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Unemployed Youth and Social Exclusion in Europe

Learning for Inclusion?

Susan Warner Weil

Ashgate 2005. 230 s. ISBN 0-7546-4130-9
Bogomtale fra forlaget.

This book confronts readers with questions emerging from the ‘gap’ between EU aspirations to reduce youth unemployment without increasing social exclusion – and what is actually happening in practice. Aimed at a diverse readership, it is based on a three year European Union (EU) project into education, training, guidance and employment (ETG) programmes for young adults across six countries. Insights are grounded in the lives and stories of disadvantaged young adults, and of those who work with them, bringing to life unintended impacts of well intended interventions. The authors consider the influence of shifting political and pedagogical ideologies in the EU on local practices and young peoples’ lives and choices. They also consider the impact of policy and performance management discourses ‘on the ground’. This work uses rigorous yet innovative narrative forms to invite readers into a ‘whole system’ inquiry into these complexities. Unemployed Youth and Social Exclusion in Europe will make an important contribution to reflecting critically on current policy and practice, as well as to academic understandings of unemployed youth, and restrictive and reflexive approaches to learning for inclusion across Europe.


Contents
Foreword, Karen Evans. Encounters: Orientations; The research wellspring for this book; Three starting stories: young Europeans being ‘Activated’ for employment; Youth transition research: changing metaphors and languages in a globalizing world. Lenses On The Shifting Landscape Of ‘Activation’: Activation practices: an emerging topography; Working-identities in (com)motion; Agency, empowerment, and activation: balancing contradictions; Re-vis(ion)ing professional practice with young unemployed adults. Paradoxes And Possibilities: Policy, Practice And Research: Making the bridge: introduction; Ideologies and policy discourses: impacts from ‘On High’ and ‘Afar’; Restrictive and reflexive activation discourses explored; Learning and improvisation at the policy-practice interface; Epilogue; Appendix; Bibliography; Index.
Reviews
‘This book is founded on research undertaken not on, but with young people in Belgium, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Portugal and the United Kingdom. It is unique in the way it presents in-depth qualitative analyses covering 12 very different projects. It opens insights into the views and understandings of the young adults as well as the professionals, and illuminates differences and similarities between the countries as to how they experience and relate to a societal reality ranging from full employment and few young people to huge unemployment and a much bigger youth generation. The book goes further by showing how young people…face a common reality in very different conditions, and how globalization combines with specific localities. It thus presents very concrete evidence of this combination of ‘glocalisation’ as one of the complex conditions that makes young people so vulnerable to marginalization.’ Knud Illeris, Roskilde University, Denmark and Birgitte Simonsen, Danish University of Education, Denmark

‘Mapping the complexity of exclusion and youth unemployment is no easy task. This book helps and challenges us to engage with that complexity while avoiding over-simplistic answers.’ Professor Richard Edwards, University of Stirling, UK

‘The authors have succeeded in the difficult task of producing a book that not only offers empirical insights into the lives of socially excluded young people but one that also provides an innovative theoretical approach. Drawing on several European case studies it offers a fascinating account of the challenges currently facing practitioners, researchers and policy-makers alike. This book is essential reading for students and professionals interested in youth research, policy and practice.’ Dr Mark Cieslik, University of Teesside and Chair of the British Sociological Association Youth Study Group, UK

‘The activation of youth in research and policy domains is complex and difficult territory; yet the authors offer examples and analysis that go well beyond the statements of worthy intent about the importance of the „voice“ of young people. Discussing what is appropriate and what is not appropriate in ‘involvement’ strategies, they bring us full circle to the question of leadership, asking whether the EU is capable of exerting the kinds of leadership that will enable participatory public learning without becoming colonized by dominant technocratic discourses.’ Taken from the Foreword, by Professor Karen Evans, Institute of Education, UK
About the Author/Editor
Susan Warner Weil is a Professor at the University of the West of England, UK. Danny Wildemeersch is a Professor at the University of Leuven, Belgium. Dr Theo Jansen lectures at the University of Nijmegen, The Netherlands.