» Archive for: March, 2014


downloadThe Research Group on Sociology of Food at the University of Oviedo (Spain) seeks to expand its research on food and eating practices (see for example HERE) with a specific focus on youth.

For this it welcomes applications from senior researchers to develop a research project on Food, Consumption and Youth. The contract would be for a year and includes a € 42,000 salary and € 9,000 for travel expenses. Call for research proposals ends on 30 March 2014.

Candidates should be able to communicate (almost) fluently in Spanish. Further requirements may be requested from Cecilia Díaz-Méndez at: cecilia@uniovi.es

Los candidatos deberán haber obtenido su doctorado en un plazo de 10 años previos al cierre de la convocatoria. Se exceptúan casos de maternidad (un año por hijo hasta un máximo de tres).

  • Deberán haber completado una estancia postdoctoral en un centro de investigación fuera de España de al menos 24 meses.
  • No pueden haber residido en España, trabajando o estudiando por más de 12 meses en los tres años previos al cierre de la convocatoria.
  • Deberán incorporarse a un proyecto de investigación respaldado por un investigador del centro de investigación en Asturias.

 

downloadIn the coming weeks we will be featuring a number of contributions written by course participants of the MA elective ‘ISS-4235 Young People and Work: Theory, Practice, and Policy‘ (for an early post in this series see HERE).

There are many views on minimum wage regulations for young people and especially on youth rates. The ILO encourages its member-states to implement minimum wage regulations for reducing poverty and ensuring social protection (ILO 2013, p: 35). However some countries have a specific minimum wage for young people, a so-called youth rate, next to a general minimum wage. The Netherlands has taken this exercise yet another step further and has minimum wage regulations by age for young people aged 15 through to 22. It is only at age 23 that young people qualify for the adult-level minimum wage.

In the Netherlands the minimum wage for 15 years is € 2.57 per hour (gross, and calculated on the basis of a 40 hrs workweek) and there is 15%-17% increase for subsequent ages till 23. The minimum wage for adults (23 years and older) stands at € 8.57 per hour – more than three times the minimum wage of 15 year olds.

The Dutch Ministry of Social Affairs & Employment justifies this age-based minimum wage because it considers young workers less trained and experienced; their needs are less than those of adults; and because it is feared that high earnings would make work relatively more attractive compared to education (lecture notes ISS-4234, minimum (w)age session; lecturer Karin Astrid Siegmann).

Age-based minimum wage regulations seem favourable to employers and business persons as it allows them to legally exploit the productivity of young people at relatively low costs. This was illuminated in our visit to Albert Heijn, a large Dutch retailer.

We were told that more than 75% of the employees were employed on the basis of short term, fixed contracts and more than 40% of them belong to the age group of 15-18 years. It is noteworthy that various forms of work were done by adults as well as young people (e.g. work at check-out counters), and that there was no age difference in expectations about the performance of this work. Hence, by employing young people instead of adults Albert Heijn appears to cut its salary expenses with no loss of productivity. A situation made possible by Dutch age-based minimum wage regulations.

FNV, a Dutch trade union, has argued against age-based minimum wages as it views it a form of discrimination. It argues that when young people reach the age of majority (18 in the Netherlands) they should qualify for the adult-based minimum wage. Employer’s organizations in Netherlands argue that such a proposal world lead to an increase in youth unemployment. Such a position appears indeed supported by Canadian research on the abolishment of a youth rate, it found ‘some evidence that abolishing…youth rates significantly lowered employment and work hours of 15- to 16-year-olds’. But it also notes cautiously that there are also ‘questions regarding the interpretations of the results’ (Shannon 2011, p: 629).

Coming from India, I strongly feel that there should be protective tools regulating the labour market especially the employment of young people. This includes minimum wages and decent work conditions. Hence, while there is reason to be critical of age-based minimum wage regulations, not having any (effective) minimum wage for young people might still be a worse situation.

Guest contribution by Pranab K. Chanda (ISS MA in Development Studies, major Social Policy for Development)

 

Free Access

Category: research

18 Mar 2014

FREE ACCESS till the end of the month to all articles in the European Journal of Development Research SPECIAL ISSUE ‘Generationing’ Development: Situating Children and Youth in Development Processes.

This is what Nicola Ansell wrote about the collection:

The articles in this special issue present a persuasive case for accounts of development to recognise the integral and fundamental roles played by age and generation (p.283)

The articles in this collection emphasise that young people are worthy of research not simply because they are numerous, have different perspectives and are affected by change differently from adults, but because they play a role, intentionally or otherwise, in economic and social processes of transformation that affect everyone. (p.289).

