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Activating the disadvantaged. Variations in addressing youth transitions across Europe

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The term activation refers to a shift in social policies, through which individuals are given more responsibility for their own social inclusion. This article provides a comparative analysis of the different ways in which EU member states interpret and implement the concept of activation by addressing the transitions of disadvantaged young people from school to work. It draws on the findings of an EU-funded 'Thematic Study on Policy Measures for Disadvantaged Youth', which was carried out in 13 EU member states and accession countries. The methodology of the study consisted of literature reviews, secondary analysis of harmonized European and national surveys and statistics and focus group discussions with national and European experts. The analysis does not only distinguish between different models of activation but also discusses the different objectives and outcomes of these models. Differences are discussed against the background of a model of transition regimes, which provides insights into the relationship between path dependency and policy change. Through the analysis it is also possible to specify whether activation implies adaptation to mechanisms of selection in education, training and the labour market, or whether it increases young people's potential to take action in shaping their own biographies (i.e. through participation and lifelong learning).
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Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: Institute for Regional Innovation and Social Research, Germany

Publication date: September 1, 2007

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