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No Easy Road: School-to-work transitions between politics and the market
Umeå University, Faculty of Teacher Education, Child and Youth Education, Special Education, and Counselling.ORCID iD: 0000-0002-5791-081X
2007 (English)In: Presented at the European Conference on Educational Research, Ghent 19-21 september, 2007Conference paper (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

People about to make educational and vocational decisions today are faced with a far more complex and demanding task than 20-25 years ago. Individuals thus encounter rapid changes in society and especially in working life at the same time as they themselves must make long term decisions and extensive commitments in education and training. The risks of making the wrong decisions are high. In Sweden, a considerable proportion of young adults, in particular those with incomplete education and lack of social capital, are more or less excluded from or have very weak links to the labour market. Here, as well as in other European countries, a growing jungle of school-to-work initiatives and youth unemployment programs has emerged in the 20th and 21st centuries, engaging a multitude of public and private actors (Hansson & Lundahl 2004; Nilsson & Lundahl, forthcoming).In general, political decisions have been decentralized from the central State to local actors in the last decades. In Sweden and the other Nordic countries, the local political governments have received comparatively more responsibilities than in other countries, but there is a common tendency of local fragmentation even in these countries, which is not least visible in education, youth and labour market matters (Bogason 1996, 2000; Hudson & Lidström 2004; Hansson & Lundahl 2004).This paper aims at identifiying and critically analysing central and local policies and strategies of preparation and support for school-to-work transitions in contemporary Sweden with some comparisons with other European countries. The following questions are addressed: To what extent are young people´s knowledge and insights into the complex landscape of labour market and higher education possibilities a matter of political consideration? Which approach is taken to the wild-growing market of private services and offers in this respect? How may local differences in policies and strategies be explained? The paper emanates from an ongoing research project on career decisions from the individuals´and political perspectives, and earlier research on young people in local youth employment programs (Lundahl 2002; Hansson & Lundahl 2004; Nilsson & Lundahl forthcoming). It departs from theory of local governance in late modernity (Bogason 1996, 2000) and education in different welfare states (c.f. Arnesen & Lundahl 2006).National survey data, policy documents and interviews with local politicians and officials in 12 Swedish municipalities representing widely varying socioeconomic and demographic conditions are used.Based on our earlier research and preliminary analyses, considerable variation between local political authorities in adressing and managing the questions outlined above are expected. Such differences may be related to (1) socioeconomic characteristics of the municipality, (2) demographic characteristics, (3) local political rule, (4) individual and group factors, e.g. the occurance of individual actors who are particularly committed to the matters concerned, working relations, and networks.Arnesen, A-L & Lundahl, L (2006). Still Social and Democratic? Inclusive Education Policies in the Nordic Welfare States. Scandinavian Journal of Educational Research 50(3), 285-300. Bogason, P.(Ed) (1996). New Modes of Local Political Organizing: Local Government Fragmentation in Scandinavia. Commack: Nova Sciences Publishers, Inc. Bogason, P. (2000). Public Policy and Local Governance. Institutions in Postmodern Society. Cheltenham: Edward Elgar. Hansson, K & Lundahl, L (2004). Youth Politics and local constructions of youth. British Journal of Sociology of Education, 25 (2), 161-178.Hudson, C. & Lidström, A., eds (2002). Local Education Politics. Comparing Sweden and Britain. Basingstoke: Palgrave. Lundahl, L (2002). Local Youth Projects: Political Rethoric and Strategies. The Swedish Case. Social Policy and Society, 1 (3), 247-255. Nilsson, G & Lundahl, L. Everyone after his own fashion. Perspectives on Swedish Career Guidance Policies (submitted)

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Pedagogical Work
URN: urn:nbn:se:umu:diva-7272OAI: diva2:146943
Available from: 2008-01-08 Created: 2008-01-08 Last updated: 2015-02-05Bibliographically approved

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