Transitions to Adulthood Through Recession : Youth and Inequality in a European Comparative Perspective book cover
1st Edition

Transitions to Adulthood Through Recession
Youth and Inequality in a European Comparative Perspective

Edited By

Sarah Irwin


Ann Nilsen

ISBN 9780367355074
Published June 4, 2019 by Routledge
220 Pages 14 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

Long-running trends towards increasing inequality between the rich and poor across Europe have been exacerbated by the 2008 global financial crisis and its aftermath. As employment opportunities for young people diminish and as the welfare state is pulled back, pathways to adulthood change and become more difficult to navigate.

Transitions to Adulthood Through Recession consists of a collection of papers by researchers from Britain, Norway, Germany, Portugal, Italy and Greece, locating young people’s transitions to adulthood in their national social, economic and political contexts. It explores young adulthood with reference to generational continuity and change and intergenerational support. With a cross-national comparative framework, this volume highlights the importance of variations in structural contexts for young people’s transitions.

Bringing together authors across sub-disciplines such as the sociology of youth, family and kinship, class and inequality and life-course studies, Transitions to Adulthood Through Recession will appeal to academic social scientists as well as final-year undergraduate and postgraduate students interested in fields such as political science, sociology, youth studies, social policy, anthropology and psychology; and a wider public readership.

Table of Contents



Chapter 1 Understanding Youth Transitions in Difficult Times

Sarah Irwin, Ann Nilsen

Chapter 2 Youth research meets life course terminology: the transition paradigm revisited

Ken Roberts

Chapter 3 Transitions from school to work in Norway and Britain among three family generations of working class men

Julia Brannen, Kristoffer Chelsom Vogt, Ann Nilsen, Abigail Knight

Chapter 4 How parents see their children’s future: education, work and social change in England

Sarah Irwin

Chapter 5 Biography, History and Place: Understanding Youth Transitions in Teesside

Robert MacDonald, Tracy Shildrick

Chapter 6 Social inequality and the transition to education and training: the significance of family background in Germany

Birgit Jentsch, Herwig Reiter

Chapter 7 Youth transitions and generations in Portugal: examining change between baby-boomers and millennials

Nuno Almeida Alves

Chapter 8 Young people and housing transitions: the role of intergenerational support in an Italian working class context

Elena Mattioli, Nicola De Luigi

Chapter 9 Young people, transition to adulthood and recession in Greece: In search of a better future

Alexandros Sakellariou, Alexandra Koronaiou

Chapter 10 Kinship, community and the transition to adulthood – geographical differences and recent changes in European society

Patrick Heady

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Sarah Irwin is Professor of Sociology at the University of Leeds, UK.

Ann Nilsen is Professor of Sociology at the University of Bergen, Norway.


Against the background of the global financial crisis which has left a legacy of political turmoil and a populist surge across Europe, this book could not be more timely. The contributors offer the reader a comparative understanding of youth inequalities in difficult times. Labour market, family transitions and intergenerational relationships are described and explained from a life course perspective and firmly located in an era of increasing social inequality. The editors are to be commended on pulling together such an excellent collection.

Fiona Devine, Head of Alliance Manchester Business School and Professor of Sociology at The University of Manchester, UK

Social change is complicated! This book brilliantly shows and explains how a new generation of young Europeans are living through the consequences of the global financial crisis, recalibrating their expectations and optimising their resources in ways that compound inequality. Empirically robust, theoretically nuanced and rooted in a range of European contexts, this is state of the art youth studies, providing a sense of how we got into this situation, offering the starting point for navigating a more socially just future.

Rachel Thomson, Professor of Childhood & Youth Studies, University of Sussex, UK