STREAM 6, FINLAND 2023
World Convention in Finland 2023
Injustice in a World of Uncertainty
Stream 6: Global Crisis as a Generational Experience and the Insecure Futures of the Young and Old
(A hybrid stream of in-person, online and pre-recorded presentations)
#1: Young People and the Sense of Security in the Light of Contemporary Research Literature
Author(s): Dr Susan Eriksson, Senior Researcher in Juvenia Centre of Youth Research and Development at South Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences (Xamk)
Abstract: This presentation deals with how the perceptions of security among young people are handled in international research literature published in two recent decades. Investigation is based on desk study implemented in Finland during 2022-2023 by the Finnish Youth Research Society and Juvenia. The aim of the desk study is to recognise the gaps in domestic (Finnish) research concerning young people and security, the importance of which as a research topic has been acknowledged during the recent times of global crises causing security threats at multiple societal and individual levels.
In the light of the desk study, the research dealing with young peoples' perceptions or sense of security is scarce both domestically and internationally, as most research topics consider security issues only indirectly. However, the studies provide a considerable amount of knowledge on the security threats that face young people particularly. The basic threats are domestic violence and malaise in families often caused by poor socio-economic conditions and substance use, school bullying and other forms of discrimination, unsafe environments, and finally the risks that these severe social problems pose to health and wellbeing of a young person.
It has been striking to see, that many of these threats are being faced by those young people particularly, who identify themselves to belong in a minority according to their ethnic background, sexual orientation, or disability, and those having poor living conditions. The result shows, that the sense of security, being a crucial part of wellbeing of young people, is deficient among those who encounter discrimination and injustice at close spheres of their lives. As that, it can have serious consequences on the individual.
#2:The Social harms of Youth Labour Market Insecurity: Global Youth Welfare in
Author(s): Dr Adam Formby, Senior Lecturer in Social Policy, University of Lincoln, UK
Abstract: Ongoing forms of precarious labour continue to re-shape the trajectories of young people all the over the world. Moreover, extensive forms of labour market insecurity are now normative features of the journey to adulthood (ILO; 2023) – re-shaping how ‘opportunity structures’ are playing out within youth trajectories. These issues are long-standing: in the UK, Ralston and Formby (2020) identify that entry ‘roles’ have become less and less prevalent for all young people, and that young women are significantly disadvantaged in comparison to young men (both in terms of entry level roles and overall occupational position). More globally, ILO have continued to
emphasise that the global response to vulnerable youth throughout Covid-19 went largely unaddressed: as first-time jobseekers, school dropouts, fresh graduates with low skills and young people who remain inactive not by choice were simply disengaged by relevant social protection systems. Specifically, many policy frameworks – with a focus on deregulation, employability and supply-side measures – fail to fully understand the complex relationship between the youth labour market and the production of social harms (Formby, 2023), via the prolonged experience of unemployment, underemployment, insecurity and overall reduced personal autonomy (Pemberton, 2015). This paper will reflect on how different global welfare systems are responding to youth labour market insecurity: focusing on the multiple ways young people are disenfranchised in contemporary labour markets, and how comparative social protection systems – that are designed to help and support young people in finding good work –.often fail to do so in practice.
#3: Reclaiming Intergenerational Futures in the Era of Climate Apocalypse: Reflections from Arts-based Community Research
Author(s): Dr May Chazan, Department of Gender and Social Justice, Trent University, Canada
Abstract: Between 2015 and 2019, through my program of research Aging Activisms, I hosted seven research workshops in Michi Saagiig Anishinaabe territory, in a place known for millennia as Nogojiwanong, which now contains the city of Peterborough, Canada. Each gathering featured cross-cultural, multi-age groups of activists, artists, and organisers taking time to immerse in the slowness of sharing, listening, eating, and creating together – collectively storying activist histories and co-creating community stories, media, and art that intervenes in dominant understandings of ageing futures. This project explores why and how activists of different backgrounds, genders, abilities, and generations work for change throughout their lives, how they connect across time and space, and how they narrate, circulate, and archive their own stories of resistance. In this paper, I specifically explore the parallel themes of climate and ageing anxiety, both premised on fear of finality, which emerged most explicitly from my 2019 arts-based workshop, Imagining Our Futures.
