Italian Young People Through the Lens of Youth Policies
Previous attempts to classify youth policies emphasised the importance of the underlying
“concept of youth”, which sustains and legitimises specific policy measures. The aim of this study is to
identify, through a bottom-up approach, the main orientations which characterise recent youth policies
in Italy. Twelve documents (published from 2012 to 2016) at the national, regional and local levels are
analysed through content analysis. Four main policy orientations emerge, each characterised by a different
representation of young people and solutions/aims. Representing young people as talents often implies
an orientation toward skill development; seeing youth as a resource is often associated with the promotion
of their possible contribution to the society. Negative representations of youth (as vulnerable and as
problems) characterise protective solutions. Each approach is characterised as well by specific risks,
strengths and supporting institutions. A useful framework for the analysis of youth policies at the national
and international levels is discussed.
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