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'Permanently Temping?’ – Education, Labour Markets and Precarious Transitions to Adulthood

Cartwright, Laura (2015) 'Permanently Temping?’ – Education, Labour Markets and Precarious Transitions to Adulthood. PhD thesis, University of Leeds.

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Abstract

Since the late 1970s the UK has undergone a period of substantial economic, political and social change. Fundamental to this has been the rise of ‘neoliberalism’ a political and economic philosophy premised upon the expansion of free markets, deregulation, and a reduced role for the state. The subsequent reformulation of economy and society around such principles has transformed the structures, institutions and processes through which people navigate their lives. Young people must now make decisions and face risks that were largely unheard of only one or two generations ago with significant changes in both education and the labour market having radically altered the transition from school to work. The move towards market-driven ‘mass’ higher education in the UK, alongside a deregulated, flexible and non-unionised labour force driven by an expansion of insecure, temporary and ‘precarious’ forms of work, has impacted upon youth transitions on a number of levels. With an absence of economic security and biographical clarity, the ability to achieve the traditional benchmarks of adulthood (marriage, mortgage and children) is becoming extremely difficult. This study investigates the experiences of a group of young people in order to find out how processes associated with neoliberalism are affecting their lives. By conducting interviews with twenty temporary workers aged between 18 and 30, this study builds up a picture of their transition from compulsory education to further study or employment. The aim here is to understand how they have negotiated the choices available to them, how they feel about the work they do, their experiences of and views on higher education, ‘temping’ and youth labour markets more generally. Ultimately, it uncovers how the precarious and insecure nature of their temporary role impacts on their personal identity, their ambitions, relationships and plans for the future.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Keywords: Youth Transitions, Neoliberalism, Precarious Employment
Academic Units: The University of Leeds > Faculty of Education, Social Sciences and Law (Leeds) > School of Sociology and Social Policy (Leeds)
Depositing User: Mrs Laura Cartwright
Date Deposited: 16 Nov 2015 12:32
Last Modified: 23 May 2016 09:31
URI: http://etheses.whiterose.ac.uk/id/eprint/10757

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