EXPERIENCING SOCIAL TRANSITION AT THE WORKPLACE: HARD TO REACH YOUTH AND THEIR SOCIAL CAPITAL Cover Image
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EXPERIENCING SOCIAL TRANSITION AT THE WORKPLACE: HARD TO REACH YOUTH AND THEIR SOCIAL CAPITAL
EXPERIENCING SOCIAL TRANSITION AT THE WORKPLACE: HARD TO REACH YOUTH AND THEIR SOCIAL CAPITAL

Author(s): Maria-Carmen Pantea
Subject(s): Social Sciences
Published by: Centre for Advanced Study Sofia (CAS)
Keywords: Youth social transitions; work; social capital; social networks:biographical perspective

Summary/Abstract: The research is interested in exploring how young people are experiencing their transition to work in a society that is reforming its institutions and revisiting its values. It looks into the meanings of social capital for young people performing on a precarious border between personal choices, institutional transformations, economic constrains and broader social expectations. In doing this, the concepts of social capital, destandardisation and individualisation of youth transition are instrumental. The research is based on semi-structured biographical interviews with young people from Romania. The research suggests that institutional transitions are experienced as disruptive (for young people escaping through the nets of institutional reforms) and stimulating (for those who, even in a disadvantaged position, are having both the enabling circumstances and the individual agency to embrace unconventional opportunities). The paper argues that for the young persons undertaking semi-skilled jobs, age emerges as a fundamental dimension that shapes the power dynamic in the work place. The analysis confirms there are several underestimated benefits of bonding social ties, even if its possibilities for upward social mobility are minor. However, the paper advises that the tendency to read youth working relations through the lens of affirmative social capital is limiting. In the absence of institutional support that is more likely to generate bridging social capital, young people tend to project such expectations in an authority figure from the workplace. The paper argues that such a process may be simultaneously rewarding and precarious, as it may lead the way for adult misuse of power and influence.

  • Issue Year: 2011
  • Issue No: 4
  • Page Range: 1-32
  • Page Count: 32
  • Language: English