meaningful relations and subjectivities. A specific role is played, in this frame, by the increasing importance of personal responibility (like in the struggle for climate justice). Responsibility, here, does not avoid uncertainties and ambivalences. Rather, it expresses young people’s  need for an ethical engagement here-and-now.

Session 2

Siyka Kovacheva (University of Plovdiv)

Young people building pathways to independent adulthood

Across Europe many policies have been designed to support young people’s transition to independent adulthood. Most programs have a narrow focus on raising the ‘employability’ of the present-day young generation while trying to enforce a re-standardization of the life course. This trend is in contrast to the highly differentiated life paths of young adults in different European regions facing varying degrees of structural inequalities of opportunities.
This paper draws from qualitative interviews conducted in 2017 with 164 young men and women in nine EU countries as part of the YOUNG_ADULLLT project funded under the Horizon2020 program.  The interviewees were current or former participants in labor market, training and social policies and were asked about their school careers, motivation to join the policy, experiences from the program and the impact that these experiences had on their life projects. The analysis attempts to employ a life course perspective to young people’s narratives exploring their learning biographies taking into consideration the social context and the individual agency in constructing life projects. The paper presents in more detail two different life course trajectories of young people in vulnerable situations in Bulgaria that were involved in training programs provided by a state agency and a private non-profit foundation.
The analysis shows that institutional factors may reinforce or weaken the structural barriers in the different localities, but young people’s individual agency also filters and influences the institutional policies and practices regulating youth transitions and social integration. The young women and men design life projects trying to balance a wide range of needs and aspirations concerning, work, family, friendship and leisure. They are generally satisfied with the opportunities provided by both state and private actors since they give them financial support and better knowledge of the labor market. However, the inflexibility of the training programs of the state employment agencies did not meet the trainees’ immediate expectations and wider life responsibilities. The paper concludes that policy makers and street-level professionals would increase the programs’ social effect by encouraging the young participants to become active learners, providing time and space for them to express their views on what they need and how the programs should be designed, implemented and evaluated. Instead of focusing on achieving higher numbers of participants, lifelong learning policies should enable the young to find their own subjectively meaningful ways to be part of their societies.

Juliane Achatz Kerstin Jahn & Brigitte Schels (Institute for Employment Research (IAB)

On the non-standard routes: Vocational training measures in the school-to-work transitions of lower-qualified youth in Germany

Inequality and life course research devotes special attention to the school-to-work passage. But while there is ample evidence on short-term transient events, knowledge about the configuration of more complex patterns consisting of multiple stages of varying duration and the timing and sequencing of status changes is still limited. The study adds to the existing literature by paying close attention to stages of participation in pre-vocational training measures, supplementary fully qualifying training programmes as well as various labour market programmes in Germany. The significance of those routes for the school-to-work transition process is a controversial issue. While programmes intend to improve prospects of low-skilled youth on the training and labour market, critics point out risks of resulting in long-term subsidized careers or discontinuous employment trajectories in subsequent years. The study’s main goal is to generate an elaborate understanding of school-to-work trajectories, which is important for policy makers, who often assess any deviation from the pre-structured routes of the VET system as alarming at first. The paper addresses three research questions: What do the school-to-work trajectories of school leavers with an at-most intermediate secondary school degree look like, and how do various transition measures shape the transition pathways? How are the personal characteristics of youth correlated with the likelihood of following a specific transition pattern?
The analysis traces the school-to-work transitions of a cohort of school leavers for more than six years after they ended their general education in 2008. The study applies optimal matching analysis (OMA) in combination with cluster analysis increasingly deployed in school-to-work transition research using a unique set of longitudinal data from two administrative data sources. The database covers individual information about periods of standard and marginal employment, apprenticeship, unemployment, receipt of unemployment insurance benefit, receipt of means-tested basic income support (welfare benefit) as well as participation in transition measures and labour market programmes. Additionally, we use multinomial logit regression analysis to examine how educational attainment, socio-economic and foreign background at the end of schooling predict the transition pathways controlling for age, gender, residence and regional unemployment rate.
The study identifies a typology of ten fine-grained transition patterns, indicating a wide variety of youth career development. The results show that youth entering alternative training routes often manage a rather smooth, even though delayed school-to-work transition. We identify only a small number of youth experiencing at-risk trajectories characterized by discontinuity and sustained detachment from the training and labour market. External and subsidised vocational training programmes seem to offer appropriate alternatives that may fill in the biographical role of regular apprenticeships. However, some youth need further support when they attempt to enter employment upon completion of vocational training. The small group experiencing undirected at-risk trajectories should receive particular attention because persistently failing in vocational training and in the labour market may result in lifelong disadvantages. For these young people, the role of transition measures and labour market programmes should be critically questioned, as they partly fail to build bridges into employment.