I will also screen a short, personal film, called Dream Beautiful Futures, which I created in 2022 in response to what I am learning in this research. The film (5 min) is about my own process of ageing while parenting a child experiencing intense climate anxiety and eco-grief. I draw on decolonial teachings to explore what it could mean to shift from cultural imaginaries of immanent apocalypse to re-worlding visions of liveable futures.
As media coverage of recent climate mobilisations throws into sharp relief, oversimplified and ageist narratives of culpable or ambivalent elders and hope-giving, future-burdened youngers permeate popular representations of global activism. At the same time, people of all ages are continuously working together for social change in many movements, as well as through quieter everyday work, arts, ceremony, and cultural resurgence. Against a backdrop of upheaval, from climate apocalypse to global pandemic, Ageing Activisms’ work of critically making together across ages invites a collective process of radical imagination in constricted times. It records emergent, co-created stories that tell of, or make possible, futures apart from apocalyptic narratives, fear, and disregard for life; otherworlds rooted in sovereignty, collectivity, connection and intergenerational continuance.
#4: Individual Support, Communal Bridging and Structural Realities - Participation Possibilities for NEET Young People?
Author(s): Dr Mirja Määttä, Dr Sanna Toiviainen and Dr Sanna Aaltonen, Juvenia, South Eastern Finland University of Applied Sciences (Xamk), Finland
Abstract: Young people who are not in education, employment or training (labelled as NEETs) are subject to various interventions aiming to promote their participation in education and working life. To study these interventions, there is a need to combine policy analysis and detailed investigation of day-to-day activities. This case study examines participatory methods of an educational support project for 15–to–24-year-old young people. The project offers a group-based, daily learning environment for young people who have dropped out of education: Open Vocational College where they can study credited modules in vocational studies.
The analysis is based on participant observations and qualitative interviews with 35 students and 5 project workers. Following a sociological interventionist approach, we evaluate the programme theory of the project – the ways it constructs the problems it intends to solve – and the practical activities of the project. We identify three main levels of activities – individual, communal and structural – and analyse what kinds of participation forms these activities open or limit for these NEET young people. Through our analysis we focus on measures that are used to ensure young people’s committed participation in education and labour markets.
#5: The Crisis of State Institutions as Forms of Violent Extremism
Author(s): Dr Marie Kortam, Senior Research Fellow, Fondation Maison des Sciences de l’homme, Paris, France
Abstract: My paper studies the process of radicalisation of Lebanese youth as a process of engagement in violence to respond to a global crisis of leadership in the face of insecurity. Nevertheless, all radicalisation does not take the form of a commitment but sometimes of a rupture. To develop this hypothesis, my paper will be divided into three parts. First, I will examine some of the factors that are fundamental to understanding this phenomenon, such as inequality, racism, discrimination, unemployment and spatial segregation. These aspects coupled with a sense of injustice have widened the gap between the state and the citizens. Next, I will analyse the role of state institutions as a driver of violent extremism and youth engagement in armed groups.
#6: The Young Among Law, Science and Ethics During the Pandemic: A Qualitative Research on Legal Consciousness of Italian Young People
Author(s): Isabella Quadrelli, Università degli Studi di Urbino and Anna Uboldi, Università degli Studi di Torino, Italy
Abstract: This research focuses on youths’ law experience during the pandemic time (Ewick Silbey 1998). Young people have been an invisible category, without any visible and public forms of agency and stigmatised as potential responsible for the spread of the infections.
The research focuses on how the rules were daily implemented, in terms of acceptance, interpretation, negotiation and rejection of them, or of some of their aspects, with a specific gaze on social relations. Discursive interviews, with photo elicitations, are carried out with 70 young people between 18 and 25, students and workers, Italian and with migratory experience, living in different Italian regions.
The attention to the experiences and 'good reasons' - by which young people give meaning and 'justify' their actions- raises deeper and more latent dispositions towards law, but also on scientific knowledge and on the spheres of ethics. The ways of confrontation with the law, as developed and put into practice by the interviewees, can be summarised as different forms of legal consciousness: deference, moderation, translation and claiming. Young people are confronted with the different regulatory orders involved in managing the containment of infections; they have done choices and negotiations in everyday situations that, in various ways, contributed to reproducing, supporting and challenging the hegemonic form of law.
