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Chances and choices: patterns of life planning and future orientations among Italian young people

TitleChances and choices: patterns of life planning and future orientations among Italian young people
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2011
AuthorsMerico M
Secondary TitleItalian Journal of Sociology of Education
Date PublishedFebruary 2011
PublisherPadova University Press
Place PublishedPadova, IT
ISSN Number2035-4983
Keywordstransition to adulthood; Italian adolescents; biographical projects; planning skills; restricted sociality

 This paper analyses how Italian young people perceive and construct their own futures, based on in-depth face-to-face interviews and data collected using a questionnaire administered to a sample of upper secondary school students in five Italian cities between 2005 and 2007. The paper opens with a brief review of the recent changes in the transition to adulthood and of the factors that are influencing young people’s temporal horizons and approaches to life planning; it then turns to focus on (life) projects and attitudes towards the future among young Italians. The analysis of the relationship between life planning, life-chances and choices of upper secondary school students confirms that young Italians primarily take a short-term approach to the construction of their biographies and frequently portray their transition to adulthood in a very uncertain fashion. Nevertheless, most of them do not totally reject the challenge of planning their future, and are able to focus on reflexivity, responsibility and autonomy as key issues for managing their own biographical projects.