Perceptions of labour market risks: Shifts and continuities across generations

Line Nyhagen Predelli, Andreas Cebulla

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    11 Citations (Scopus)


    In the risk society thesis, most notably forwarded by Ulrich Beck and Anthony Giddens, the labour market plays a key role in individualization processes. While for previous generations, family and personal networks, and also government institutions, were important in providing access to and mobility within the labour market, cohorts entering the labour market since the 1970s and onwards are perceived to be living in a modern 'risk regime', requiring each individual to make choices and decisions in relation to a market that no longer accommodates employment based on kinship and friendship. Based on data from 58 qualitative interviews with parents and their adult children, this article examines more closely these purported changes. The study's main observation is that important changes towards increased perceived individualization have taken place from one generation to the next. While affirming the disjuncture posited by Beck between a 'collectivized past' and an 'individualized present', this study's empirical evidence from two generations of individuals indicates that the disjuncture is muddier and more complex than previously understood.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)24-41
    Number of pages18
    JournalCurrent Sociology
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - Jan 2011


    • generations
    • individualization
    • labour market
    • life course
    • risk perceptions
    • risk society


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