Session 3

Carlo Genova (Università di Torino)

Beyond folk devils? The representation of urban youth cultures in Italian newspapers

The relationship between youth cultures and their representation by mass media is one of the main topics in subcultural studies. Following the Birmingham school’s approach, mass media are mainly attracted by the most ‘spectacular’ stylistic innovations of youth cultures, but often this interest quickly shifts into a labelling of this innovations as ‘deviant’ acts. On the one hand media participate in building youth cultures by presenting them as unitary phenomena even when no such unitarity exists. On the other hand they further participate in their growth by spreading their image and making them known among a wider public. In tandem, youth cultures themselves often adopt, and make their own, the images of them which means of communication propagate. But media exposure also causes the destruction of subcultures because it is the main link in the process which culminates in their reabsorption into the dominant cultural models. On the whole, mass media are then considered as an element external to a subculture’s development, whose action comes about only after its emergence.
In new interpretative proposals mass media are instead considered as inextricably involved in the meaning and organization of youth cultures. Youth cultures do not exist first as autonomous entities and then as mass media representations: mass media do not simply portray subcultures but rather take part in their development. The very sense of authenticity is thus strongly promoted by the mass media, insofar as the subculture’s members acquire a sense of self and their relations with the rest of society from the way they are portrayed; and if the mass media may propagate a ‘negative’ image of  a youth culture, it may at the same time play a leading, ‘positive’ role in this culture’s construction and upkeep. Mass media constructs then youth cultures at least to the same extent as it documents them, so too do the mass media promote youth cultures as much as they distort them. In addition, the relationship of youth cultures with the mass media is influenced by the images which these latter structures develop of the youth cultures themselves, as well as more generally by how they appear in the wider social context in which they move.
Bearing in mind these different interpretative perspective, aim of the paper is to analyse the distinctive traits of youth cultures’ media representations in the Italian context. The paper is based on research focussed on two youth cultures – graffiti and skateboarding – chosen because of the public debate they caused on the basis of their impact on urban social contexts. The analysis considers the evolution of their representation in two of the main Italian newspapers, La stampa and La repubblica through a quantitative text analysis approach with diachronic perspective. Investigating the entire corpus of articles entitled to these two practices which have been published on each newspaper, on the basis of previous empirical research on these phenomena, paper aims at identifying which traits the two newspapers adopted as most characterising.

Turgut Keskintürk (Boğaziçi University)

Religious Belief Alignment: An Equilibrium Model of Cultural Formation from Adolescence to Emerging Adulthood

This article presents an equilibrium model of belief alignment. In this model, cultural beliefs are formed in earlier periods of life-course and remain relatively stable afterwards. Drawing from sociological theories of belief constraint and network methods, I present the formation and organization of cultural belief systems as central channels that facilitate this stabilization. Since cultural beliefs form webs of implications that become more connected with similar experiences until an equilibrium point is reached, correlations between beliefs should become stronger and the level of change in the structure of personal culture should decrease with age. Using four waves of nationally representative data from the National Study of Youth and Religion, I test these propositions through an analysis of religious belief networks from adolescence to emerging adulthood. I find strong evidence for the belief alignment model. In particular, the results suggest that cognitive mapping of cultural beliefs should place more emphasis on the developmental dynamics of cultural formation.

Margita Sundstedt, Rasmus Isomaa & Pia Kurkiala- Nyman (Åbo Akademi University)

Self- esteem and sexual satisfaction among young women in Finland. Correlations between self-esteem and satisfaction in aspects of sex life, and body image

The effects of young people’s self-esteem in different aspects of their lives have, for a long, time been a subject of scientific interest. Self-esteem is an important part of mental health, and today’s challenges with young people’s poor mental health in Finland are several. Among the most important developmental tasks of adolescence and young adulthood are coming to terms with a changing body and making sense of yourself as a sexual being. High self-esteem might serve as a protective factor against mental health problems and foster selfexploration. On the other hand, high self-esteem is connected to early sexual activity. The connections between sexual behaviour and self-esteem are not only complex, but also understudied. More research is needed to understand how self-esteem impacts sexual satisfaction and sexual behaviour, but also how sexuality-related factors impact self exteem.
Aim. The aim of this study was to investigate possible connections between level of self- esteem and sexual satisfaction in women aged 18 ˗ 29. In addition, a potential connection between the women’s satisfaction with their own body and the level of the sexual satisfaction was examined.Data from 684 online questionnaires was gathered from a random sample of heterosexual women aged 18−29 in Finland. The level of sexual satisfaction was measured with the BSSI (Brief Sexual Satisfaction Inventory) encompassing seven items from the validated FSFI scale (Female Sexual Function Index) and the Cronbachs α for the BSSI was 0.82. Self-esteem was measured with RSES (Rosenberg self- esteem scale).
According to the results of correlations between total score RSES and sexual satisfaction as well as body image item level analyses some main outcomes was gathered. A positive correlation was found between having a feeling of being generally happy with oneself and to be sexually satisfied. However, the study did not show any significant correlations between the level of sexual satisfaction and expressing oneself as a worthless and unsuccessful person. Accordingly, the positive correlation between self-esteem and sexual satisfaction does not indicate that high self-esteem automatically leads to a good sex life for young women. Nevertheless, there was a pretty strong positive correlation between self-esteem and being satisfied with one’s own body. Young women who experienced that they were valuable persons with a number of good qualities simultaneously reported a positive attitude to their own bodies. A positive correlation was found between being satisfied with oneself and believing that one’s sexpartner experienced one as sexually attractive. Connections were also found between reporting high on self-esteem and feeling that one is good at sex. Based on these findings, good self-esteem in young women seems to correlate with pleasant experiences in sex life, mostly due to aspects of one’s own body image. More research is needed about young women and their experiences in their sex lives in connection to their body images and thoughts about women’s bodies in general.

