Accepted Paper:

Precarious lives: narratives of hope and loss among different generations of Czechs  
Haldis Haukanes (University of Bergen)

Paper long abstract:

On the backdrop of the last decades' "Grand political dramas", this paper examines self-reflections of different generations of Czechs, with particular focus on the relation between professional identity and family relations. Comparing narratives of young Czechs born after 1989 with life histories collected among grown-ups during the 1990's, shifts in what stands out as precarious identity-wise and existentially are pointed out. A significant finding is that members of the youngest generation seem quite confident and optimistic about their future working life. Their main concerns and anxieties are related to disruption of family by divorce, narrated both as experienced pasts and possible futures. In the narratives of the older generations, the nuclear family mainly stands out as a stable and uncomplicated factor in life, while work identities for various reasons appear as ambivalent or - for some of those belonging to the pre-war generation - as fraught with loss and pain.

Panel W008
Recasting pasts and futures: imagination and belonging across generations in Europe