Between tradition and modernity The occupational choices of young people in

Between tradition and modernity The occupational choices of young people in
Between tradition and modernity
The occupational choices of young people in
rural Crete
Nikoleta Ratsika
Institutionen för socialt arbete
Umeå 2012
This work is protected by the Swedish Copyright Legislation (Act 1960:729)
ISBN: 978-91-7459-350-1
ISSN: 0283-300X nr 69
Elektronisk version tillgänglig på
Tryck/Printed by: Print & Media
Umeå, Sverige 2012
Umeå University Doctoral Dissertations
Series No 69
Between tradition and modernity
The occupational choices of young people in rural
Nikoleta Ratsika
Akademisk avhandling
som med vederbörligt tillstånd av Rektor vid Umeå universitet för
avläggande av filosofie doktorsexamen framläggs till offentligt försvar i
Samvetet, Samhällsvetarhuset, fredagen den 3 februari 2012, kl 10.15.
Avhandlingen kommer att försvaras på engelska.
Fakultetsopponent: Professor Theano Kalinikaki,
Department of social administration, Democritos University of Thrace,
Department of social work
Umeå University
Umeå 2012
Umeå University
Department of social work
Document type
Doctoral thesis
Date of publication
13 january 2012
Nikoleta Ratsika
Between tradition and modernity. The occupational choices of young people in
rural Crete.
Mellan tradition och modernitet. Val av sysselsättning bland ungdomar från
landsbygden på Kreta.
The aim of this study is to investigate the occupational orientations and choices of young
people in rural Crete, a society, which is in constant change as it finds itself caught
between tradition and modernity. To achieve this, the study looks into two cases: the case
of Anogia, a small mountainous cattle-raising village, and the case of Archanes, which is
a farming village on a plain. Both communities are undergoing a process of change due to
the influence exerted upon them through the frequent contacts with the ‘outside world’
and the diffusion of modernity in all areas of life.
The study expects to shed light on how the young people of these villages experience the
transition from tradition to modernity and how this transition influences their choice of
More specifically, the aims of this study are to investigate:
A. The occupational orientations and choice of occupation of the young people within
the communities of Anogia and Archanes.
B. The main contextual factors that contribute to the young people’s occupational
orientations and choice of occupation in Anogia and Archanes.
The overall approach is a qualitative inquiry consisting of two case studies. The empirical
research took place in the field of the communities of Anogia and Archanes, and
addresses 29 young people of the villages, so as to gather primary data through semistructured interviews. The age has been defined to be 16 to 25 years old.
In order to arrive at the findings, data analysis derived from the Grounded Theory
methodological approach was employed (Strauss, 1987).
The main findings of the study show that the transitional process from school to work
seems to be the most crucial issue for the young people under study, in the process of
shaping their occupational orientations and choices. The attitude, either positive or
negative, that each one has adopted towards school and education generally and the
level of education constitutes the main tool that determines the limitations and the
opportunities for job placement.
In these small societies, the traditional roles have been overturned as regards the
youth and their professional orientations. The majority of young people follow new
practices in seeking employment. These characterise the following three types of youth:
the stayers, the ambivalent and the leavers.
rural youth, occupational choice, tradition, modernity
Number of pages
This work has been conducted at the Department of Social Work,
University of Umeå during the period 2004-2011. I would consequently like to thank the department for the opportunity it has given
me to do studies at the PhD level. Most of all, I would like to thank
Professor Lennart Nygren, for without his constant support, his concrete and accurate comments, his encouragement and patience, this
work would not have been completed. I also owe many thanks to Lena
Dahlgren and Lars Dahlgren for reading and commenting on the thesis. Their suggestions were valuable. I would also like to thank Torsten Åstrom since it was he who first encouraged me to enter into this
adventure. Finally, I want to especially thank both my dear friend Joanne Plaitis for her invaluable help with the difficulties I encountered
with the English language and my companion Alexis for his constant
support and understanding.
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Appendix 1: Semi-structured interviews with young people of the
Appendix 2: Presentation of inteviewees
Appendix 3:A pedagogic example
Chapter 1: Introduction
1.1. The background of the study
After World War II, Modern Greek history is characterized by a focal effort
to modernize all levels of social and economic life (politics, culture, institutions etc.). Although the process of social development in Greece started at
the beginning of the 19th century (Tsoukalas, 1987), it has only been over the
last sixty years that Greek society has witnessed significant structural changes in all sectors of society. Industrialization, development of the work
force, intensive urbanization, increase of wage labour, migration, improvement of the education level in the population, an increase in the number of
females in the workplace, changes in the family structure and the development of institutions are some of the elements that contribute to or appear in
this process of change.