Session 4

Caterina Satta (University of Cagliari)

Playing with body rules and roles through creative playing cards: An experimental study with middle school children

Working creatively with children is becoming something of a mantra in childhood studies.  Techniques and tools are flourishing, parallel to a thriving publishing market of books and articles collecting and analysing these techniques (Greig, Taylor, MacKay 2007; Farrell 2005; Kellett 2005), which rely on the shared assumption that children are a peculiar research subject. Special attention and care are also expected of childhood researchers who carry out social research with children. One of the most critical points to address is the transitory nature of the otherness of children — i.e. the child is “other” as long as he/she is a child — and in transition — the child is in the midst of a phase of growth, and the features of his/her otherness are continuously changing and, therefore, redefining childhood. However, though some research techniques may be considered more appropriate for use with children, nothing is “imperative”. Shifts in childhood studies have suggested that the age-based child/adult distinction should not be taken for granted, and it is most important to consider whether the particular methods used are appropriate for the people involved, the social contexts and for the kinds of research questions posed (Christenen, James 2008).
This proposal is framed within this debate and aims to discuss the preliminary results of a study on children’s experiences, visions and points of view on fashion, dress and aesthetic models conducted in an Italian middle school, involving 30 children in the first grade of middle school (11–12 years old). The aim was to understand their experiences with, and narratives of, their body images as conveyed through dress in different contexts of daily life (i.e.: at home, with peers, during social activities, at school or in the urban space). The study was conducted using a mixed-method approach, including playing with creative cards, writing and telling stories, and engaging in collective peer discussion solicited by the researcher. The age group taken into consideration is challenging because it is situated on the border between childhood and teenagehood; creative cards proved useful to elicit their views.
Looking at clothing in the world of children is an attempt to consider their bodies from their perspective — in other words, not from the moral adult perspective, increasingly alarmist and worried about children’s consumption habits and the commodification of childhood (Cook 2004; 2008). Investigating dress as situated bodily practice is indeed a powerful means not only because human beings “have bodies and they are bodies”, but because they are also “dressed bodies” (Entwistle 2015). At the same time, what is appropriate, shocking or subversive is not universal but a matter of debate. The cultural significance of dress changes across contexts and times, from culture to culture, within a culture, and between generations.
Results show that children of this age (generally called “tweens”) have a complex understanding of the meaning and the value of dress they use to construct and present their selves. They play with clothes as a way of “ageing up” (Pilcher 2013), distinguishing themselves from younger children and to mark gender identity. However, their bodies are subjected to a set of moral prescriptions that hinder them from freely experimenting with new ways of making and expressing their self-identity. Children’s engagement with clothing is more than a passive practice of consumption but plays a central role in the construction of intergenerational relations.

Lidija Terek (University of Novi Sad)

The Transformation of Young People’s Violent Behaviour  in Serbian Cinematography over Four Decades

Although youth violence is one of the burning problems in Serbian society, it is impossible to analyze it in a historical context to better understand how it has transformed over the years, due to insufficient scientific data. However, as social conditions are a frequent topic of Serbian cinematography, by analyzing films that have addressed the issue of violent behaviour of young people in recent decades, we can have a better insight into this problem. Although films do not contain objective information, they may reveal the characteristics of the change in youth behaviour.
The paper is aiming to determine how the violent behaviour of young people, portrayed in Serbian cinematography, has changed over the past four decades, by answering the questions whether there has been a transformation in the forms and intensity of violence among young people depicted in films, in which context violence occurs in them, and how they illustrate society’s response to the violent behaviour of young people. Through this kind of analysis, we can gain insight into whether young people’s violent behaviour and the attitude of society towards it has changed significantly over forty years.
In the research, we analyzed the content of four films and two series of domestic cinematography published between 1977 and 2012, which address the topic of youth violence. Since we assume that the collapse of the value system, due to the crisis and wars in the former Yugoslavia in the early 1990s, affected the way violence is represented in films, we included three pre-war and three post-war achievements in the analysis. During the content analysis, we focused on the characteristics of portrayed violence among young people, the context in which violence occurs, and the societal response to violence. Each category was divided into several subcategories, for which we developed indicators.
The results confirmed that the social climate in Serbia during the wars in the 1990s had a major impact on the way youth violence was portrayed in films. Drastic differences were observed in all three categories of analysis. In films released before the wars, the socially neglected young people are acting violently, mostly in conflict situations. The forms of violence are of lower intensity, such as swearing, insulting and physical assaults. Bullies, in addition to the punishment the state imposes on them, are stigmatized and rejected by the community. On the other hand, in films released after the wars, violence is depicted as a daily occurrence among young people of different socio-psychological traits. They resort to violence not only in conflict situations but also for fun. Violence is of greater intensity, such as blackmailing, threats and use of weapons, and society is portrayed as incapable and powerless, but also disinterested in dealing with this problem.

