The importance of social origin, gender and education in social science research on emerging female adulthood in Switzerland
Barbara Waldis (University of Applied Sciences and Arts Western Switzerland)
Paper short abstract:
In research about emergent adulthood of young women and men, one main finding is that the opportunities on the way to autonomy differ according to social origin, gender and education. I discuss the intersection and salience of these categories for women in relevant studies in Switzerland.
Paper long abstract:
How young women and men (15-24 years) manage emerging adulthood socially and economically in times of global capitalism is of worldwide concern. Global capitalism simultaneously and in very specific ways facilitates and limits (international) mobility, sharpens or reduces precarious economic situations and social inequality. The opportunities of young women and men on their way to autonomy differ individually according to social and regional origin; gender and education. They also depend on the education and social security systems of a state, its labor market and its capacity to regulate it. How are these general statements, found in many studies on transition, represented in social science studies on youth in Switzerland? This question needs elucidation before I can conduct an ethnographic study in a transnational, urban neighborhood. How do social and regional origin, gender and education on the one hand; education and social security system or labor market on the other hand condition the trajectories of youth? What chances and challenges do youth with different positionality meet? In Switzerland, social science research (education sociology, migration studies, social work studies or sociological studies) on the transition to adulthood sets the focus mainly on the economic transitions of disadvantaged young women and men with a migration background, the integration of unemployed young women and men or economic socialization of youth. For this presentation, I will use an intersectional approach and put women center stage. With this perspective, I analyze some salient research results in Switzerland on resources and dependencies in emerging female adulthood.
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