 

Children & Money

Category: policy| Uncategorized

11 Mar 2014

imagesThis week (10-17 March) is declared ‘Global Money Week‘ by the organisation ‘Child and Youth Finance International‘.

The organisation claims that about 3 million children and over 400 organisations in more than 100 countries will get involved in a range of activities and programmes related to the ‘Global Money Week’, all with the aim of:

empowering young people and getting them involved to reshape finance and their own future

In the Netherlands, the week is linked to a Dutch Ministry of Finance stimulated public-partnership called ‘More knowledgeable about money’ (Wijzer in geldzaken) which includes the component ‘financial education‘ for children.

Why this concern about children and money?

A research report (2013) by the Dutch National Institute for Family Finance Information found that 45% of the 5-year olds in the Netherlands receive pocket money (0,50 Euro per week on average) and 84% of the 11 and 12 year olds (2-3Euro per week). 45% of the surveyed children (all of primary school age; 5-12 year old) would occasionally do tasks for money (such as gardening, tidying, washing cars, etc). 91% of the children receive money through ways other than work or pocket money (e.g. as gifts on particular occasions). 47% of the children have a bank account in their own name and out of these children 45% have their own bank card.

These figures suggests that money takes an important presence in the lives of Dutch primary school children and that they are already engaged in a range of financial institutions and transactions. In that light, a focus on financial education may indeed be appropriated.

However, such figures tell only part of the story. A further story is told by taking a look at the ‘partners‘ behind the Dutch part of the ‘money week’. The presence of banks and insurance companies is striking. The story behind Child and Youth Finance International appears similar. Although they keep their ‘partners and stakeholders‘ elusively hidden behind a search bar, punching in the search term ‘bank’ yields indeed numerous hits. Furthermore, the Citi Foundation is of its main partners and seems to have a considerable influence on the work of Child and Youth Finance International. This evident from the idea of ‘financial inclusion’, which features prominently on the Citi Foundation webpage, and is also embraced as a central principle by Child and Youth Finance International. The latter uses the following definition of financial inclusion in one of their research publications (Sherraden, M. S. and D. Ansong (2013). Conceptual Development of the CYFI Model of Children and Youth as Economic Citizens. St. Louis, MO, Washington University, Center for Social Development (CSD)):

‘a state in which all people who can use them have access to a suite of quality financial services, provided at affordable prices, in a convenient manner, and with dignity for the clients’ (p8)

It continues to elaborate that ‘at a minimum, this includes saving, credit, insurance and payments to facilitate economic transactions, manage day-to-day resources, improve quality of life, protect against vulnerability, make productivity-enhancing investments, leverage assets, and build economic citizenship‘.

Financial inclusion appears, for a good part, to be about bringing children into the realm of financial institutions such as banks and insurance companies. Indeed, the above quoted research report talks in this vain about ‘unbanked populations’ and identifies young people as an important segment of the ‘unbanked’.

The Global Money Week, thus, seems to be as much a response to a reality in which money indeed takes an important presence in many children’s lives as it is a form of capitalist expansion turning yet unbanked children into a banked population in the name of financial inclusion.

posted by Roy Huijsmans

 

downloadChildren and youth are clearly present in much development research and practice. Yet, how is young people’s position in development conceptualised? Is it conceptualised at all, or are the young mainly targets of interventions and variables in analysis?

A Special Issue publication in the European Journal of Development Research goes someway in answering these questions. It presents the idea of ‘generationing’ development. This requires firstmost adopting a relational approach to studying children and youth in developing contexts. This indeed contrasts with widespread categorising approaches in which children and youth are defined on the basis of chronological age. Such approaches typically amount to a false homogenisation of highly diverse age-based categories and obfuscate important relations connecting young people with other generational grouping.

The relational approach underpinning the papers in the special issue is outlined in the Introductory article entitled ‘Theorising Age and Generation in Development: A relational approach‘. This conceptual work, the authors argue, goes someway towards a better understanding of the interface between development studies and children and youth studies. This is important because these two areas of theory and practice have developed into vibrant bodies of literature. Yet, the theoretical and conceptual work coming from children and youth studies has informed development studies only to a limited degree and vice versa.

 

CYS post-doc position

Category: jobs/interns

1 Mar 2014

downloadThe Institute for Child and Youth Studies at the University of Lethbridge (Canada) is inviting applications for a Post-doctoral fellowship expected to commence in September 2014. For details, please go HERE.

 


International Institute of Social Studies

ISS is an international graduate school of policy-oriented critical social science. It brings together students and teachers from the Global South and the North in a European environment.