21 tammikuun, 2011

Work-Preca project


WORK-Preca 2008-2012 – Academy of Finland

The changing life-styles and values of the young persisting temporary unemployed in the different labour markets of Finland

This research is concentrated on a new phenomenon, which is becoming common: short-term employment from the viewpoint of changing life-styles, values and future orientation of young adults.

The research group is integrated to the Tampere University, the Department of Social Work Research and Youth Research  programme, which contributes to the improvement of well-being, quality of life and social capital, human security and life management of young people. We are co-operating with the Finnish Youth Research Society, the Yunet -Youth Research University Network and European Youth Studies M.A. EYS  programme. Regular communication will be organized between early career researchers (ECRs) and with the experienced senior researchers of the Steering Committee (SC) and Advisory Board (AB). The sub-studies of this project will be supervised by the experts of the AB and SC.

The project is to be carried out 1.1.2008 – 31.03.2011.

About the project

Recent public discourse and studies of sociological aspects of work and labour market have raised the importance to study the issues of short-term employment and transition periods which are longer and more complicated than before. The notable factor in this new short-term employment phenomenon is that the nature of such employment is not comparable to traditional part-time or temporary employment. For young people’s careers going to work, studying and unemployment no longer create individual life situations that affect their reality and future expectations. After the great recession (in the 1990 ´s) and the recent one the unemployment rates have stayed relatively high especially among young people in Finland. How the younger generation face up this fact – this issue has not been studied properly.

The research will compare the regional differences of young people’s experiences of unemployment in three different regions of Finland: Greater Helsinki area, Tampere area and Lapland. It is important to get information on the life-styles and future-orientations of young people trying to enter the labour -market in different areas. The main research questions of the study are:

1) How do short-term employment and unemployment manifest themselves in young people’s daily lives and life-styles in different parts of Finland?

2) What is the spectrum of the life situations, life-styles,  values, identity-horizons  and future orientations  of the young people working in periodic employment relationships?

3) Is the meaning of work getting new tones or loosing the traditional ones among the ”new un/employed”? We will tackle this question e.g. by reflecting the data with the studies made on the unemployed young people in the times of the recession in the 1990s.

4) Are the ways of belonging to the ”precariat” different from each other in different areas of Finland?

The research consists of three sub-studies with seven different data-sets. On-line surveys and interview-materials are gathered in those above-mentioned different areas of Finland. The interviews will focus on 18- to 29-year-old males and females. The perspectives of the research are multi-scientific and mixed methods will be used. The goldmine of data made up of interviews, ethnographic perceptions and analysis of written materials should make it possible to reflect on and clarify the strengths and nuances of different concepts.

The main results of the research project are two-fold: empirical and theoretical. This research has also a methodological impact, as the phenomenon is studied making comparisons both diachronically and synchronically. Empirically this research will enrich the picture about young people being short term employed or unemployed shorter or longer times in the current labour market. The results will be interesting to set against the facts we have acquired concerning the young unemployed during the period of recession. This research project will provide societally crucial information also to the planning of labour policies and programmes regarding this enlarging group of young adults spending shorter or longer times unemployed. The added value will be in terms of scholarly advancement and policy implications.

Short-term employment, values and problems in transitions to adulthood/Helena Helve and Arseniy Svynarenko

This research is concentrated on a short-term employment from the viewpoint of attitudes, values, future orientations, identity  and life-styles of young people. The research is analyzing the issues of short-term precarious employment and problems in transitions to work of young people.  Transition periods to adulthood seem to be longer and more complicated when the nature of the employment is short term.  An on-line survey measuring work attitudes, values and future orientation and identity horizon of young job seekers among Tampere and Pirkkala area has gathered in 2010 among 16 – 29 year olds. A case study interview data  (N=20) gathered in 2009-2010 among young people working temporarily in tourism in Lapland will give new aspects in young people’s work values, future expectations, identity and careers. The hypothesis is that the short-term and temporary employment is changing the identity, future expectations and work values of young people.  This value shift extends to attitudes towards employment politics and life-styles of young people.
Future orientation and life-expectations of young short-term employed adults/ Marjaana Kojo
This sub-study is investigating future orientation, life-expectations and choices of untrained and vocationally trained young adults trying to enter the labour market. This study focuses on young adults dropped out of the continuous transition from comprehensive school to vocational education and work. These young adults are often in precarious situation and alternate between unemployment, short-term employment and e.g. labour market training. The goal of this study is to find out their life plans and expectations especially concerning work and education and unemployment periods in their life-course.  Data consists of 30 biographical themed interviews and 9 follow up interviews.