The results can contribute to the reflection on the forms of participation of young people in the reproduction of the social order and on the ways in which law and social policies include or exclude this social category. considering their perspective and their specific needs.
#7: The Kids are Alright: Youth Identity Development and Institutional Crisis Response in the EU During the COVID-19 Pandemic
Author(s): Eric B Hubberstey, Balsillie School of International Affairs, University of Waterloo, Waterloo, Canada
Abstract: The COVID-19 Pandemic has had a far-reaching and disproportionate effect on the lives of youth globally. From education to employment, to mental health, young people have had a uniquely challenging experience throughout the Pandemic. The European Union (EU)’s ability to respond to and manage crises is a significant determinant of public support and credibility amongst citizens. However, an overlooked aspect of study on EU crisis response and management that deserves greater attention is its potential to transform national and supranational identities. While the EU had pre-Pandemic policies targeting youth, this study seeks to understand how these policies changed during the Pandemic.
Applying institutional legitimacy theories and literature on identity formation, this paper addresses the following question: did the EU alter existing, and implement new youth-focused policies during the Pandemic to transform how young people identify with Europe? This study performs a content analysis of EU legislation, directives, budgets, and communiques that deal with institutional-level crisis response and management tools geared towards young people during the Pandemic. These documents will be contrasted to Eurobarometer Surveys from before the Pandemic, and 2021 – 2022 focusing on youth opinions of the EU’s institutional Pandemic response, and Europe as a whole. I argue that a significant aspect of the EU’s Pandemic response works toward fostering the development of a European identity among young people through the increased funding and expansion of projects such as Erasmus +, The European Solidary Corps, and the EU Youth Strategy. These programs provide a support network for young people during the pandemic with an express focus on pan-European solidarity, imagery, and symbolism. This research will fill a clear gap in the literature on not only how crisis response affects youth, but also on the intersection of crisis and policy on identity development.
#8: Social, Economic and Health Consequences of Biopolitical Regulations on Older People inTurkey During the Pandemics
Author(s): Yelda Özen, Ankara Yildirim Beyazit University, Turkey
Abstract: In response to the rapid spread and rising death toll of the COVID-19 pandemic, countries impacted to varying degrees introduced various measures and policies which they subsequently modified, depending on the progression of the pandemic. Among these measures were quarantines, travel bans (domestic/international), curfews, lockdowns, social (physical) distancing and the use of masks. The higher mortality rate among individuals over 65 as well as those with chronic disease(s) led to especially strict precautions to curtail this apparent vulnerability. Turkey identified its first case on March 11th, promptly instating a lockdown for individuals 65 years and older and for those with chronic disease(s) on March 22nd. A curfew was imposed in the 31 largest cities on April 10th on weekends and long weekends (2-4 days), along with a lockdown for those not working and between 21-64 years of age. On May 10th, having been at home for 50 consequential days, individuals 65 and over were allowed to leave their homes for certain hours on Sundays, when even supermarkets were closed due to the curfew and they were the only ones on the streets. In June, those 20 and younger were given an additional day to go out, but over 65s still had the one day. As the number of COVID-19 cases and the related deaths declined, steps were taken on June 1st towards ‘the new normal’ for all but individuals over 65, who were still confined to their homes. While such precautions seemed to have been taken to protect the older population from the devastating effects of the virus, the extended lockdown could lead to many adverse effects such as ageism.
Although the older people were the first to be vaccinated, strict prohibitions for this age group persisted for a long time. In this context, the aim of this study is to understand how older people in Turkey perceive and interpret the COVID-19 related precautions and policies implemented, how their daily life and relationships have been impacted, the challenges they faced, their coping strategies and the solidarity patterns including informal networks that emerged during the lockdown period. To this end, in-depth interviews were be held with older people living in Ankara. The study found that individuals over 65 feel stigmatised, excluded, and discriminated against as possible consequences of the COVID-19 policies. Findings indicates that the pandemics period have economic, social and health consequences for older people in a negative way.