Familial persons in dark times

in Social Anthropology/Anthropologie sociale
João Pina‐Cabral University of Kent J.Pina-Cabral@kent.ac.uk

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A whole generation of Europeans who came to adult life in the 2000s in the peripheral countries of the Eurozone have had to construct their adult lives within a recessive financial regime that is now widely known as ‘austerity’. In relation to earlier generations, they have been subjected to high rates of permanent unemployment, to recurrent situations of working poverty, to a significant reduction in citizenship rights and ultimately to the tragic fate of having to emigrate to perform underpaid jobs in richer European countries. Theirs are dark times in the sense given to the expression by Hanna Arendt, for whom darkness is produced by acts of communication that, instead of informing, de‐inform. The millennial generation was robbed of a sense of future in that they are caught up in a social system where working and the means for sustaining life as a familial person in a consumer society have moved apart. This paper is based on the life history of a young historian in southern Portugal and his struggle for making sense of his life condition.

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