Transitions to Work: masculine identities, youth inequality and labour market change
In this article, the initial transitions of white working-class male post-compulsory school leavers in two British cities are investigated. In the context of economic restructuring, the decline of manufacturing employment, and the rise in young women's educational achievements, it has been argued that poorly educated young men are increasingly disadvantaged in the labour market. Indeed, this may be the first generation of young men in the post-war period that will experience downward mobility compared to their fathers. In an earlier article, the author explored the labour market aspirations of white working-class boys living on peripheral local authority estates in Cambridge and Sheffield and in their final year at school. Despite the decline of manufacturing employment, they hoped to enter typically 'male' jobs in, for example, the car industry in both cities and in the steel industry in Sheffield. In this article, the author explores their labour market experiences in the year since they left school and their sense of themselves as masculine workers in the context of debates emphasising a growing 'crisis' of masculinity.
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