Following the trace of the crisis. Challenges and results of a qualitative follow-up study on transitions to adulthood in Portugal (2009-2016)
ESA RN 30 ‘Youth and Generation’ Midterm Conference 2017 , ESA RN 30 ‘Youth and Generation’ Midterm Conference 2017, in association with ISA RC 34 ‘Sociology of Youth’
In 2009 a qualitative research on the transitions to adulthood in Portugal was developed and 52 young adults, born between 1977 and 1983, 26 to 32 years old at the time, were interviewed. The economic and political crisis had given its first steps at the time, and neither the objective nor the subjective or projected effects of the crisis were felt. Biographical and life calendar material was collected using a holistic and interdependent approach and included educational, sentimental, work and housing trajectories, among other turning points, subsequently subjected to holistic form and to content analysis. During the course of 2016, seven years passed those interviews about their ongoing and planned transition to adulthood, the contact with these individuals was recovered. The relative success of this recovery has to with the specific snowball strategy chosen in the first “wave” of the study. The interviews are developed through different but interconnected instruments: the life calendar, that aims to guide the conversation and to collect chronological information on their demographic and other events, the life Story, where interviewees talk freely while respecting the chronological order of the events, and are asked to pick up on how their lives were going at the time of the last interview, specifically explaining the expected and unexpected course of their lives since then, the (past) Reality Check, where two relatively short citations from the previous interview were selected, and interviewees are asked to freely comment and update their perceptions. And finally, the Locus of control exercise to situate their most important events since 2009 in an “agency-structure” scale, in order to understand how much of the crisis effects they acknowledge as such and simultaneously operationalize the principles of life course research. Counter intuitive results were found when in comes to the subjective positioning of their most important tuning points in the agency-structure” scale.