The young unemployed from the agency point of view/Jaana Lähteenmaa

This study is investigating the young unemployed peoples’ life-situation and thoughts from the agency-point of view. The research-questions are: how the young unemployed maintain or are in danger of loosing their agency? Which are the structural (social, economical and cultural) preconditions of these processes?

Methodological orientations include both qualitative and quantitative methods, and their combinations. The qualitative analysis method that is used leans on socio-semiotic tradition.

Data includes an Internet survey that was gathered in Spring 2009 (N=770, respondents between 16-29 years). The data also includes long qualitative answers concerning everyday life as unemployed and two qualitative data corpuses gathered during Finland’s former economic recession in the 1990s. Aim is to do certain comparisons between the recessions and investigate the thoughts, feelings and situations of the young unemployed during the two recessions. This all is done from the sociological “agency versus structure” –point of view.


Helve, Helena, Director of the WORK-Preca Project
helena.helve [at] uta.fi

Phone: GSM + 358 50 4201517

Master Course of Youth Work Research

Dept. of Social Work Research
Kalevantie 5
FIN-33014 University of Tampere

Kojo, Marjaana, project reseacher
marjaana.kojo [at] uta.fi

Phone: GSM +358 50 371 9469, 09 3212356

Finnish Youth Research Society
Asemapäällikönkatu 1 (2nd floor)
00520 Helsinki

Lähteenmaa, Jaana , Senior Researcher

UTACAS /University of Tampere

jaana.lahteenmaa [at] uta.fi

Phone: GSM +358 505748396, 03 3551 4019

Institute for Social Research

FIN-33014 University of Tampere

Arseniy Svynarenko, project researcher


Phone: GSM +358 3283465

Dept.  of Social Work Research
33014 University of Tampere


Research Team

Helena Helve is a Professor of Youth Research at the University of Tampere. She is also an Adjunct Professor of Sociology and Comparative Religion at the University of Helsinki. She has been as a research Professor at the University of Kuopio 2004-2008; and she has been a Visiting Research Fellow at the Centre for Longitudinal Studies, Institute of Education, at the University of London. She has been the Coordinator of the Nordic Youth Research of the Nordic Council of Ministers and the President of the Finnish Youth Research Society from 1992 to 2005. She is the previous President of the International Sociological Association, Research Committee of Youth Sociology between 2002 and 2006. She has directed several research projects, such as the Finnish Youth Research 2000 Programme and the Finnish Academy research project, Behind the Scenes of Society (BeSS): Young People, Identity and Social Capital. She has been the editor of the International Bulletin of Youth Research IBYR of Research Committee 34 (Sociology of Youth), International Sociological Association. She has written, co-authored and edited a number of books including ”The World View of Young People” (1993), ”Youth and Life Management: Research Perspectives” with John Bynner (1996), ”Unification and Marginalization of Young People” (1998), ”Rural Young People in Changing Europe” (2000), ”Youth, Citizenship and Empowerment” with Claire Wallace (2001), ”Contemporary Youth Research, Local Expressions and Global Connections” with Gunilla Holm (2005), ”Mixed Methods in Youth research” (2005) and ”Youth and Social Capital” (2007) with John Bynner.

Jaana Lähteenmaa, D.Soc.Sci, has studied sociology and philosophy in the University of Helsinki. Her dissertation topic was late modern youth culture (year 2000). After her doctorate, Lähteenmaa has done for ex. rural studies, and investigated regional inequalities.

Marjaana Kojo, M.Soc.Sc, Doctoral Student of social pedagogy, Department of Social work and Social Pedagogy, University of Kuopio. She has written her master thesis about unemployed young adults and their future orientation

Arseniy Svynarenko, M.Soc.Sc. Doctoral student of sociology. He conducted his research in Finland, Russia and Ukraine. His doctoral thesis is on young people’s civic identities and participation.



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