General presentation

With increased mobility and rapid demographic, cultural and economic change, the social integration of youth through school and the professions has come under unprecedented critical scrutiny across Europe. Such an integration hinges on a complex network of social and individual factors. Of paramount importance among these is a young person’s ability to communicate effectively in a variety of educational and professional settings.

Little is known, however, about the specific requirements social institutions have regarding the youth’s communicative abilities, and in particular on their capacity to engage in spoken interaction with others. Based on a qualitative interdisciplinary research design, the IC-You project investigates key moments in the social trajectories of young people: obligatory and post-obligatory schooling, professional training, job interviews, speech therapy sessions and the first steps into work life.

The project pursues three axes of investigation:

  1. Legitimate competence:  What are the concrete institutional demands and expectations that school and the professions put on young people’s interactional competences? 
  2. Mechanisms of legitimization:  What are the mechanisms through which young people’s interactional competences are explicitly and implicitly assessed on their path towards the world of work and adulthood?
  3. (Dis)continuities between key moments of youths’ trajectories:  What continuities and discontinuities exist between these mechanisms of assessment within different institutions? 

The IC-You project richly contributes to both applied and fundamental research. It sheds light on the concrete institutional conditions that shape young people’s access to the work market and to higher education, thereby offering important input for future social and educational policies. The project also provides significant steps toward designing and implementing interdisciplinary qualitative research methods.

The IC-You project is generously funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation for 3 years, 2012-2014.