Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Valentina Cuzzocrea presents a working paper on 'Moratoria or waithood? Revisiting forms of time taking in the transition to adulthood'

Youth transitions literature takes as a central theme the procrastination in the assumption of adults role, departing from Erikson’s concept of ‘psychological moratorium’ (1968). That young people find themselves taking time before embarking on definite routes, or while doing so, has in fact been seen as a constitutive element of transition to adulthood, whether in erratic forms devoted to experimentation or under more institutionalised or middle class oriented shapes, such as gap years’ spent travelling. However, such a developmental need enters in contrast with institutional demands related to the imperative of becoming fit for work’, mainly through obtaining more qualifications and skills considered essential to meet the challenges of employment, and ultimately embody a model of ‘active citizenship’ (Rosa et al 2016). But how do the two contrasting demands come to terms with each other in the experience of youth? Confronting the concept of psychologic moratorium (and its developmens) with a wider literature on social acceleration, where an emphasis on active citizenship and employability can be located, this paper seeks to revisit the meaning of moratoria and contrast it with different forms of youth time taking. It does so by discussing a Sardinian case study, where forms of time taking also take the shape of ‘waithood’, but more generally seeks to engage with broader political underpinnings of these findings.

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