Sociology Days 2016 – The future of the sociological imagination

Ylistönrinne Ylistö Jyväsjärvi silta järvi kesä 2012

Lotta Haikkola, Daria Krivonos, Elina Paju and Lena Näre participated in Sociology Days Conference in the University of Jyväskylä.

Lotta Haikkola and Daria Krivonos chaired a Work and Precarity in a Mobile World workshop and presented their paper “Disrupted Biographies and Uncertain Futures – An Ethnography of Labour Market Activation”. The paper explored how activation measures are experienced by young unemployed migrants in Helsinki, Finland and analysed these experiences in the context of young people’s fragmented school-to-work transitions in post-Fordist societies. Daria and Lotta focused on misrecognition of young migrants’ skills and how nationalist construction of labour market and education in Finland fragments biographies of young migrants.

Daria Krivonos also presented her paper in Sociology of Migration workshop, which was chaired by Lena Näre and Päivi Pirkkalainen. In her paper “Racialised Boundaries of Welfarism and Belonging: Young Unemployed Russians’ Uses of Whiteness in Finland” she talked about the uses of racism by young unemployed Russian-speaking migrants in Helsinki. Daria argued that the construction of spaces of white privilege helps discriminated migrants defend and advance their claims for a better reception vis-à-vis other groups – in particular, claim respected worker identities.

Elina Paju talked about temporalities and dreaming in context of youth activating workshops in her presentation “Deaming the Future: Temporalities, Bodies and Selves in Youth Activating Workshops”.  Elina argued that the practices and ideology of the workshops make a distinction between the body-in-the-present and self-in-the-future. She discussed dreaming as an important practice in the workshops,  which serves to create and govern one’s self as a continuous, linear temporal duration.

In the end of the conference, Lena Näre participated in the panel discussion on Sociology and Migration.

The abstracts of the papers presented in Sociology Days can be found here .

“From welfare to workfare” Workshop in Sociology Days

The annual conference of the Westermarck society ‘Sociology Days’ took place in Helsinki on March, 5-6. Two research projects based at the Department of Social Research, University of Helsinki: Migrant Youth Employment – Politics of Recognition and Boundaries of Belonging (RECOGNITION, 2014-2017) and the Academy of Finland project ‘Insecure Lives – Precarious Labour and Irregular Migration in Finland’ (INSECURE, 2015-2018) organised a workshop ‘From welfare to workfare – Labour and precarity in a mobile world’. The papers presented at the workshop dealt with the issues of precarious migrant employment and workfare reforms in Finland. A member of RECOGNITION project Lotta Haikkola discussed her ethnographic observations in the employment offices in the presentation “Activation on the ground – young clients, activation policies and employment offices”. Lotta’s ethnographic research on young people’s employment

Lotta Haikkola "Activation on the ground – young clients, activation policies and employment offices"

Lotta Haikkola “Activation on the ground – young clients, activation policies and employment offices”

focuses on the neoliberal reforms in Finland, transition from welfare to workfare and activation policies. Lotta showed that the main target of workfare policies is making young people “active” while misrecognising young people’s skills and providing little help in their personal educational paths. Thus, following Lisa Adkins’ comment, she concluded that unemployment and activation policies should be analysed as productive and no longer connected to getting a job in the future. Daria Krivonos in her presentation “Gendered work-citizenship insecurities: from au pair through studying to work” talked about a precarious gendered migrant path of an au pair-student-worker produced by immigration controls. She showed that immigration controls and insecure migrant status channel young female Russian-speaking migrants to precarious work and employment however unappealing it can be for the sake of continuing residency in Finland.  The workshop has shown that there are several researchers working on a similar topic that generated a fruitful discussion at the workshop and created space for further cooperation.

YES Seminar

RECOGNITION project continues Youth, Employment & Society seminar meetings. On the 27th of February, researchers Antti Kivijärvi and Sanna Aaltonen from  the Finnish Youth Research Network presented their results of the ongoing research projects. Antti Kivijärvi’s talk was dedicated to young migrants and ethnic segregation of the labour market. Sanna Aaltonen’s presentation concerned opportunities given by welfare services to unemployed young people.

Workshop “Youth Marginalization – Novel Approaches”

photo 1

Anoop Nayak “White Lines”: Racist Graffiti, Skinhead Youths and Violence in the English Suburbs”

Youth marginalization is a multidimensional, yet under-theorized concept that has generated a lot of attention both in the public and within academic research. A workshop with professor Anoop Nayak (University of Newcastle), which was organized by the project “Migrant Youth Employment – Politics of Recognition and Boundaries of Belonging“, discussed young people’s transition to the labour market and current activation policies aimed at unemployed young people in Finland.

photo 2

Jaana Lähteenmaa “The individualistic ethos embedded in the ideology and practicies of the Youth Guarantee”

The workshop invited several researchers dealing with the question of youth employment. Researchers from Finnish Youth Research Network Sanna Aaltonen and Päivi Berg presented their work on “Negotiations over the counter – service encounters between young people and officials” based on observations in employment offices. They showed how employment services for young people make various categorizations of “proper” youth and young people who are “Not in Education, Employment, or Training” (NEET). Lotta Haikkola (University of Helsinki) presented her preliminary findings of her observations in the employment offices and showed that activation policies may have unintended consequences in producing precarity among young people. In her presentation titled “Lacking control – Young clients, activation policies and the employment office” Lotta Haikkola argued that employment officers also tend to misrecognize the goals and skills of young people seeking employment. Professor Anoop Nayak (University of Newcastle) in his presentation “White Lines”: Racist Graffiti, Skinhead Youths and Violence in the English Suburbs” talked about his ethnographic research on new ethnicities in white English suburbs, which despite their “whiteness” have become a site of racist graffiti, violence and social deprivation. Presentation of Jaana Lähteenmaa (University of Helsinki) “The individualistic ethos embedded in the ideology and practicies of the Youth Guarantee” was based on the analysis of policy documents of the Youth Guarantee, which, according to the presenter, construct young people as passive recepients of the state (adult) measures. Daria Krivonos (University of Helsinki) made a presentation on “Multi-Sited Ethnography of Young Russians’ Employability”. According to her ethnographic research with Russsian youth in Helsinki, young Russians tend to internalize xenophobia and predominantly negative attitudes towards Russians in Finland and constantly negotiate symbolic boundaries between them, Finns and other migrant groups.

The workshop finished with a general discussion of the presentations and the concept of marginalization. The RECOGNITION project also holds a regular seminar on youth employment, where researchers present and discuss their fieldwork and research findings.