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COVID-19, young people and the futures of work: Rethinking global grammars of enterprise

journal contribution
posted on 2022-01-01, 00:00 authored by D Carbajo, Peter KellyPeter Kelly
In this article we revisit our analytical concept of global grammars of enterprise to explore the ways in which this grammar is being reimagined in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic and the crises it produces. Drawing on a hermeneutic sociological analysis of a variety of documents (policies, websites, think pieces), our rethinking revisits understandings of the relationships between ‘enterprise’, young people, education, training and work, and the importance of certain ideas about a young person’s ‘self project’, ‘self-fulfilment’ and ‘creativity’. In doing this work, which is largely located in the developed economies of the European Union and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, we trace a number of the entanglements between young people and global grammars of enterprise, and between what we identify as the emergent logics of ‘rescue and restitution’ and ‘reconsideration and redefinition’ that frame different, though connected responses to the pandemic and its uncertain, complex and ambiguous consequences for the future of work. We explore what sociologies of work, education and youth might contribute to problematising both the crises that the pandemic foreshadows in relation to young people’s health and well-being and their education, training and employment pathways, and the ‘solutions’ that are being proposed to these crises at what Rosa Braidotti has identified as the convergence of the Fourth Industrial Revolution and the Sixth Mass Extinction.



Sociological Review

Article number



1 - 20




London, Eng.







Publication classification

C1 Refereed article in a scholarly journal