"I feel like it's just going to get worse": Young people, marginality and neoliberal personhoods in austere times

Daniela Sime, Rebecca Reynolds

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Austerity has had a disproportionate impact on young people across Europe. They are especially disadvantaged, compared to other age groups, and youth poverty is now acute in most European countries. This chapter discusses the particularities of young people’s lived experience of austerity in deprived neighbourhoods in Glasgow, the city with the highest rates of deprivation in Scotland. Drawing on data from focus groups with 38 young people aged 14–23, we explore young people’s positioning as an underclass, who experience everyday humiliations and degradations through austerity policies targeting them and the areas in which they live. We argue that young people are integrating aspects of an austerity ‘logic’ into their sense of self, taking responsibility for their own actions and role as citizens. Their experiences of austerity are mediated through their relationships to the places they live in, as well as new forms of neoliberal personhood.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationAusterity Across Europe
Subtitle of host publicationLived Experiences of Economic Crises
EditorsSarah Marie Hall, Helena Pimlott-Wilson, John Horton
Place of PublicationOxon
Number of pages14
Publication statusPublished - 30 Nov 2020


  • austerity
  • poverty
  • young people
  • neoliberalism
  • youth unemployment
  • Scotland
  • social policy
  • education

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