Working class young women: paths and barriers of social mobility
«Working class young women, service sector employment and social mobility in contemprorary Russia" - the title of the third methodological seminar SocUp at the Center for Youth Studies HSE. A presentation was made by Charlie Walker, professor of sociology at the University of Southampton and a researcher at Centre for East European Studies.
The presentation was also based on recently released article - 'I Do not Really Like Tedious, Monotonous Work': Working-class Young Women, Service Sector Employment and Social Mobility in Contemporary Russia» in the journal «Sociology».
Article author - Charlie Walker, continues to study the changing forms of young women that are turning to adulthood in the context of neoliberalism. In the focus of his research is an interest in young women of the working class in St. Petersburg. At first glance, as in many Western countries, the emergence of new spaces in the labor market in the service sector and the growing access to higher education for young women offers new prospects for social mobility. Despite the fact that the options are promoting the social ladder, there are not so many young women who appreciate these new capabilities, constructing narratives of self-actualization and become an "example" in the category of respectable femininity. At the same time, the real social mobility has an extremely low rate, because of well-studied patterns of gender and class discrimination. In this regard, according to Charlie Walker, transformation forms of social mobility among young women of the working class are limited. This is true for the West and Russia.
What is the difference then? For Western countries, many structural barriers to social mobility have become invisible. For Russia, this is not the same. Young women are acutely aware of the obstacles that stand in their way, especially those associated with deep-rooted forms of gender discrimination. At the same time, it coexists with the awareness of self-narratives, identity and autonomy of the individual - the attributes of the neoliberal era. In these narratives women emphasis the higher education as a "ticket" to a new, more interesting and prestigious life.
Charlie Walker - Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Southampton (University of Southampton and a researcher at Centre for East European Studies - a consortium of the Universities of Oxford, Birmingham and London. His research interests - sociology of youth, labor and education with a focus on Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union.