Ingmar Zalewski (University of Kassel)

Ethnography of an Evolving Relationship: A Fieldwork Project with Unaccompanied Syrian Refugee Youth in Germany

Engaged in a long-term fieldwork with unaccompanied Syrian refugee youth in the German context of my phd-project, I am working on an ethnography of relationships. In my talk I want to outline this methodological approach and its potentials for researching youth at the margins.
Within the sociology of youth, ethnography is a strong and demanding methodological tool to research young people’s lives. What makes a qualitative study in the field ‘ethnographic’ is first and foremost the researcher’s personal involvement and the willingness to establish trustworthy relationships to the participating youth (Pfadenhauer, 2005). Although the researcher-participant-relationship is at the core of long standing debates on the ethnographic method (Clifford et al., 2009), seldom it is made a major investigation itself. In my project, ethnography not only allowed me to gain insights from an insider’s point of view, but my research-relationships turned out to be of interest in its own right – and eventually became the actual phenomena of the ethnographic study. This was due to several reasons:
I decided for a long-term highly engaging fieldwork incorporating ethics from participatory research (Bergold & Thomas, 2012). Within four years time relationships could be established, maintained and moved on from acquaintances to more complex forms of friendships in a safe, continuous and trustworthy setting. Thereby the fields high emotional demands crossed with my readiness to give myself up to these dynamics. To cope I started to devote extra space to my own feelings and thoughts within my fieldnotes and wrote extensive research diaries. Also I joined ethnographic supervision to gain a deeper understanding of my interactions and role-taking in contact with the Syrian youth (Bonz et al., 2017). This way, many possibilities of an ‘ethnography of the relationship’ opened up. This may well connect to forms of autoethnography researching own inner worlds (Ellis et al., 2011). Beyond this, my focus lies not exclusively on self-experiences, however. Also I am not conducting ‘relational ethnography’ putting emphasis on various external relationships in the field (Desmond, 2014). I am straightforwardly researching the relationship between me and unaccompanied Syrian refugee youth as they developed shortly after their arrival in Germany in 2016 lasting up to today.
Based on first empirical results, I will discuss the methodological and ethical implications of this form of an ethnographic study.
Bergold, J., & Thomas, S. (2012). Participatory Research Methods: A Methodological Approach in Motion. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 13 (1), Art. 30.
Bonz, J., Eisch-Angus, K., Hamm, M., & Sülzle, A. (Eds.). (2017). Ethnografie und Deutung: Gruppensupervision als Methode reflexiven Forschens. Springer VS.
Clifford, J., Marcus, G. E., & Fortuny, K. (Eds.). (2009). Writing Culture: The Poetics and Politics of Ethnography. University of California Press.
Desmond, M. (2014). Relational Ethnography. Theory and Society, 43 (5), 547–579.
Ellis, C., Adams, T. E., & Bochner, A. P. (2011). Autoethnography: An Overview. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 12 (1), Art. 10.
Pfadenhauer, M. (2005). Ethnography of Scenes: Towards a Sociological Life-world Analysis of (Post-traditional) Community-building. Forum Qualitative Sozialforschung / Forum: Qualitative Social Research, 6 (3), Art. 43.

Session 5

Sanna Aaltonen (University of Eastern Finland)

Transitions in the context of intergenerational relations

This presentation examines transitions into adulthood in the context of intergenerational relations. The focus is on young people’s perceptions of how familial relations inform, support or constrain their transitions in education and working life. This perspective goes beyond treating young people as a generation defined by their age and shared societal circumstances. Instead, intergenerational relations and structures are highlighted as a central context where feasible futures are imagined and both material and cultural class advantage and disadvantage transmitted. The broad context for analyzing transitions and intergenerational relations is Finland, a Nordic welfare state where the learning outcomes are internationally recognised but the NEET -rate is relatively high. The specific focus in the presentation is first, on young people with working class background and often anticipating themselves a working class career and second, on young people on the margins who struggle with finding a place in education or working life. The experiences of transitions and familial relations, intergenerational changes and continuities are explored via drawing upon qualitative datasets produced in Finnish research projects that utilize biographical and cross-generational perspectives.

