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Young people's employment biographies since the Second World War: a longitudinal analysis -PhD Thesis-


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This thesis examines the early employment biographies of young people in Britain since the end of the Second World War. The principal source of data is retrospective employment history data from the British Household Panel Survey. The data is analysed using birth cohorts which facilitates the examination of how the employment situation of young people has changed since the 1940s. This form of analysis is used to contribute to contemporary debates regarding hypothesised increases in risk, uncertainty and the individualization of experiences in late modernity, principally in the work of Ulrich Beck (1992). While evidence is found in support of Beck's thesis, particularly in terms of the rise of forms of underemployment such as part-time employment, short and fixed contracts and the fragmentation of employment biographies, there remain to be significant continuities. Continuities persist in the shape of gendered and class-based employment experiences with clear evidence that there remains to be significant structural barriers that limit the prospects of many, despite the best efforts of these individuals. The individualization perspective is, however, found to be theoretically productive in describing the increasing atomization of experiences in terms of the ways in which people are increasingly forced to make more decisions and be pro-active to a greater extent than previous generations were. This increase in the ways in which people are forced to be active participants in the construction of employment biographies is seen to exist, however, within an institutional structure that continues to stratify employment experiences. As such, versions of individualization which are suggestive of an increasing meritocracy of life chances overemphasise the extent to which an increase in forced choices equates to a greater availability of success.


Sociology Of Labour, Young People, and Labour Market


not held in Res Lib - bibliographic reference only


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