Article i 'Tidsskrift for arbejdsliv' no. 1 2009, page 67-86.
English resume

From school to work

More than just a transition

Christian Helms Jørgensen

Research on school to work transition in Denmark is weak and fragmented, even though it has high political priority to get young people directly through the educational system and into employment. This article reviews this fi eld of research and outlines a coherent framework for research in school to work transitions. It argues for an inclusion of both sides of the field: young people’s choice and handling of risks and opportunities and the institutional framework of their transition processes, the transition regime. This is done first by analyzing some key changes in modern transitions: their prolongation and increased complexity. The paper then outlines some of the shortcomings of the current conceptions of policy and research on transition, especially the notion of a standardized, linear and one-dimensional transition. It is argued that transitions should be conceived of not just as one one-way transition between two well-defi ned states – youth and adulthood – but as multidimensional and non-simultaneous processes with increasingly blurred borders.
A number of the most important historical theories and concepts are discussed and criticized. The shifts between functionalist, rationalist and interpretative conceptions are described, and the problems of either one-sided focus on structure or agency are pointed out. In the last section the question of how to compare national transition regimes is deal with, and a multidimensional approach is outlined. In relation to this some characteristics of the Danish transition regime are elucidated with a special focus on vocational education and training. As a conclusion, the advantages of studying the complete transition process rather than just drop-outs are emphasized.


Tidsskrift for arbejdsliv

(Journal for Working Life)


 

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in Danish frontpage Nyt om arbejdsliv
editor Jørgen Burchardt