Sinikka Aapola-Kari (Finnish Youth Research Network), Tarja Tolonen (University of Helsinki), Päivi Armila (University of Eastern Finland), Kaisa Vehkalahti (University of Oulu)

Talking about the family – Young people’s diverse family relations in Finland

In this paper, we explore Finnish young people’s diverse descriptions of  their family relations. Family has not been a very popular subject within youth studies, nor have young people’s perspectives been very much present in family research, and thus there is a need for research looking at the realm of the family from a youth sociological perspective.
The analysis is based on data derived from a longitudinal qualitative research project ‘Youth in time’.  In this project, we follow ca. 100 young people’s life paths during their emerging adulthood years. The project consists of multiple research themes, including family relations. In the research data, young people born in year 2000 and originating from five different research sites around Finland, discuss their families from various perspectives. In this paper, we concentrate on young people coming from four research sites, namely the capital region in Southern Finland, the Oulu region in Northern Finland and small communities from Central Finland and Eastern Finland. The data for this analysis consists of hundreds of interviews, including a substantial sub-sample of young people from multicultural families. Most of the young people come from nuclear families, but there are also many young people from divorced and re-formed families.
The theoretical framework of our scrutiny is based, on one hand, on Bourdieu-inspired conceptualizations of families as bases for multiple social, cultural and material resources, and on the other hand, on recent family sociological discussions about families as formed in historical and cultural contexts. Families can be defined as ways of depicting and interpreting social relations and practices.
In our paper, we analyze how young people depict their families, who they see as belonging in their family, how they relate to their family members, what kind of bounds, routines and practices are linked to their family lives and what kind of emotions are at play. We look at the culturally diverse understandings of family relations and how we as researchers have discussed this topic with the young participants.
Our analysis is based on an approach inspired by narrative analysis and discourse analysis. We utilize an intersectional approach. The results will show the diversity of families from young people’s perspective. We chart their descriptions and meaning-making in relation to the family and family relations, family-related practices and significant events in their families. Our results bring out young people’s various perspectives concerning their childhood families. We can also find out the kind of changes they discern in their family relations as they get older. Our results bring out young people’s various perspectives concerning their childhood families. This is significant for youth and family sociology discussions, as well as for many actors working in the youth field and/ or social work, as well as youth policy makers.

Dragan Stanojević & Aleksandar Tomašević (University of Belgrade)

Housing and family trajectories of young adults in five welfare regime countries

The aim of the presentation is to analyse the gender differences in three interconnected domains: 1. housing and 2. family transitions among the young and young adults in five countries: Sweden, Germany, United Kingdom, Italy and Serbia, representing the Social-democratic, Conservative, Liberal, Southern (Mediterranean) and Post-socialist models of welfare regimes. Certain studies (Pollock, 2006; Aisenbrey, Fasang, 2020) have already perceived a complex relationship between housing independence, family formation and employment trajectories in different countries and welfare regimes (Gornick, Meyers, 2004; Walther, et al, 2002). Based on the latest available cross-sectional data, we will address three research topics: 1. types of trajectories among young adults across different welfare regimes in Europe, 2. country / welfare regimes differences of these trajectories; and 3. differences in housing, work and family trajectories between young males and females.
To deal with these issues the sequence analysis will be used (Abbott 1995), as it proved to be a useful tool for understanding the whole structure and regularities of life events. Our analysis will follow two major steps: 1. we will use the sequence analysis and the cluster analysis in order to find and compare different groups of housing-work-family trajectories across five European countries, and 2. we will examine the effect of gender on trajectory types (Aisenbrey, Fasang, 2020). The analysis will be based on the 9th round of European Social Survey data and the module Timing of life that includes the indicators on the age when respondents finished their education, got the first job, started to live independently, got married / started to live with a partner and got a child.
The findings show that welfare regimes have an impact on the gender specific trajectories and indicate that social policies affect the pace and order of life events. The results confirm previous studies that identify the Social-democratic model as the most gender-balanced, and Post-socialist as highly gender discriminatory.

