Low Expectations

  • Maria-Carmen Pantea


This chapter deals with young people’s apprehension that their expectations may prove volatile, if not erroneous, and their deep realization that the actual prospects that unfold are more constraining than enabling. It presents as ‘low expectations’ a rather deeply held, tacit, hard-to-unpack set of anxieties. Ultimately, the chapter closes the triad, by confirming that young people have high aspirations, yet they lack the enabling structural circumstances and the conceptual map (i.e. mentorship and guidance) to achieve them.


Training placements Migration Resentment Political voice Injustice Anxiety Exclusion Marginalization 


  1. Arnett, J. J. (2000). Emerging Adulthood: A Theory of Development from the Late Teens Through the Twenties. American Psychologist, 55(5), 469–480.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Atkins, L. (2010). Opportunity and Aspiration, or the Great Deception? The Case of 14–19 Vocational Education. Power and Education, 2(3), 253–265.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Atkins, L. (2013). From Marginal Learning to Marginal Employment? The Real Impact of ‘Learning’ Employability Skills. Power and Education, 5(1), 28–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bates, I. (1993). A Job Which Is ‘Right for Me’? Social Class, Gender and Individualization. In I. Bates & G. Riseborough (Eds.), Youth and Inequality. Buckingham: Open University Press.Google Scholar
  5. Beck, U. (1992). The Risk Society: Towards a New Modernity. London: SAGE.Google Scholar
  6. Beck, U. (1994). Reflexive Modernization: Politics, Tradition and Aesthetics in the Modern Social Order. Cambridge: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  7. Billett, S. (2011). Vocational Education. Purposes, Traditions and Prospects. Dordrecht: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Bourdieu, P. (1986). Distinction: A Social Critique of the Judgement of Taste. London: Routledge Classics.Google Scholar
  9. Bourdieu, P. (1992). Language and Symbolic Power. Oxford: Polity Press.Google Scholar
  10. Colley, H., et al. (2003). Learning as Becoming in Vocational Education and Training: Class, Gender and the Role of Vocational Habitus. Journal of Vocational Education and Training, 55(4), 471–498.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Dewey, J. (1916/1966). Democracy and Education. New York: The Free Press.Google Scholar
  12. Faure, E., Herrera, F., Kaddoura, A., Lopes, H., Petrovsky, A., Rahnema, M., & Ward, F. C. (1972). Learning to Be. Paris: UNESCO.Google Scholar
  13. Foster, P. (1965). The Vocational School Fallacy in Development Planning. In A. A. Anderson & M. J. Bowman (Eds.), Education and Economic Development. Chicago: Aldine.Google Scholar
  14. Foucault, M. (1971). The Order of Things. New York: Vintage Books.Google Scholar
  15. Freire, P. (1981). Education for Critical Consciousness (p. 1981). New York: Continuum.Google Scholar
  16. Ghassan, H. (2011). Social Gravity: Pierre Bourdieu’s Phenomenological Social Physics. In H. Ghassan & E. Kowal (Eds.), Force, Movement, Intensity: the Newtonian Imagination in the Humanities and Social Sciences. Melbourne: Melbourne University Press.Google Scholar
  17. Giroux, H. A. (2001). Culture, Power and Transformation in the Work of Paulo Freire. In F. Schultz (Ed.), SOURCES Notable Selections in Education Selections in Education (pp. 77–86). New York: McGraw.Google Scholar
  18. Hodgkiss, P. (2016). The Origins and the Ideal of Dignity in the Sociology of Work and Employment. In S. Edgell, H. Gottfried, & E. Granter (Eds.), The SAGE Handbook of the Sociology of Work and Employment (pp. 129–147). London: SAGE.Google Scholar
  19. Honneth, A. (2007). Disrespect: The Normative Foundations of Critical Theory. Hoboken: Wiley.Google Scholar
  20. Jensen, L. A. (2011). The Cultural-Developmental Theory of Moral Psychology: A New Synthesis. In L. A. Jensen (Ed.), Bridging Cultural and Developmental Psychology: New Syntheses in Theory, Research and Policy (pp. 3–25). New York: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  21. King, K., & Martin, C. (2000). The Vocational School Fallacy Revisited: Education, Aspiration and Work in Ghana 1959–2000. Edinburgh: Centre of African Studies, Edinburgh University.Google Scholar
  22. Lakes, R. (Ed.). (1994). Critical Education for Work: Multidisciplinary Approaches. Social and Policy Issues in Education. University of South Florida: The David C. Anchin Series.Google Scholar
  23. Lehmann, W., & Taylor, A. (2015). On the Role of Habitus and Field in Apprenticeships. Work, Employment and Society, 29(4), 607–623.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Leonini, L. M. (2017). How Young Italian Men Cope with the Economic Crisis. Global Dialogue, 4(4), 20–21.Google Scholar
  25. McGrath, S. (2012). Vocational Education and Training for Development: A Policy in Need of a Theory? International Journal of Educational Development, 32(5), 623–631.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Musset, P. (2014). OECD Reviews of Vocational Education and Training a Skills Beyond School Commentary on Romania. OECD Publishing
  27. Narotzky, S., & Besnier, N. (2014). Crisis, Value, and Hope: Rethinking the Economy: An Introduction to Supplement 9. Current Anthropology, 55(S9), S4–S16.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Negru-Subțirica, O., Pop, E., & Crocetti, E. (2015). Developmental Trajectories and Reciprocal Associations Between Career Adaptability and Vocational Identity: A Three-Wave Longitudinal Study with Adolescents. Journal of Vocational Behavior, 88, 131–142.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Pillay, U., Roberts, B., & Rule, S. (Eds.). (2006). South African Social Attitudes: Changing Times, Diverse Voices. Cape Town: Human Sciences Research Council.Google Scholar
  30. Powell, L. (2012). Reimagining the Purpose of VET – Expanding the Capability to Aspire in South African Further Education and Training Students. International Journal of Educational Development, 32(5), 643–653.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Powell, L. (2014). Reimagining the Purpose of Vocational Education and Training: The Perspectives of Further Education and Training College Students in South Africa. Thesis submitted to the University of Nottingham for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy.Google Scholar
  32. Sennett, R. (2006). The Culture of the New Capitalism. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  33. Sennett, R. (2008). The Craftsman. New Haven: Yale University Press.Google Scholar
  34. Simpson, R., Hughes, J., Slutskaya, N., & Balta, M. (2014). Sacrifice and Distinction in Dirty Work: Men’s Construction of Meaning in the Butcher Trade. Work, Employment and Society, 28(5), 754–770.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Standing, G. (2011). The Precariat: The New Dangerous Class. London: Bloomsbury.Google Scholar
  36. Threadgold, S. (2017). Youth, Class and Everyday Struggles. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  37. Tur Porres, G., Wildermeersch, D., & Simons, M. (2013). Emancipation in Work-Related Education Practices: The Case of VET in Uruguay. Presentation at the JVET Conference.Google Scholar
  38. Winlow, S., & Hall, S. (2013). Rethinking Social Exclusion: The End of the Social? London: SAGE.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2019

Authors and Affiliations

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

Personalised recommendations