Flexibility refers first of all to labour market demands; post fordist economy demands a high degree of flexibility of workers and employees.
They should be able and willing to be flexible upwards by acquiring further qualifications; downwards by complying with changing needs of the enterprise and sideward by becoming geographically mobile, if needed. Therefore youth trajectories become more destandardized “yoyo trajectories”.
The demands of society to be flexible and behave flexibly are partly internalized by the (young) people and partly resisted. One might say the better educated the persons are, the more capacity and readiness they have for economic flexibility. On the other hand, it is precisely those people who have the most ambitious plans and agendas and struggle hard to harmonize, as for instance young parents have to, professional and private obligations. Recently a new policy approach is launched: flexicurity in order to compensate for the negative effects of extreme flexi demands. It combines flexibility with at least minimal financial (and other) security (see also mobility; learning; negotiation; social exclusion/inclusion). (MdBR)
Diepstraten, I., du Bois-Reymond, Manuela, & Vinken, Henk (2006 i.p.) Trendsetting Learning Biographies: concepts of navigating through late modern life. Journal of Youth Studies, Nr. 3.
López Blasco, Andreu, McNeish, Wallace & Walther, Andreas (eds.) (2003) Young People and Contradictions of Inclusion. Towards Integrated Transition Policies in Europe. Bristol: the Policy Press.
Sennett, R. (2004). Respect. The Formation of Character in a World of Inequality. London: Penguin books.
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