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Universitat Autnoma de Barcelona

Barcelona 2012 | Itineraries and Identities in an internationalization context

The global economic crisis and its political and social effects on Europe and some North-African countries, provide new angles from which to analyse young people's position, their itineraries, and their role in society.

Labour market reforms, deregulation and greater flexibility of employment conditions have resulted in less job security, greater individualization of employment relations and greater difficulties for young people trying to get a stable job. Young people, struggling to maintain or improve on the social status of the previous generation, deal with living conditions that are more difficult than those of their parents. They also run a higher risk of being left out when political decisions are taken in response to the current crisis of capitalism.

The forms of political representation and the living conditions of these age groups are under question, however: new forms of collective action are appearing that reveal more about their discontent. Though this discontent is not exclusive to the young or a homogeneous phenomenon, they are at the forefront. Young people are tending to recover a public and political protagonism that they had apparently abandoned, and for which they are being called on to try out new forms of expression and action: occupying public squares, creating web-based platforms and permanent forums to debate and exchange ideas, and building citizens' social networks.

The simultaneous economic and political crises have led to a situation in which young people are making their presence felt, especially in Southern Europe and North Africa. All this is at the heart of the VI Conference on Young People and Societies, which gives priority to comparative studies analysing the role of youth in our society, the internationalisation processes they are actively contributing to, and youth protests as an indicator of broader changes in intergenerational relations and in the social construction of age groups. It is hoped that presentations at the Conference can also contribute to reflections on the following topics:

1. Identities, Flows and Mobility
2. Education, Work and Transitions
3. Participation, Politics and Social Movements
4. Transitions into adulthood and Intergenerational Relations
5. Youth Policies in the Euro-Mediterranean Region