Listening to 'the thick bunch': (mis)understanding and (mis)representation of young people in jobs without training
British Journal of Sociology of Education
Taylor and Francis
Young people in jobs without training are ubiquitous but invisible, working in shops, cafes, and other low‐waged, low‐status occupations. Commonly elided with young people who are not in education, employment or training, they are positioned as the ‘thick bunch’ with empty and meaningless working lives. The main purpose of the research was to explore the experiences of this group of marginalised and socially disadvantaged young people through a deeper understanding of their interests and enthusiasms inside and outside work. These young people have been (mis)understood and (mis)represented. A more holistic and nuanced approach that is not uncritically founded upon a set of neo‐liberal stereotypes and assumptions, and instead recognises the complexity of their lives, would offer new opportunities for understanding and representation of their interests. Our findings challenge the conflation of identity with work and the notion that only certain forms of employment create meaning.
Vol. 30, Issue 6, pp. 741 - 755