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T.Re.Se.G.Y. - Transnational research on second generation youth

A joint transnational research proyect of DiSA, Lunaria, CIIMU, Colectivo IOÉ, CIES, CEAA-UFP, AROFE, UU-FSW and FDCL: Towards the social construction of an European youth: the experience of inclusion and exclusion in the public sphere among second generation migrated teenagers [more].

T.Re.Se.G.Y. - Transnational research on second generation youth is and EU funded project under FP6 program. Project's framework instrument is STREP - Specific Targeted Research Project.

Towards the social construction of an European youth: the experience of inclusion and exclusion in the public sphere among second generation migrated teenagers.

Research Topic: The social construction of inequalities in European societies: a comparative approach to second generation migrated teenagers' experience of perceiving and accessing material and non-material resources available in the public sphere.

Project's mission statement:This project aims to explore the life experiences of second generation migrated teenagers in nine different local urban areas among six national contexts. This target group represents an important challenge for the EU and its member states. Their social and cultural location and representation varies dramatically within different European host societies. From this perspective, the proposed project aims to evaluate and compare the different structural, cultural, economic and socio-political factors that contribute to: - The organization and orientation of socio-economic exclusion/inclusion phenomena among these groups in the public sphere - The perceptions and the construction of the target group's degree of inclusion or belonging to their receiving societies and their relation to EU oriented values and principles.

In first instance, the understanding of these processes is a significant mirror of how a society organizes and implements its own rules, principles, values and socio-political instruments within an inclusion/exclusion perspective and secondly how the comprehension of these differences provides an opportunity to clarify the historical processes and socio-cultural, economic and political dynamics that govern local and national European contexts.

The project aims to employ an ethnographic and "emic" approach in order to focus on the perspectives of social actors. In this way, we expect to achieve two main goals: firstly, to understand the shift between institutional dimensions on the one hand and teenagers' perceptions and expectations concerning their access to public material and non material resources on the other. In the second instance, it will be possible to compare and to assess different national contexts and to provide a better insight into the positive and negative social factors that are at work in different national political systems. This will allow us to map out and examine useful social patterns in order to implement the construction of an European society based on equal accessibility to material and non material resources.

Scientific and technological objectives

To outline at the national level all the different historical, political, economic, and social factors that have contributed to the immigration phenomenon and the rise of second generation migrants as a potentially excluded group. In this way it will be possible to create an empirically solid and multi-layered overview that might function as reference point and background for more detailed ethnographic and actor-centered data collection. A transnational approach, in the sense of developing a comparison between experiences from different European countries, is the employed to assure that it will be possible to frame a micro socio-cultural context within macro-historical and social phenomena, and to approach the collection of information from a broad perspective toward a more specific perspective. It will allow us to take into account specific local factors that might contribute to a differentiation of particular from the universal. Ethnic and national origins might be an important determinant in the structuring and interplaying of these multi-level components, especially as the topic is addressed in the project.

To carry out an in depth analysis based upon an ethnographic and case study based approach about second generation migrated teenagers experiences of social exclusion and (or) inclusion. The ways in which these young individuals perceive, socially construct and represent their condition in relation to their belonging (partially or fully) to a different social category, is one of the priorities of the objective. In addition the ways in which teenagers react behave and react in the public sphere while pursuing the social landmarks of personal, symbolic and material affirmations and realizations will be considered. The core of the project therefore consists in an in depth analysis of a given local urban context in order to draw a comprehensive portrait of second generation migrated teenagers. The differeing reflections, expectations and strategies that are adopted in order to achieve positive and profitable statuses in local societies will be explored. Furthermore, by focusing on the actor's perspectives it will be possible to analyze the processes that generate incomprehension, misunderstanding and non-communication between teenagers and local educational, vocational and employment agencies and institutions. We are especially interested in the shift from being a teen towards adulthood (manhood in most cases) with the responsibilities, duties, and commitments that this shift implies. There is always a gap between the expected results or achievable goals of social planning and the expectations of the addressed and targeted population. Through an approach based upon direct interaction with informants it will be possible to analyze the processes of production and reproduction (in their multi-layered structures) of social and economic exclusion generated by and via these issues. Sometimes social planning and social politics, when directed towards a very wide range of the addressee population, might not find successful results and achievements due to locally significant factors. Sometimes it is not possible to reach all of the projected population due to political factors, or perhaps because the intervention is not well implemented economically or well promoted culturally; sometimes such interventions are not accepted by a part of the target population because they contrast with the norms, values and principles of the original migrant cultures. This is particularly important in the case of second generation migrated teenagers where a balance between what they aspire to be - a person more or less integrated to the open society - and the importance of the values of their original cultures must be found. This often problematic situation is illustrated by the social and symbolic links and dependencies which connect them to their parents and other first generation migrants.

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To carry out a transnational analysis of research material produced in the first two stages of the research project. After having collected and produced a broadly structured base of information about how, in a certain local context and in relation with the major relevant domains at national level, the social phenomena of exclusion and the reproduction of inequalities are generated, controlled and (or) reinforced, it will be possible to outline a series of outcomes that will be helpful in clarifying many comparative elements among the different local field sites. Moving outwards from an account of a well-defined and precise area of investigation, all of the possible parameters and indicators will be put into focus and analyzed. Subsequently all of this data will be compared and examined in conjunction with data coming from direct experience and input generated by informants and the social actors themselves. This approach will lead to a final point in which the intrinsically heuristic aspects of the project will become more obvious. Furthermore the shift from the universal to the particular and back to the universal seems to guarantee an acceptable rationale and coherence in conducting a transnational cross comparison of these contextually different case studies. This difference between the universal and the particular represents both an area of potential risk and the most specific value added and impact oriented aspects of the project. However it should be taken into account that the final aim of the project and the commitment of the research team as a whole is to comprehend the paths and patterns that might be generalized and could produce useful insights both for our understanding of these emergent and complicating phenomena and for social institutions that at local, national and international level are committed to produce politics, planning and interventions which are both sensible and capable of improving the standards of living and to target all categories of social stratification in European societies.

Case Studies description and location

The research project core refers to a multi-sited ethnographic approach. The local settings for TRESEGY project belong to six different countries where migration and the appearance of second generation migration phenomena are differentially organized and distributed in both spatial and historical terms. This should be kept in mind if a comparison of different case studies is addressed and if some conclusion concerning the potential positive aspects are expected as the result of a cross-cutting analysis. In particular we suggest that the north-south geographical axis of the network might be very interesting to be taken into account. Mediterranean countries and northern European countries offer very different historical case studies of the rise, growth and integration of second generation migrants. As mentioned before, the ethnic and national factors are also important in relation to the historical determinants and might help to articulate a deeper analysis. It will be possible to quantify and qualify the processes that operate and determine, at a local level, the productive material and non-material social circuits in which second generation migrated teenagers are primarily involved.

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