6 Young People of the ‘Austere Period’: Mechanisms and Effects of Inequality over Time in Portugal

  • Magda Nico
  • Nuno de Almeida Alves


At least since the Children of the Great Recession (Elder 1974), the long-term negative effects of deprivation, poverty, insecurity, and an abrupt and sharp decline in well-being in childhood or early adulthood have been documented and acknowledged. But it is also important to remember that the context of the times, along with geographical and political variations, is highly relevant to any understanding of these effects. This notion provides one of the theoretical premises of our chapter. The life course research principle of the importance of cultural and historical location to the examination of young people’s lives is particularly important to the Portuguese context. Due to its peripheral positioning—both geographical and social—and the current post-Global Financial Crisis (GFC) context of what could be considered the blunt force of austerity, Portugal constitutes a rich observatory for an understanding of how transitions to adulthood, especially school-to-work transitions, operate amid socially stratified dynamics. It is to be noted, in particular, that life courses are both incorporated into and formed by the historical times and places in which they are lived and experienced (Elder et al. 2002, pp. 11–14). This is even more so in the case of children and young people, whose options are limited, both objectively and subjectively, from an early ‘start’. A period of crisis such as that precipitated by the 2008–2009 GFC illustrates, in this sense, the inescapable ‘historicality of the individual’ (Abbott 2005).


Labour Market Young People Parental Home Labour Force Survey Temporary Employment 
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© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Magda Nico
    • 1
  • Nuno de Almeida Alves
    • 1
  1. 1.University Institute of LisbonLisbonPortugal

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