Negotiate Overcoming early job-insecurity in Europe

WP2 Negotiating theory


WP2 deals with early job insecurity and labour market exclusion as a theoretical challenge for the social sciences. Its main objectives are to:

  • Develop an original analytical framework for a comparative assessment of the individual and societal consequences of job insecurity early in a career. The analytical framework integrates concepts such as negotiation, agency, capability, empowerment, social resilience, embedded employability, networks, transition regimes, welfare state regimes and multi-level governance. A key interest is how to conceptualise the interactions between the young adults’ agency and structurally given constraints and opportunities, (e.g. how they perceive and use their scope for action through networks and active agency, even in seemingly adverse circumstances) and in what sense young adults’ find ways of negotiating the challenges of prolonged unemployment and job insecurity.
  • Improve our understanding of the role of different institutional arrangements and of the mechanisms leading to substantial variations in the integration of young women and men in the labour market across European countries.
  • Show as well as assess critically what the analytical framework and conceptual tools introduced at the start of the project, have added to previous research on youth unemployment and early job insecurity.

Description of work:

Task 2.1 Conceptual development

Review and summarise the relevant theoretical literature on negotiation, agency, capability, empowerment, social resilience, embedded employability, the role of networks, transition regimes and welfare state regimes. We will assess how these concepts contribute to an understanding of the consequences of early job insecurity for young people and the extent to which young women and men are able to negotiate these conditions and avoid the most adverse consequences of such insecurity. In the conceptual work, we will be particularly attentive to mechanisms of gendered labour market outcomes and patterns of market marginalisation of young people. WP2 will also clarify the notion of ‘early job insecurity’ (compared to related concepts like ‘unemployment’, ‘joblessness’, ‘economic exclusion’ or ‘neither in employment, education nor training, NEET’). The purpose of task 2.1 is to provide a common basis for the empirical work in WPs 3-8 and a conceptual base for the final synthesis.

Lead partner: HiOA-NOVA. Additional participants: UB and UOB. Duration: Months 2-8

NEGOTIATE Working paper No. 2.1: “Understanding the consequences of early job insecurity and labour market exclusion. The interaction of structural conditions, institutions, active agency and capability.” Download paper: NEGOTIATE working paper no D2.1

Task 2.2 Synthesis and integration

Provide a general and gender-sensitive synthesis and integration of the work in WPs 3-8, presenting new insights about the long-term causes and consequences of different individual transition trajectories and ascertain whether the economic crisis has generated diverging or converging outcomes across Europe.

Lead partner: MU. Additional participants: UB and UOB. Duration: Months 24-36

Task 2.3 Understanding the mechanisms

Evaluate critically how the analytical perspective developed as part of task 2.1 may enrich our understanding of the mechanisms shaping cross-country diversity with respect to the implications of experiencing job insecurity or unemployment as a young worker.

Lead partner: UOB. Additional participants: HiOA-NOVA and UB. Duration: Months 24-36



Jacqueline O’Reilly



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