9th Conference European Sociological Association

RN30 Youth and Generation

2009-09-04 09:00:00 2009-09-04 10:30:00 Friday, 4 September 09:00 - 10:30 Work / Life Balance Parenthood Building II, Auditório B2.04

Work, family and post-graduation: a complex triangle

This paper present results from a research project made in Portugal about master students through the use of interviews and a survey involving 100 between 20 and 35 years old. Based on the discourse and practices of masters' students as well as their socio-demographic characteristics, this paper underlines the most salient features of their temporal experience when accomplishing this degree. The central question is therefore, the following: How can we conceptualize the modes of living that young people adopt when faced with the need to simultaneously manage work, family and educational demands? . The paper starts from the premise that there is a strong element of ambiguity around this mega-social project to create a society of knowledge: people study and stay in education their whole lives while simultaneously they are assuming and conforming to a life project which is not necessarily desirable insofar as they have no certainty or solid guidelines.
Concretely, the central assumption is that the individual times of young people doing Masters degrees are strongly shaped by the need they feel to develop their degree of employability, evidencing their openness to a permanent availability to the labour market by becoming more competitive and demanding from the point of view of familial and personal time paths. In that line of thought, it is also assumed that Masters becomes a life "phase" in which people deposit their hopes and expectations for increased possibilities of regular formal labor, even though having to simultaneously coping with demands coming from family and personal times as well as from professional activities, even being these precarious.