Session 6

Sebastiano Benasso (University of Genova), Valentina Cuzzocrea (Università di Cagliari)

Generation Z in Italy through its symbols: a case study of trap and influencers

Scholarly work on so-called Generation Z, by which we mean those young people born after 1995, is still limited. Generation Z is, in one way, the real generation of young people today, but several conceptual nodes remain to explore. For what concerns in particular the Italian context,  many contradictions emerge between the ways in which Generation Z is, on the one hand, represented in public arenas and popular discourses and, on the other, the issues that it faces when we look at socio-economic indicators. Focusing on this latter, we recently defined this generation as one living in a ‘soap bubble’ (Benasso and Cuzzocrea 2019) to convey the idea that structural difficulties may  be partially invisible at this stage, when this youth is under strong protection of educational institutions and, above all, families.
However, only a piece of the picture is reconstructed in this way. In this presentation, we aim at reconstructing another, complementary facet of the same picture, investigating Generation Z ambitions, lifestyles and role models. We do this through a discussion of their idols, which we identify as those defining the music genre of trap, and those who have paved the way for a new style of communication and lifestyle sharing, i.e. influencers’ work. Theoretically, we depart from the concept of generation, widely used today to study young people, in order to assess what is distinctive of Generation Z. Then we use the contraposition of ‘arts of resistance’ with ‘arts of existence’ as proposed by the Portuguese Ferreira (2016), reflecting on the shift towards the second to discuss the peculiar expressive strategies of Generation Z. In this way we are able to disentangle a value horizon and retrace it within the very same expectations that are societally reversed on them. Drawing on variegate material (you tube video, music videoclips and so on) we investigate this ‘generation’ trying to go beyond the confusion that the labels attached to them may generate.
Benasso, S., Cuzzocrea, V. (2019) ‘Generation Z in Italy: living in a soap bubble’, in ‘Generation Z in Europe,’ edited by S Scholz and A Redding, Emerald.
Ferreira, V. (2016) Aesthetics of Youth Scenes: From Arts of Resistance to Arts of Existence, Young, 24(1) 66–81

Smiljka Tomanovic (University of Belgrade)

Ambivalence in intergenerational family relationships among young adults living in parental home in Serbia

Recent studies show that living in parental home is the most common arrangement among single young adults age over 25 in Serbia. It is a consequence of several factors: structural – high economic dependence of young people and unavailability of affordable housing and state supported housing schemes and social assistance; cultural – prolonged living in parental home is legitimate practice within Southern European transition to adulthood pattern with central significance of family formation and high relevance of interfamilial solidarity, while there is also precarious economic and social status of both generations – parental and the young that is reinforcing interdependence.
The paper explores the narratives of 27 young people (15 males and 12 females) who live with their parents, among 50 interviewed thirty-year old singles. The interview covered, among many others, the topics related to mutual expectations between young adults and their parents. The analysis points at high ambivalence in perception of those expectations and also of one’s own situation. On one hand, young people comply with relations of interdependence and family solidarity. On the other hand, at the age of 30, they also long for independent life, while their parents expect from them to start their own family. I would explore how ambivalent expectations are related to young person’s gender and material situation, and also whether they produce intergenerational conflicts and how are those resolved.

Dan Woodman (University of Melbourne)

Beyond Generational Conflict or Class Continuity: A Sociology of Generations for the Asset Economy

The housing crisis, rise of insecure work, and many recent political events have been interpreted through the lens of generational conflict. Influential voices counter that a focus on generations obscures continuing inequalities, particularly related to class. The study of youth is central to efforts to understanding continuity and change and the reproduction of inequality and there are longstanding debates about how to account for class and generation in shaping young people’s lives in the context of social change, including recent calls for a greater focus on political economy in the sociological study of youth. This presentation considers these debates in the context of the rise of the asset economy (the growing importance of assets to economic stratification), developing a generational framework for conceptualising young adulthood and shifting intergenerational relations in this context. Using data from the Life Patterns project, a two generation longitudinal study of the transitions to adulthood in Australia, I propose that the shifting interaction of income, assets and family transfers reshapes young lives but not in a way that creates youth as a precarious class position or generation in conflict with the generation of their parents. Instead, access to family assets in young adulthood is of increasing importance for navigating contemporary insecurities and accessing opportunities. The conditions faced by many young people are conditions in which the relative rewards for types of speculation on the future are heightened for some young people. The rise of the asset economy is central to the changing life chances between generations at a societal level (and potentially encourages generational conflict at this level) but simultaneously enhances the importance of intergenerational solidarities and transfers within the family.

Session 7

Michela Franceschelli (UCL)

Imagined mobilities and the materiality of migration: the search for ‘anchored lives’ in post-recession Europe

The dichotomy between mobility and migration became a disputed conceptual distinction during the expansion of European Free Movement between the 1990s and early 2000s. Then, mobility literature sought to open a new chapter in the study of contemporary human lives by theorising them as ‘liquid’ and suggesting movement as their universalising feature. Intra-European migrants have been increasingly characterised by their ‘mobility spirit’ and therefore as legally unconstrained, driven by individualised behaviours and engaged in temporary cross-border movements. Set in the backdrop of post-recession intra-European migration, this paper explores how migrants’ mobility spirit is being negotiated with the need to anchor their lives to stable relationships and to the attainment of financial security. It draws on interviews conducted with Italian young adults in London and shows how imagined projects of temporary mobility materialize into longer-term migration experiences where the search for anchored rather than liquid lives becomes more prominent. Henceforth, the analysis challenges the typified profile of EU movers by pointing at their quest for social and financial stability and by exposing their personal vulnerabilities while making the theoretical distinction between migration and mobility less relevant.

