Youth transitions from education to labour market on the era of global crisis

Puheenjohtaja: Sofia Laine, Tampereen yliopisto / Tampere University

The world faces three enormous spheres of the global crisis today: climate change and ecological breakdown; a systemic crisis of global capitalism and neoliberal economic globalization; and the current global pandemic of COVID-19. As Gills (2020) argues, these three spheres are deeply interrelated and now rapidly interacting, and their combined effects will bring radical systemic global transformation (ibid.). What started as a public health crisis has snowballed into an enormous challenge for global development affecting the prospects of today’s young generation in four dimensions: 1) economic; 2) learning; 3) resilience and health; and 4) safety (United Nations 2020). Serious implications are expected to be most damaging for children and youth in the underdeveloped and developing countries, in the most disadvantaged communities, and for those in already precarious situations. Face-to-face youth services (e.g. schooling, sexual and reproductive health services) have often been suspended. The COVID-19 is having critical repercussions on youth mental health and well-being, their social development, their safety, their privacy, their economic security. School closures have affected at least 1.5 billion children and young people globally (United Nations 2020).

This working group is organized by a research project “What works? Youth transitions from education to employment in the Middle East and North Africa” funded by the Academy of Finland.

Presentations in the working group

“To be or not to be married”: Marriage as Turning Point to Adulthood in Arab Mediterranean countries”

Jose Sanchez-Garcia (Universitat Pompeu Fabra)

Abstract: Several authors stress the significance in transitions to adulthood of three focuses: education, employment and political participation. This triple transition aftermath of the famous tripartite division of the life course: preparation for personal life, professional life, and citizenship. In AMC’s, the delay in accessing social adulthood suffered by young Arabs consigns them to a liminal space in which they are neither children nor independent autonomous adults. In any case, for young people school-to work-transition is the main and decisive step, which very often shapes their whole life. Nevertheless, following diverse authors, marriage is the final objective to achieve social maturity influencing youth’s decision making in AMC’s. The findings of this paper emerge from a dialogue between qualitative and quantitative data collected during the period 2015-2016 in the framework of SAHWA Project. Some questions emerge. What is the capability of Arab youths to decide about the orientation of their trajectories? Which are the factors (cultural, family, socioeconomic, educational, etc.) creating and shaping the expectations of young people about their transition from parental family to a family of their own? How do the changes in the transition to adulthood impact on the emergence of new cultural trends and values among Arab youths? And finally, how do young live the contradiction between current economic exclusion of youth and the cultural requirements to be consider an adult in the region?

Women’s journey from unemployment and violence to traditional social roles in employment

Hamida Jridi (CAWTAR)

Abstract: In the current state of the world, and the repercussions of the pandemic, many services have seen an unprecedented pause. Business owners, employees and big companies have all had to readjust their professional choices according to the new rules (social distancing, lockdown for months, wearing masks, working from home). New paths and unusual practices of everyday life and in the workplace or around it have become the new “normal” in many people’s lives. While exploring the different effects and repercussions of the pandemic and the measures taken to mitigate it, the work in Tunisia has been focused on the shadow pandemic of violence against women. When the violence rate increased and the calls for help reached an all-time high in the country, the focus shifted towards the work all of the facilities that provide any and all support services for women victims of violence. The priority was also to investigate the ways these entities could empower women economically, and offer them the needed technical and material tools to reach financial independence in order to emancipate themselves from the violent environments around them. Through interviews with staff in the shelters, counseling centers and especially training centers providing support, the data showed the possibilities the women have in front of them when they are transitioning from unemployment to employment, from education to employment or from unemployment to one of the training options they offer before orienting them in employment or entrepreneurial adventures. However, in the data collected, these different forms of professional transitions are in many cases influenced by social norms and on the division of labor based on traditional ideas of gender roles. The presentation will focus on this aspect of the transition which influences the path of the women during and after her “transit” in these entities.

“We are never going back to normal.” Reflecting the values of home and home country during the Covid-19 lockdown phase through young Tunisian’s experiences

Fatma Jabbari (Carter School for Peace and Conflict Resolution) & Sofia Laine (Tampereen yliopisto)

Abstract: This paper analyses through a case-study 11 young Tunisians’ experiences of the covid-19 lockdown phase, both from their personal living conditions as well as their societal reflections of the changes in their home country. Methodologically the study has been conducted in three continents, underlying the global citizenship perspective in the setting, and interviewed young adults’ professionalism in the Technology sector. The theoretical framework comes originally from Iris Marion Young’s four values of home, developed by many feminists, here referred to Allison Weirs concept development. These four values – safety, individuation, privacy and preservation – work here as lenses to reflect the historical global lockdown phase and its effects. Similarly to what Young (2005) states in her positive reflection on the functions of home, also our interviewees described in the interviews much more the liberating potential that home and quarantine has offered to their professional growth and identity work - as active subjects – especially when their professional identity intertwines with IT-technology and as the lockdown era highly relies on this technology, it can be seen that this “new normal” is the momentum of our interviewees.

In our radical adaptation of the concept of home, in analysing interviewees reflections on societal changes in their home country during the lockdown, the study shows how evident the lockdown was for safety reasons, simultaneously the lockdown has increased domestic violence and caused additional homework load especially to the females. From the perspective of individuation, Tunisian society has also adapted to the new situation by expanding remote working, online teaching and studying, but also switching the business to online as much as possible. The interviewees reflected in the interviews that they have found it positive that finally the government is seriously thinking about online alternatives to diversity of societal issues.