THE YOUNG PEOPLE OF THE SOUTH: THE UNCERTAIN TRANSITION TO ADULTHOOD
In the public debate between scholars and policy makers there is a consolidated interest in young people. The persistent "youth issue" derives from a basic concern for an increasingly complex phase of life in terms of identity, opportunities and quality of work, social protagonism more generally.
The most recent historical phase is characterized above all by the progressive demographic impoverishment, so much so that young people and adolescents risk becoming more and more "rare goods". It is no coincidence that young people are an area of specific interest in national and EU policies.
The European Union (now EU) has prepared an ad hoc strategy, to ensure that they "engage and become citizens who actively participate in democracy and society". Young people are also a priority target of the NRP (cross-cutting priority 1), together with gender equality and the Mezzogiorno. The Plan underlines how "the youth issue in Italy emerges in comparison with other European countries [...]. The lack of definite prospects and opportunities for development is manifested both in the high rate of youth emigration and in [...] delays in skills [...]. The actions of the Plan are aimed at recovering the potential of the new generations and [...] encouraging their protagonism within society".
Concerns are heightened in the case of young people in the South, a particularly complex and topical issue since it combines several factors of disadvantage, territorial and generational, underlined by the operational structure of the PNRR. In this respect, current trends seem to foreshadow accentuated critical issues, which translate into structural risks, i.e. demographic stability for large areas of the South.
The focus proposes a reflection on the "condition of youth" with particular reference to Southern Italy, centered on some issues relevant to this phase of life framed in a perspective of recognition of territorial gaps and change between generations. Priority reference will be made to the 18-34 age group, a "transition age" characterized by a progressive extension of training courses, by a tendential "moratorium on detachment" from the family and by a far from easy entry into the world of work.