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Jean-Michel Bonvin

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Jean-Michel Bonvin, Benoît Beuret and Stephan Dahmen

This chapter emphasizes the various possible ways to conceive inequality and disadvantage, as well as the multiplicity of individual, social, economic, cultural, institutional, and so on, dimensions involved. The challenge in terms of public policies is then to select one informational basis of inequality, that is, to identify which dimensions of inequality are to be tackled via public policies and which ones can be discarded as less significant. In this selection process, the participation of vulnerable people, directly affected by disadvantage, makes a huge difference, as it can allow a more adequate identification of the inequalities to be tackled. The chapter sheds light on the complex intricacies between inequality and participation, and emphasizes the prerequisites for a full and effective participation of vulnerable people in the design and implementation of public policies struggling against inequality and disadvantage.

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Stephan Dahmen, Jean-Michel Bonvin and Benoît Beuret

The aim of this chapter is to provide an analysis of the continuity and change in Swiss youth policies. It describes the emergence of new categories of public action and the dynamic interplay of different actors for the institutionalisation of these categories. We argue that the restructuration of youth policies is, in organisational terms, subject to a field of struggle containing both bottom-up and top-down processes. At a conceptual level, we describe this movement as a new form of governance of youth as a life-course phase within a logic of human capital formation. We show that the call for more youth participation in soft policy fields is accompanied by cost containment measures and the hardening of eligibility criteria in different social security fields that affect young people the most. A short comparative glance at other European countries shows that youth policies evolve in accordance with their welfare state regimes, each giving rise to specific problems and voids.

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Hans-Uwe Otto, Valerie Egdell, Jean-Michel Bonvin and Roland Atzmüller

In many European countries, a large number of young people aged 15 to 29 years have challenging and complex educational or labour market experiences. Since the 2008 economic crisis, the situation of young people has again deteriorated dramatically in many European countries and in particular in southern and eastern Europe. Employment and training opportunities have reduced, and levels of poverty and social exclusion have increased, not only, but especially, for young people. Thus, the question is emerging as to whether young people are a group at great risk of becoming, being and staying socially disadvantaged. It is this problem of the social disadvantage of young people in Europe in the aftermath of the economic crisis that this volume focuses upon. After having peaked in the immediate years after the beginning of the financial crisis in 2008 and the subsequent sovereign debt crisis in a range of European countries, the unemployment rate in the EU-28 for the 15 to 19 years age group stood at 24.6 per cent,1 for the 20 to 24 years age group at 19.1 per cent, and at 12.4 per cent for the 25 to 29 years age group.2 With the remarkable exception of Germany, Austria and Switzerland, who experienced a temporary peak of youth unemployment in the years preceding the crisis of 2008 (albeit on levels way below the situation in the so-called European periphery), in most European countries youth unemployment had remained relatively stable since the early 2000s – although a high degree of variation between European member states has to be taken into account.

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Empowering Young People in Disempowering Times

Fighting Inequality Through Capability Oriented Policy

Edited by Hans-Uwe Otto, Valerie Egdell, Jean-Michel Bonvin and Roland Atzmüller

Following the 2008 economic crisis, the situation for young people deteriorated dramatically in many European countries. Employment and training opportunities have reduced, and levels of poverty and social exclusion have increased. This book evaluates both institutional frameworks and programmes as well as the quantitative and qualitative basis of judgements in European youth policies that dominate current strategies. This book evaluates both institutional frameworks and programmes as well as the quantitative and qualitative basis of judgements in European youth policies.
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Giuseppe Acconcia, Roland Atzmüller, Evelyne Baillergeau, Sergio Belda-Miquel, Thierry Berthet, Benoît Beuret, Alejandra Boni Aristizábal, Jean-Michel Bonvin, Enrica Chiappero-Martinetti, Stephan Dahmen, Jan Willem Duyvendak, Valerie Egdell, Anna Kathrine Anna Frørup, Céline Goffette, Helen Graham, Paolo Roberto Graziano, Bettina Haidinger, Niels Rosendal Jensen, Christian Christrup Kjeldsen, Alban Knecht, Thomas Ley, Aurora López-Fogués, Hans-Uwe Otto, Agnese Peruzzi, Robert Raeside, Griet Roets, Rudi Roose, Véronique Simon, Alberta M.C. Spreafico, Hilde van Keer, Caroline Vandekinderen and Josiane Vero

In this chapter, the key messages and policy implications arising from the chapters making up this volume are drawn together. The research demonstrates the need to increase the development of young people’s agency and voice, and to put it at the centre of policy design, implementation and evaluation. Currently young people often feel undermined by not being given the opportunity to be listened to by policy-makers. This volume highlights the value provided by the Capability Approach in offering a framework for addressing youth inequalities that goes beyond current European and national level approaches. The Capability Approach takes a more encompassing view of what is entailed by youth empowerment and participation in society. By applying the Capability Approach, this volume reveals the necessity to develop a more holistic youth policy in which the individual context, as well as the processes and outcomes of youth programmes, are taken into consideration without neglecting heterogeneous values and life aspirations. The goal is to allow genuine individual agency and promote participation and voice instead of imposing predefined goals, and working together among young people and among different levels of administration.