The study of the dynamics of modern Greek society has formed, and still
forms, a point of contradictions and recriminations for historians and sociologists, as regards its classification within the Worldwide Cultural Scale –
concepts of society, economy, politics and people’s perceptions of them
(Georgoulas, 1996). The forms of perception within modern Greek society
contain both the idea of ‘dependency’ and ‘divergence’ from and towards the
cultural dynamics of the West. The problem exists within the two poles of
the pair: tradition-modernity. Tradition insists on ‘authenticity’ and continuity of the Greek-Byzantine civilization, whereas modernity promotes the
idea of incorporation within the rational process, which is inherent in the
enlightenment scheme.
The powerful West-European influences which Greek society experiences at all levels of social and economic life, do not influence traditional
and modernistic forms of social organization in a uniform and homogeneous
way. The two systems of social representation that co-exist within Greek
society either form a normal continuity or create intense conflicts and oppositions.
Traditional models and modern practices seem to divide Greek society.
Age, level of education and place of residence seem to constitute important
factors as regards this division (Catrivesis, 1996). Regarding the place of
residence, in particular, it is a common phenomenon that the urban way of
life and its values contradict the way of life and the values of the countryside. It is evident that urban culture in Greece is rapidly expanding and that
the model of consumerism is almost identical to the way of life. The rural
population’s need to free itself from the bonds of distress and isolation and
their desire to gain equal opportunity in the work force, higher incomes and
the commodities of urban social classes (financial, health wise, educational
etc.) explains how easily the urban way of life has come to be accepted.
Habits, behavioural patterns and traditional characteristics are bound to take
a back seat to the prospects the urban way of life has to offer. This of course
does not mean that ‘tradition’ does not often come in direct conflict with
The analysis of socio-dynamics in terms of the opposition between tradition and modernity may cover the areas of institutional differentiation (development of means of administration and communication), and social differentiation (modification in occupational structures and production mechanisms within a society) (Georgoulas, 1996). These two areas of differentiation make up two basic dimensions of social development, as perceived by
the financially developed world. However, relations between ever-changing
ideological systems are, in effect, relations among the people who adopt
them. This third level is of particular significance, since the other two cannot
exist unless groups of common perceptions are formed within society itself
(Georgoulas, 1996).
It is a fact that situations and people change within the social world. The
way people perceive both things and themselves or their groups of accession
change as well. The answer to the question ‘How do people and their relationships change?’ lies also in the way people’s perceptions change. This has
to do with the degree of diffusion of social representations, the views that are
formed and the acceptance or rejection of these views by society.
The main ‘breeding grounds’ for the diffusion of perceptions and views
can be found within the education system, the political system, the press and
especially the last decades, within the mass media and cyber-space (Georgoulas, 1996). The ‘information boom’ diffuses views to the most regional,
minoritized or isolated places. The diffusion of social representations is now
achieved in a multi-focal way and at a fast pace.
Through this study, I will venture into and investigate the traditional and
modernistic practices of the young people living in two rural communities on
the island of Crete, as regards the choice of their occupation. The main idea,
after all that has been pre-mentioned, comes down to the following: the rural
Greek community and consequently its young people maintain, either to a
greater or lesser degree, traditional principles regarding their perceptions/views and followed practices in general. Modernistic principles that
appear within the social structure and function of small local communities
have to do with the degree of urbanization and with the degree of intensity
and frequency of contact with the outside world.
More than ever before, young generations are receivers of the two different
social representations. Within this ever-changing society, young people form
a social conscience, acquire values, develop an individual and communal
identity, set aims and develop strategic plans for the fulfilment of these aims.
All the above-mentioned affect their occupational orientation with their
final occupational choice reflecting different values and morals. Taking into
consideration the non-versatile and inflexible nature of formal and informal
education in Greece, it is inevitable that the choice of occupation will follow
its youth throughout their lives and be a catalyst in their orientation and handling of the fluidity between tradition and modernity. Being at an age where
they are advocates and receivers of change both within social structures and
institutions as well as within the production process and the local economy,
the young are called upon to decide on their occupational future. As regards
the traditional social setting, kinship trust and stability in social ties play a
more prominent role within the set framework of space and time, while the
local community cultivates relations based on familiarity. Here, tradition is
oriented to the past. This lends security and certain knowledge to its receivers, thus enabling the experience of past generations to perpetuate, while
each new generation is called upon to reinvent the cultural heritage handed
down to it. On the contrary, relations of trust within the contemporary and
modern setting are built on dissociated abstract systems. Personal relations
replace those of kinship, the role of family is not as dominant, community
constitutes a more abstract notion while orientation looks to the future. The
conditions of everyday life have no internal ties to the past and, despite the
uncertainty of knowledge, tradition is borne out only through certification
that has come from contemporary knowledge (Giddens, 1996). Although
modernity looks to the future and conquers it, “the inertia that comes from
customary habit… has allowed tradition to continue to play some role even
in the most modernized contemporary societies” (Giddens, 1996:38), let
alone in Greece which is a rather non-industrial country that lacks production of new technologies, is inundated with municipal service bureaus and
has large agricultural property ownership. How do the young people in rural
areas deal with their transition from education to the job market within this
uncertain and fluid context? What mental and material tools do they maintain and develop in order to choose one of the two conventional life courses?
