Youth Employment Policies: Tackling Meanings and Social Norms within National Contexts

In: Youth and Globalization
María Eugenia Longo Professor at the National Institute of Scientific Research (INRS) Urbanisation Culture Société, Québec, Canada,

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The transnational urgency of tackling youth employment problems has prompted state interventions, which have strongly geared youth policies toward employability. Applying a cognitive and interpretative approach, this article compares youth employment policies in four contexts—France, Canada, Quebec and Argentina—to highlight frames of reference and social norms involved in public action. The results reveal, first, commonalities and differences in public-policy approaches, in terms of goals, targeted populations, solutions, services and tools. Second, beyond policies’ formal characteristics, semantic analysis highlights the major national references and policy directions in the realm of youth employment. Third, the frames of reference show social norms shaping state solidarity and young people’s role in the labour market. The results stem from a documentary analysis of some 100 youth employment policies and programs, as well as interpretative analysis of interviews (N = 20) with experts and coordinators of some of the main policies in each context.

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