Austerity and Altered Life-Courses: Socio-Political Ruptures to Family, Employment and Housing Biographies Across Europe

Project Details


Austerity has had direct and devastating impacts on young people's life-course biographies across Europe since 2008. This has been particularly acute for those now aged 35 and under, experiencing significant disruption ('socio-political ruptures') throughout their formative years. This includes interconnected impacts on family childbearing decisions, employment opportunities, and housing arrangements. These vary depending on context. To investigate these issues, this project is focused on three European devolved or autonomous regions: Greater Manchester (UK), Barcelona Province (Catalonia, Spain) and Sardinia (Italy).

This project aims to understand how the social life of policy (such as austerity) has impacts that are felt on the ground long after implementation. As a form of redress, this project proposes thinking about austerity not as a point in time, society or space, but as constantly being formed and reshaped, and in dialogue with experiences, histories and futures.

This research will reprise long-term perspectives offered by a life-course approach within geography, with a new methodological twist, and will develop a new approach to understanding policy that considers the 'social life of policy' as spatially and temporally contingent. To advance this agenda, the project is guided by the following research questions:

1. In what ways have young people experienced overlapping socio-political ruptures to their life-courses, according to local austere contexts?
2. How do young people articulate and envision the impacts of these socio-political ruptures on their future biographies?
3. How can life-course perspectives on austerity shape understandings about and applications of the social life of policy?

To address these questions, in-depth creative oral history interviews (100 per site) will be carried out at each site. This will produce a rich, innovative body of data detailing the lived, complex legacies of austerity. With the permission of the participant, edited interviews will be submitted to local public archives in each site and used to develop an exhibition and theatre play. Co-production workshops, drawing on project findings presented via an exhibition in each site and a website, will develop policy recommendations on bringing life-course perspectives and ideas about the social life of policy into regional policies. These will be discussed at policy implementation workshops with the support of partners and attended by policy-makers from various levels of government. The project will also build a community of praxis leading to the first European research and policy network focused on young people's life-course biographies and austerity (ENYPLA).

Academic partners:
Dr Valentina Cuzzocrea (Cagliari University)
Prof. Diana Marre (Autonomous University of Barcelona)

Partner organisation:
Shelter Greater Manchester (national housing charity & campaign)
Orbit, UK (national housing association)
Young Manchester, Greater Manchester (youth support charity)
Inspiring Futures Partnership, Greater Manchester (family, wellbeing & employment support charity)
ABD, Catalonia (social inclusion & welfare charity)
PAH, Catalonia (grassroots housing movement)
TDM 2000 ODV, Sardinia (youth engagement voluntary organisation)

Short titleR:HDG Austerity and Altered
Effective start/end date1/02/2131/01/25

Collaborative partners


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