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2nd Annual International and Interdisciplinary Conference

The Young and the Jobless: Youth Unemployment in Times of Crisis 

Middlebury College, Vermont, USA
March 13-15, 2014


This conference explores dynamics of youth unemployment throughout the world. Neoliberal policies and the accompanying political-economic restructuring have resulted in a serious economic crisis at the global, national, and local levels.  The current crisis has both short- and long-term ramifications, affecting youth (15-25 years old) the hardest. As youth unemployment is at an all time high (more than 50% in some European countries) the future of these young people remains uncertain. The conference seeks to examine the lived experiences of this cohort and to explore the impact that unemployment has on their lives--access to housing, healthcare, and education as well as to other resources. Because the meaning of youth and employment is culturally dependent and has changed over time, the conference will critically explore those categories as well, focusing specifically on dynamics of gender, race, and class.

Pre-Conference Events

Youth Unemployment Videoconferences between language classes at Middlebury and students at C.V. Starr-Middlebury Schools Abroad (to attend please email Charlotte Tate,

  • Monday, March 10, 9-10:30am, Library 145

Videoconference in French between Paris and Middlebury 

  • Tuesday, March 11, 11am-12:15pm, Robert A. Jones ’59 House conference room

Videoconference in Spanish between Madrid and Middlebury 

  • Thursday, March 13, 8:30-10:30am, Library 105

Videoconference in Russian between Madrid and Middlebury

DETROPIA: A Documentary
Wednesday, March 12. 7:30p.m.
Dana Auditorium

Film screening of the film DETROPIA, sponsored by the Rohatyn Student Advisory Board. Light refreshments will be served.


Sponsored by the Christian A. Johnson Economics Fund; C.V Starr-Middlebury Schools Abroad; Brainerd Commons; the Departments of Geography, History, Sociology and Anthropology, Spanish and Portuguese, and Political Science; and the Rohatyn Center for Global Affairs.

The conference sessions are as follows: 

Click on a session title to view the video. Abstracts of each presentation are found under Abstracts & Biographies.



Opening Remarks

Tamar Mayer, Director, Rohatyn Center for Global Affairs, Middlebury College

Session 1: Dignity and Dollars: The Case of the U.S.


Robert A. Jones '59 House conference room
4:30-6:00 p.m.

Moderator: Charlotte Tate, Rohatyn Center for Global Affairs
Student Chair: Emily Bensen '14

  • On the Political Economy of Youth Unemployment

Robert PraschProfessor of Economics, Middlebury College

  • The Rise of the J-1 Summer Work Travel Program and Its Links to Youth Unemployment

Cate Bowman, Department of Sociology, University of Colorado-Boulder


Session 2: Unemployment, Violence and Terror


Robert A. Jones '59 House conference room
6:15-8:00 p.m.
Dinner will be served over this presentation.

Moderator: Robert Prasch, Economics
Student Chair: Molly Stuart '14.5

  • Youth Labor Prison Terror: An Economist's Meditation on Human Disposability

Marcellus AndrewsBucknell University

  • Unemployment and Violence

Juana Gamero de Coca, Department of Spanish and Portuguese, Middlebury College


FRIDAY, 3/14

Session 3: Pounding the Pavement: Voices of Recent Alumni


Robert A. Jones '59 House conference room
12:15-2:00 p.m.
Lunch will be served over this presentation.

Moderator: Amy Gibans McGlashan, Center for Careers & Internships
Student Chair: Caroline Goodwin '14

Ava Kerr '12 - history with religion minor
Barrett Smith '13 - Classics with Physics minor
Ashley Guzman '13 - Women & Gender's Studies and French 
Hanna Mahon '13.5 - Independent Major, Peace and Justice Studies


Session 4: No Exit? Migration and Borders


Robert A. Jones '59 House conference room
2:30-4:15 p.m.

Moderator: Nadia Horning, Political Science
Student Chair: Levi Westerveld '15.5 

  • Youth Unemployment in a Mayan Indian Town in Guatemala

David StollDepartment of Sociology and Anthropology, Middlebury College

  • Fighting Unemployment in Sub-Saharan Africa: Illegal Emigration as Youth Response?

Ange Bergson Lendja Ngnemzué, Department of Anthropology, C.V. Starr-Middlebury School in Africa: Cameroon

  • The Inactives: How Can Public Policy Encourage the Engagement of the Youth in the Labor Marker?

Natalia Herbst, Office of the Vice-Chief of Government of the City of Buenos Aires


Session 5: ¡No Mas! Strategies and Alternatives


Robert A. Jones '59 House conference room
4:30-6:00 p.m.

Moderator: Will Pyle, Economics
Student Chair: Gabrielle Lee '14.5

  • Bailing Out Capital or Diffusing a Time Bomb?: The Question of Youth Wage Subsidy in South Africa

Crispen ChingunoDepartment of Sociology, University of Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa 

  • Youth and Work Policy in Spain: The Andalusian Case

Ciro Milione, University of Córdoba, Córdoba, Spain

  • Eliminating Youth Unemployment: A Proposal 

Pavlina TchernevaDepartment of Economics, Bard College, New York



Session 6: Sticky Floors: Gender and Unemployment


Robert A. Jones '59 House conference room
8:45-10:45 a.m.

Moderator: Sujata Moorti, Gender, Sexuality and Feminist Studies
Student Chair: Adam Lang '14

  • Gendering the Recession in Ireland: Unemployment, Migration and the Post-Celtic Tiger Era

Diane Negra, Film Studies, University College, Dublin, Ireland

  • Precariousness in Japan: After the Lost Decade

Heidi GottfriedWayne State University


Session 7: Overworked and Underpaid


Robert A. Jones '59 House conference room
11:00-12:30 p.m.

Moderator: Jamie McCallum, Sociology and Anthropology
Student Chair: Claudia Esteva '15

  • "I Need Money, That's the Only Reason I Do It": Youth "Volunteers," Unemployment and International Action in Pakistan's health Sector

Svea ClosserDepartment of Sociology/Anthropology, Middlebury College

  • The Chosen, the Choosers and the Others: How Unpaid Internships Lengthen the School-to-Work Transition and Reproduce Inequality

Alexandre FrenetteDepartment of Sociology, CUNY Graduate Center

  • Ambivalent Attachments: Youth and Economic Insecurity in India

Stephen YoungDepartments of Geography and International Studies, University of Wisconsin-Madison


Session 8: False Promises: Is There a Way Out?

Robert A. Jones '59 House conference room
12:45 p.m.
Concluding remarks will be held over lunch.

Moderator: Kacy McKinney, Geography

  • Concluding Remarks - Discussion and Summary

Jackie Voluz '15 and Jia Jun Lee '15, International and Global Studies Seminar: Global Geographies of Labor and Youth