Almost everywhere in Europe, corresponding to transformations in post-industrial societies, transitions from youth to adulthood are becoming prolonged and destandardised, and welfare measures minimised. This in turn puts pressure on parents and young people. Within the group of Southern European countries, Italy is characterised by low levels of welfare provision and reliance on the family as a form of support. However, young adults in Italy constitute a case in its own right for a particularly delayed transition to adulthood. Not only scholars but also the national and international press heavily attack them with the accusation that they have lost freshness and potential in public life. The question is, then, what conditions allow a young Italian to consider himself/herself an adult in the current cultural and social-political scenario? International sociological literature on life cycle agrees in identifying five thresholds which have to be overcome in order to reach adulthood. Among these, we concentrate on obtaining a stable working position and becoming a parent. Findings from our two different research projects strongly converge in criticising the necessity, for the young adults interviewed, to refer to such thresholds. Within a situation of growing contingency, ‘yo-yo’ modalities have been identified to interpret transitions that are not only prolonged and destandardised, but also uncertain and reversible. Pushing further in this direction, our interview material suggests that it may be helpful to reconceptualise the intrinsic value of reflexively ‘passing’ turning points to consider oneself fully adult and to problematise adulthood itself as an unquestionable point of arrival.

Blurred transitions: revisiting the significance of work and parenthood for young adults in Italy

Valentina Cuzzocrea;Sveva Magaraggia
2013

Abstract

Almost everywhere in Europe, corresponding to transformations in post-industrial societies, transitions from youth to adulthood are becoming prolonged and destandardised, and welfare measures minimised. This in turn puts pressure on parents and young people. Within the group of Southern European countries, Italy is characterised by low levels of welfare provision and reliance on the family as a form of support. However, young adults in Italy constitute a case in its own right for a particularly delayed transition to adulthood. Not only scholars but also the national and international press heavily attack them with the accusation that they have lost freshness and potential in public life. The question is, then, what conditions allow a young Italian to consider himself/herself an adult in the current cultural and social-political scenario? International sociological literature on life cycle agrees in identifying five thresholds which have to be overcome in order to reach adulthood. Among these, we concentrate on obtaining a stable working position and becoming a parent. Findings from our two different research projects strongly converge in criticising the necessity, for the young adults interviewed, to refer to such thresholds. Within a situation of growing contingency, ‘yo-yo’ modalities have been identified to interpret transitions that are not only prolonged and destandardised, but also uncertain and reversible. Pushing further in this direction, our interview material suggests that it may be helpful to reconceptualise the intrinsic value of reflexively ‘passing’ turning points to consider oneself fully adult and to problematise adulthood itself as an unquestionable point of arrival.
9781904710943
Transition to adulthood, thresholds, work, parenthood, adulthood
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11584/116817
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