Dangerous transitions in the 'new West': Youth, work and unemployment in post-Soviet Lithuania

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dc.contributor.author REITER, Herwig
dc.date.accessioned 2009-01-27T10:04:28Z
dc.date.available 2009-01-27T10:04:28Z
dc.date.created 2008 en
dc.date.issued 2008 en
dc.identifier.citation Florence, European University Institute, 2008
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/1814/10437
dc.description Defence date: 14 March 2008 en
dc.description Examining Board: Prof. Jaap Dronkers, EUI (Supervisor) Prof. Marlis Buchmann, University of Zurich Prof. Martin Kohli, EUI Prof. Claire Wallace, University of Aberdeen en
dc.description.abstract Unemployment is one of the most important new features of the post-communist world of work. Following the collapse of the communist regimes, the socio-economic reorientation of these societies towards market democracy brought an end to the 'communist taboo against unemployment' (Baxandall). Apart from organisational matters, unemployment now needs to be dealt with as an integral element of many individual and family biographies, and indicates the re-consideration of criteria of social integration throughout the life course. Young people hold a particularly delicate position in both the transformation of society and the accompanying process of knowledge renewal. First, unemployment has become an additional option in their transition to the world of work, which used to be rather linear. Second, it is largely up to them to negotiate 'old' and 'new' meanings and to carry them into the new society. Against this background, the thesis, a qualitative-empirical exploration, studies emerging notions of work and unemployment among young people in the post-communist context of Lithuania, a country that represents a case of particularly rapid and radical transformation. In line with the two dimensions of unemployment mentioned above, the conceptual frame of reference consists of two sensitising concepts. On the one hand, the now available option of unemployment places young people in a situation of 'biographical uncertainty' (Wohlrab-Sahr). On the other hand, unemployment has become a new dimension of the '(mis)recognition' (Honneth) of a person's status in society. These two main axes of research conceptualise unemployment as an ambivalent moment of 'danger' (Douglas) that accompanies young people on their way to the world of work. Altogether, the study intends to contribute to youth sociology and to research into post-communist transformations. The discussion of the empirical analysis, which is based on 30 in-depth interviews with young Lithuanians in linear and non-linear transitions to working life, is organised into three parts. The first discusses the reconstructed meanings of work and unemployment in the perspective of young people. The presentation of the findings follows the parties in an imagined triangle consisting of the individual, the state, and the 'other' (i.e. the unemployed), as well as their 'relations'. The second part reflects on a snapshot of the currently imagined gender-work relations and their consequences for anticipated family transitions in the perspective of young women revealing the landscape of perceived options. Finally, the third part introduces three patterns of youth transitions to working life (continuation, liberation, and trajectory) together with associated time perspectives of biographical uncertainty. The conclusion reviews the main lines of argumentation against the background of the initial sensitising conceptual frame of reference and identifies issues for further investigation. en
dc.language.iso en en
dc.relation.ispartofseries EUI PhD theses en
dc.relation.ispartofseries Department of Political and Social Sciences en
dc.subject.lcsh Unemployment
dc.subject.lcsh Youth
dc.subject.lcsh Lithuania -- Economic conditions
dc.title Dangerous transitions in the 'new West': Youth, work and unemployment in post-Soviet Lithuania en
dc.type Thesis en
dc.identifier.doi 10.2870/21231
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