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Veneta Krasteva, Ann McDonnell and Ida Tolgensbakk

Migration is an important phenomenon at both the macro and the micro levels. It shapes national economies as well as individual biographies across Europe, while freedom of movement and residence have been a cornerstone of the EU project from the very beginning. When Europeans move from one place to another, they often travel rather short distances, and the move is often temporary. For many, migration is an episode in early adulthood. This chapter examines the stories of three such temporary migrants and the networks involved in their migration. We utilize a life-course approach to discuss their journey out, as well as their return to the country of origin. What are the subjective consequences of such migration experiences in the specific context of European youth unemployment? Both negative and positive experiences add up and contribute to a fuller picture of the increasingly transnational nature of the lives of young Europeans.

Open access

Kjetil Klette Bøhler, Veneta Krasteva, Jacqueline O’Reilly, Janikke Solstad Vedeler, Rumiana Stoilova and Ida Tolgensbakk

This chapter presents a cross-national qualitative comparison, examining the extent to which the narratives of young Europeans experiencing unemployment and job insecurity have commonalities across nation states. Our starting point is interviews with men and women from three birth cohorts (1950–55, 1970–75 and 1990–95) in seven European countries. Using the concept of big-N narratives, we interpret common themes found in our data. We focus on subjective consequences, using the capability approach to understand how individual actors perceive their challenges, what they are capable of doing and what might help them. The chapter expands on previous work by proposing seven conversion factors as lenses for our analysis: institutional, social, economic, familial, cultural, political and personal. Reading the data through these lenses, four overarching narratives of unemployment emerge: the Stumbler narrative, the Stigmatized narrative, the Great Crisis narrative and the Messy Life narrative.