Raili Nugin (Tallinn University)

Broadening the prism of rural studies – interrelatedness of school, community and mobilities

Rural youth has been predominantly studied from the perspective of out-migration. Rural areas need youth segment (especially the ones who move out for study purposes), to ensure sustainable development and demographic growth of the area. Thus, several researchers have been asking how to attract young people to return to rural areas after their studies in urban areas. However, most of such research has concentrated on the motives and perspectives of young people alone. While considering this research angle crucial and valuable in understanding youth’s out-migration, this presentation calls for adding an angle that has been somewhat overlooked so far – the role of school in general and the interrelatedness of school mobilities and community development. It is hardly any surprise that school, shops and other facilities determine the routes of the community and school is often an important factor why young families choose to move in (or stay) in the countryside. However, not much attention has been paid to how school mobilities influence community relations, and, what community mobility practices can be influenced by schools’ besides the children’s route to school and back. The presentation argues that by concentrating only on young people while researching out-migration entails a risk of neglecting some of the important aspects of rural mobilities and migration. In addition, when concentrating only on young people living in rural areas, there is a risk to disregard the ones who decide to move in their later stages of life though they have never lived in the area.
The presented study concentrates on fieldwork done in several Estonian rural areas during 2018-2020. The fieldwork focused on interviews with different members of rural communities – parents and grandparents; and included stayers (those who had never moved out), returners (those who had moved out but returned in some stages of their lives), leavers (those who lived outside the home area but kept commuting there) and in-migrants. The fieldwork is done in three rural areas and consists of 60 informants. In addition, backdrop information is used from social media and mass media.
I will argue that methodologically, it would be fruitful to include intergenerational, communal and mobility aspects when studying rural youth’s out-migration. There are mainly two aspects that remain overlooked when concentrating on interviewing (or conducting surveys) only young people. Firstly, young people’s migration decisions can be influenced by their mobility practices at an early age that are predominantly decided by their parents and surrounding community. Thus, the parents’ perspective and motivations and possibilities form an important input in youth’s mobility practices. Secondly, often the returners and in-migrants are not young any more (i.e are not included in surveys or interviews) – people return or move to rural areas when they have kids or are about to have kids. Hence, intergenerational and community relationships should be studied from the broader perspective as well, along with analysing young people’s dispositions.

Kaisa Vehkalahti & Helena Pennanen (University of Oulu)

Places of Belonging, Places of Detachment. Placemaking and Historical Consciousness in Contemporary Finnish Rural Youth.

This paper seeks to open new perspectives to the role that history has in rural young people’s commitment to their local communities and in their identity construction. The presentation focuses on Northern Finnish rural young people in the transition phase from compulsory to upper secondary school. Attention will be paid to the role that local cultures and history, as well as generational binds play in their life choices. The paper contributes to current theorization on rural young people’s mobilities and transfer to adulthood by placing the current development in a longer historical continuum and by highlighting the interplay of history and belonging in the construction of rural identities. Questions of belonging will be approached from the perspective of historical consciousness. This means analyzing on one hand, how local and family traditions affect the life choices of rural young people, and on the other, how young people view themselves in relation to these traditions, generations and historical landscape.
The paper is based on two on-going studies with contemporary rural young people from Central and Northern Finland: Rural Generations on the Move. Cultural History of Rural Youth, 1950–2020 (Finnish Academy, 2019–2024) involves a five year qualitative follow-up of rural young people in Central Finland. The young people were contacted for the first time on their last grade of the Finnish compulsory school, in the age of fifteen. Northern Rural Youth in Flux (University of Oulu, 2018–2022) focuses on the everyday life and constructions of girlhood in Finnish Sámi homeland. The study involves both indigenous and non-indigenous girls from the age group of 15-17 years. The data consists mainly of interviews, some of which have been generated by using photo-elicitation and life-line methods.

Session 8

Jeanette Østergaard (VIVE – The Danish National Center for Social Research) & Rachel Thomson (University of Sussex)

The Changing Rhythms of Everyday Life: Recalibrating Three-generation Families During the COVID-19 Crisis

