Accepted Paper:

'Neet' What?, 'Neet' Where?: empirical evidences and reflections from Novara (Italy)  

Authors:

Michele Fontefrancesco (University of Gastronomic Sciences)
Giacomo Balduzzi (University of Pavia)

Paper short abstract:

The paper reflects on the category "NEET", an emergent device in European politics. Discussing the case of Novara, it frames it within the crisis of Western industrial society and argues for its abandonment in favour of a socially and geographically localised analytical approach to youth.

Paper long abstract:

The paper reflects on the category "NEET", an emergent device (Callon, Millo, & Muniesa, 2007) in European politics for unemployment.

The category was introduced in the late '90s (Blair, 1999) to draw the public attention to the growing number of young adults not in employment, education or training. Since then the use of the category has spread world-wide. However anthropology only marginally investigated it. The paper analyses NEET as a keyword (Williams, 1983), and explores the liminal space that this word rhetorically defines (Carrithers, 2009). While this category does not describe the condition of the young adults but only highlights the personal divergence from a model of cultural and social individual development based on a linear passage from education to work, the paper claims that its a-critical use led to ineffective policies, particularly in terms of social inclusion (McKendrick, Scott, & Sinclair, 2007).

The paper reflects on the Italian policy, focusing on a the case study of Novara. This city in the North of Italy initiated a pilot job placement program for unemployed young adults in 2015 implemented by public institutions and third sector organizations. The program's initial results help to fathom the limits of the category and foster a new heuristic, place-based approach. While the paper frames the rise of NEET category within the broader crisis of the Western industrial social model, it argues for the abandonment of this category in favour of a socially and geographically localised analytical approach to young population.

Panel P080
New trends in the anthropology of unemployment after the economic crisis of 2008-9 [Anthropology of Economy Network]