The Precarious Generation: A Political Economy of Young People, 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Precarious Generation

A Political Economy of Young People, 1st Edition

By Judith Bessant, Rys Farthing, Rob Watts


228 pages | 15 B/W Illus.

CHOICE 2018 Outstanding Academic Title Award Winner
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This book draws on a wealth of evidence including young people’s own stories, to document how they are now faring in increasingly unequal societies like America, Britain, Australia, France and Spain. It points to systematic generational inequality as those born since 1980 become the first generation to have a lower standard of living than previous generations. While governments and experts typically explain this by referring to globalization, new technologies, or young people’s deficits, the authors of this book offer a new political economy of generations, which identifies the central role played by governments promoting neoliberal policies that exacerbate existing social inequalities based on age, ethnicity, gender and class. The book is a must read for social science students, human service workers and policy-makers and indeed for anyone interested in understanding the impact of government policy over the last 40 years on young people.

Table of Contents


1. The State of Play: How Young People are Faring.

2. A Political Economy of Generations

3. Neoliberal Social Policy and Young People

4. Inter-Generational Equity and Justice

5. Broken Promise: Human Capital Theory, Education and Work

6. Penalizing the Young and the Justice System

7. Young People Making Sense of It

8. Taking Action: Young People and Politics

9. A New Intergenerational Contract


About the Authors

Judith Bessant is a Professor in the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies at RMIT University, Australia.

Rys Farthing is a consultant based in London, UK.

Rob Watts is a Professor in the School of Global, Urban and Social Studies at RMIT University, Australia.

About the Series

Routledge Advances in Sociology

This series presents cutting-edge developments and debates within the field of sociology. It provides a broad range of case studies and the latest theoretical perspectives, while covering a variety of topics, theories and issues from around the world. It is not confined to any particular school of thought.

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General