Learning for precarity: identities and strategies of precarious adolescents with immigrant background
Diana Reiners (Universität Graz)
Gilles Reckinger (Universität Graz)
Paper short abstract:
Structurally disadvantaged adolescents with immigrant background are confronted with steadily increasing inequality on the labour market. Our paper provides ethnographic insights into the coping strategies of disadvantaged adolescents in Austria. These strategies respond to the new premises of capitalism and constitute a socialisation into, and a reproduction of precarity.
Paper long abstract:
Structurally disadvantaged adolescents are confronted with steadily increasing inequality on the labour market. The devalorisation of diplomas, due to stark competition for the rare tangible positions produces a reservoir of precarious young adults / adolescents who find themselves in a paradoxical moratorium which is labelled as temporary but in reality offers few long-term perspectives on the labour market. The contemporary social transformations and the setup of a managerial ethos of the individual life project - whose success depends more and more on social, economical and cultural capitals - reinforce the existing social cleavages. The new employability ideology leads to the individualisation of responsibility for social success or failure. Hence, what is brought about by a macro-social process is masked and thrown back into the realm of individual conscience. Our paper provides ethnographic insights into the coping strategies of disadvantaged adolescents from different immigrant backgrounds in an Austrian city, how they feel about the exigencies of the new capitalism, how they deal with their hopeless social situation and how they manage or do not manage to integrate into precarious forms of labour. We argue that the strategies they develop - relying on family structures, gambling, online sales, delinquent forms of transnational entrepreneurship, illegal trafficking, and frequent changes of unstable employment even across continents - respond to the new premises of capitalism and constitute a socialisation into, and a reproduction of precarity.
Children and migration in Europe: between new citizenships and transnational families