In the greatest social change of the last twenty years about half of Europe’s young people now attend university. Their lived experiences are however largely undocumented.
Antonucci travelled across six cities and three European countries – England, Italy and Sweden – to provide the first ever comparison of the lives of university students across countries and socio-economic backgrounds. Contrasting students’ resources and backgrounds, this original work exposes the profound social effects of austerity and the financial crisis on young people.
Questionnaires and first person interviews reveal that, in contrast with what assumed by HE policies, participating in university exacerbates inequalities among young people. This work is a wake-up call for re-thinking the role of higher education in relation to social justice in European societies.
Lorenza Antonucci is Senior Lecturer in Social Policy/Sociology at Teesside University where she researches on inequality. Lorenza is also Research Associate at the European Social Observatory (OSE) in Brussels. She is co-editor of ‘Young People and Social Policy in Europe’ (2014). In 2015 she has been awarded with the Royal Society of Edinburgh Visiting Fellowship (2015). You can follow her on Twitter @SocialLore
"An eye-opening account of the material inequalities that young people face whilst at university...should be read by anyone interested in Higher Education policies in Europe young people's transitions and those researching inequality and social mobility more generally." LSE Review of Books
"Will young people play a role in dismantling austerity in Europe? In an important contribution to the debate on inequality, Antonucci shows us the extent to which our system is failing its youth." Lorenzo Marsili, founder European Alternatives
"Not only a compelling read but also an excellent detailed discussion of the social processes at work in young people's lives." Journal of International and Comparative Social Policy
"An important book showing that investing in higher education is not enough, we need to invest in better students' life to succeed in the knowledge based economy" Bruno Palier, Centre d'études européennes
"Antonucci's excellent and timely study hammers home the fact that there is insufficient focus on the stratified labour market and differences in the graduate premium across subjects and... across gender and race." Times Higher Education
"This incisive and penetrating analysis presents a major challenge to policy makers in rethinking the role of higher education in an era of heightened precarity and new social risks" Patrick Diamond, Co-Chair and Research Director of Policy Network
"Antonucci provides invaluable insight into the university experience in a context of growing graduate unemployment and decades of neoliberal policies. It's a must read for all those interested in education, the future and good policy." Judith Bessant, Global, Urban and Social Studies, RMIT University
"Antonucci finds optimism in the politicization of students and a route away from mass debt and deception. Privately financed university schooling is a brand, not a good education.” Danny Dorling, Oxford University