DOI :10.26650/B/SS49.2021.006.02   IUP :10.26650/B/SS49.2021.006.02    Full Text (PDF)

Risking a New Underclass: Young Australians, Broken Transitions, And the Pandemic

Glenn DawesKirstie Broadfıeld

From a sociological perspective the period of adolescence has traditionally focused on young people as risk takers as well as being more vulnerable to risks, particularly as they negotiate the transition to adult status. In Australia, many youth are now confronted with a different world from their parents with regards to less certainty about entering the labour market, greater dependence on their families and less opportunity to purchase a home. The challenges associated with transitioning to adulthood are now more problematic and individualized for some young people due to the COVID-19 pandemic. It is argued that the current situation has disrupted the transition to adult status and now threatens to produce a new underclass of youth due to high levels of unemployment, underemployment and negative impacts on young people’s mental health and wellbeing. The chapter concludes with a discussion on the challenges for government and community in producing a response to this problem to reduce the risk of a cohort of youth becoming a new underclass in Australian society.



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