Nov 4, 2013

The Python Generation, the Inter-Generational Collusion and the Culture of Dependency

Italy's youth jobless rate rose to a historic high in September: 40.4%. "Finding a job in Italy is hard enough, but it's only part of the battle. Many, especially the young, can find work only on the black - employed in the shadow economy, without a contract or the rights that go with it" (Jobless young Italians face life on the black market, BBC).
Italy is the nation that crushes its young according to Bepper Severgnigni: "My son Antonio just turned 21 years old, and I’m worried. Not only is his generation of young Italians grappling with the longest economic slump in modern times, but they also have to deal with us, their fathers and mothers. I’ve taken to calling us the Generazione Pitone, the Python Generation. We refuse to give ground, and instead slither forward and ingest everything in our path. We have stamina. We are selfish. We have a soundtrack (that’s why Bruce Springsteen is still touring). And now that we’re getting old and retiring, we cost plenty... Old-age pensions swallow 14 percent of the country’s gross domestic product and 57 percent of all social spending. No other country in Europe spends so much on making its past comfortable". Read more here...
But the situation is even worse. I've interviewed 20 young people aged between 20 and 30 who live with their parents, reconstructing the life of each of them on the basis of the relations they have with their room and the objects in it. I then analysed 60 autobiographies by university students, comparing my interpretations with a vast psychological and anthropological literature, and the results of the most renowned studies on young people carried out by Italian sociologists. The picture that I pieced together of this generation “without fathers or teachers”, and of the related responsibilities of the previous generation, is far from encouraging.The young people-children and the adults-parents appear to build their identities within an authentic culture of dependency. Moving outwards from the family, this extends to the main sites of socialization (school and workplace above all), and ends up becoming an essential aspect of Italian culture, tout court. In conclusion, I proffer an ulterior original key to reading the relations between young people and adults: inter-generational collusion.