This study investigates how everyday life and relations between three-generation family members are disrupted and adapted during a historical crisis caused by the coronavirus. The crisis is universal but has affected Danish families in diverse ways — both isolating and forcing generations together. Currently, we do not know how profound and long-term these changes will be nor the impacts they will have on the economic, cultural, social and ontological security of the Danish population. In this study, we examine the short-term consequences of the disruption of everyday practices (expectations and routines) on family dynamics and individuals’ life course. In the months (April-June 2020) after the WHO declared C-19 a global pandemic that saw Denmark enter a lockdown on March 11, 2020, we conducted 90 telephone interviews of which 50 interviews were with young people aged 24, 28 interviews were with their parents and 12 interviews were with their grandparents. The purpose of the three-generational study was study how three generations experienced new ways of interacting and organising family life. We asked the participants: what was difficult, what was no longer possible, what was new in relation to everyday life and what were their future prospective actions as individuals as well as families. All three generations thus described how quarantine conditions (physical distancing, hygiene, cancelled events, missed chances, closed shops etc.) changed their everyday life routines, how they made everyday life bearable and what were their hopes and fears for the future. In this paper, we will examine how three-generation families changed their rhythm of everyday life arise from physical distancing and self-isolation, and how the accumulation of these changes recalibrate patterns of their social life and affected their mental well-being. The interviews with young people is building on an existing longitudinal study called Open-ended Transition financed by the Independent Research Fund, Denmark, and they were previously interviewed in 2013, 2015 and 2018. The interviews with parents and grandparents conducted during the 2020 lockdown was part of the project ‘Life without guarantee’, supported by the Louis Hansen Foundation and VIVE.

Krystyna Szafraniec (Nicolaus Copernicus University)

Life orientations in the mirror of social changes. The cross-lagged analysis based on a 45 years longitudinal generational study

Life orientations, defined as a set of relatively persistent goals and life aspirations giving to our activity a basic direction and sense, are the result of the impact of many factors – socialization processes, age, breakthrough events, social reality and historical circumstances (with its opportunities, limitations, turning points). Shaped in early youth, they tend to persist, becoming either an element activating social changes or quite opposite – a source of socio-political tensions. This is the main reason why sociologists study life orientations, and the topic itself is something that brings sociologists of youth and sociologists of social change closer.
When we observe life orientations in a survey, we do not know if they are the effect of age, cohort or socio-historical context. We also do not know if they are permanent or changeable and whether this fact results with specific consequences for the individual life strategies, political preferences, civic behaviour, and finally for the way in which society is changing.
I want to present some empirical data which are a contribution to the answer to these questions. They illustrate (on the example of Poland) the complex process of social changes taking place in Central and Eastern Europe, where the socialization and generational aspects are the important component of changes (and a good medium to observe and understand them better).
The main questions relate to the following issues: What do older and younger generations strive for – what is important for them today? Are their preferences different or similar? Do the life orientations of the young generation resemble the life orientations of their parents when they were their age? What is more important in shaping these similarities/ differences – the fact of different generational experiences, age / stage of life, or maybe a socio-cultural and political context?
The analyzes refer to empirical data collected in 45-year longitudinal study, where the life courses of two generations (parents – today at the age of 60 and children – today at the age of 35) were observed. The research, carried out according to the scheme of a three-fold dynamic study, allows to conduct cross-lagged analyses, which give the chance to specify the so-called. effect of age, cohort and context/ time. The data note the life orientations captured in the studies of 1978, 1988, 1998 and 2016 when sociological interviews with representatives of these two generations have been carried out.
Analyzes reveal effective socialization to the value of material success (in both generations) and departing from it (in favor of familiar and ethos orientations), when opportunities to individual activity have been structurally blocked. The different generational rhythm of these processes (involving the different stages of their lives) makes the young generation more lost and more politically risky than older generation.

Dominika Winogrodzka & Justyna Sarnowska (SWPS University of Social Sciences and Humanities)

Exploring duality of time. Combining Social Sequence Analysis with Qualitative Longitudinal Analysis using the example of mobile youth transitions

This paper contributes advances to temporal forms of analysis in Qualitative Longitudinal Research by offering the interplay of two complementary methods of analysis: Social Sequence Analysis (SSA) and Qualitative Longitudinal Analysis (QLA), answering “a need for a mobile transitions framework, primarily the greater regard for spatio-temporal complexity and fragmentation of both ‘youth transition’ and ‘migrancy’”(Robertson et al., 2018: 206).
Both SSA and QLA are suitable to study life trajectories; they both consider how life unfolds from one point in time to another. Both take time into account, but they do so in different ways so we can capture a “duality of time” – time as chronology and time as a social construction. SSA views time in a linear manner, from past to present to future, measured by a clock or calendar. QLA takes time in a flexible, non-prescribed way, in which time can unfold at different tempos and without directionality. SSA is responsible for the objective dimension of educational and career paths, while QLA allows for the capturing of the subjective dimension of a person’s trajectory.
We will demonstrate this approach using the example of youth transitions constructed through time and space. The theoretical and methodological arguments of this paper will be illustrated through cases drawn from the longitudinal research project entitled “Education-to domestic and- foreign labour market transitions of youth: The role of locality, peer group and new media” (2016-2020). Thanks to the combining of SSA and QLA we are able to capture not only the “quantity of change” but also the “quality of change” in the educational and occupational trajectories of young people on the move.