Neoliberal Aspirations: Agency, Choice and Experimentation

  • Maria-Carmen Pantea


This chapter examines a second discursive layer that goes beyond the ‘ideal values’ (the grand narrative), to the ‘real values’ that are relevant in shaping the actual interactions in the world. The analysis links young people’s accounts (related to high aspirations, centrality of personal happiness, consumption and experimentation) with the broader neoliberal thinking. It suggests that interviewed young people become aware that work becomes precarious, yet (at this moment of their lives) they tend to incorporate it within a neoliberal rhetoric of choice and experimentation. Ultimately, the chapter advises that—despite the current policy thinking linking people with jobs—young people in VET exhibit a (probably) similar tendency to experiment with options and choices as their peers in high school.


Experimentation Horizontal mobility Happiness Aspirations Consumption Instant gratification Freedom Entrepreneurship 


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria-Carmen Pantea
    • 1
  1. 1.Faculty of Sociology and Social WorkBabeș-Bolyai UniversityCluj-NapocaRomania

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