What means do they use and what strategies do they develop?
As for Greece, life experience has predisposed us to the abandonment and
desolation of the countryside, as well as to the persistence of the young to
change their way of life and reap the rewards that come from living in modern societies. Such a study aims to increase our understanding of this phe11
nomenon as it is experienced by the very youth that come from agriculturaltraditional societies.
1.2. Aims of the study
1.2.1. The overall aim of the study
The aim of this study is to investigate the occupational orientations and
choices of young people in rural Crete, a society, which is in constant change
as it finds itself caught between tradition and modernity. To achieve this, the
study looks into two cases: the case of Anogia, a small mountainous village,
and the case of Archanes, which is a village on a plain. Both communities
are undergoing a process of change due to the influence exerted upon the
local communities through frequent contacts with the outside world and the
diffusion of modernity in all areas of life.
The young people of Anogia and Archanes have been raised in a society
where the conditions for their socialization are very different from those of
their parents and grandparents. Living conditions in both communities are
rapidly changing within the economic, political etc. structure and the experiences of their parents are not the only fixed point for their planning and acting for the future. Television, tourists, school, the internet, contact with the
‘outside world’ feed the imagination and provide images of another life, a
life with different possibilities. The two poles of tradition and modernity,
appear to have made contradiction part of their lives. If this is so, how do
they cope with that, how do they imagine their future and what are their
hopes and dreams?
The young people are the future inhabitants of Anogia and Archanes.
Within a process of development, it is crucial to acquire knowledge about
the young people’s aims for their place of residence. Is it going to be their
villages or not? This has much to do with the chances given and their preferences regarding professional occupation.
If we are to deeply understand the young people of these villages, we
must study the social environment in which these youngsters grow up and
socialize. Only then will we be better able to comprehend their experience,
the moral codes, the expectations they have of themselves, the opportunities
given regarding their future, as well as the expectations the communities has
of them. This means that the youth need to be studied within the context of
the social formation they live in.
Therefore, the communities of Anogia and Archanes, both generally
characterized as being ‘traditional’ societies, will come under study. In actual fact, however, these communities are not unchangeable, steadfast social
formations. They co-exist and are associated more or less with the greater
social formations and interact with them. Both communities are considered
to be societies in ‘transition’. Thus, the study will focus on basic elements of
the local communities that would enable us to distinguish characteristics that
make up the concept of tradition and those which bring about change and
modernity. Since Anogia and Archanes, just like every other community, are
not completely isolated, they must be studied in the context of national society. Some few aspects of modern Greek society will enrich the study.
Finally, the discussion will deal in matters that have to do with the forming of young people’s social consciences, the formation of an individual and
common identity, social values, as well as young people’s concepts of occupation and work. Other matters to come under study will be the influence of
tradition and modernity on the villages’ youth, on their social activities and
on their purposes and orientations as regards their choice of occupation.
Values and morality that are incorporated within the occupation, as well as
future expectations will also be discussed.
In conclusion, the study expects to shed light on how the young people of
these villages experience the transition from tradition to modernity and how
this transition influences their choice of occupation. It will be grounded on
theoretical viewpoints pertaining to the concepts of Tradition and Modernity.
1.2.2. Specific aims and research questions
More specifically, the aims of this study are to investigate:
A. The occupational orientations and choice of occupation of the young people within the communities of Anogia and Archanes.
B. The main contextual factors that contribute to the young people’s occupational orientations and choice of occupation in Anogia and Archanes.
At this point, I must point out that the terms ‘occupational orientations’ and
‘choice of occupation’ are used not so much to denote a certain differentiation in meaning. What mainly concerns this study is understanding the occupational choices of the young in both communities. Nevertheless, the fact
that many of these young people are still students and are at an age of pursuit
causes us to look into their career orientation and their intentions concerning
their future occupations regardless of whether these will ultimately be fulfilled. In the second aim (B), I regard contextual factors as factors related to
the local economy and access to jobs, but also to the local tradition as reflected by expectations from the families and peers. That means that I will
examine how these factors affect the occupational choice of the young peo13
ple. For those who are still lyceum students, I will look into their occupational orientations.
In order to investigate, describe and explain the above phenomenon, the
study will focus on the following matters:
The undergoing process of change in the communities of Anogia and
Archanes and the diffusion of modernity in major areas of life.
The social-economic structure of the villages will be described. Elements of the local, traditional, occupational structure and its influence
upon the villages’ economy and morality will be presented. Are there
chances for professional occupation in traditional work or in the fragile
non-rural sector?
How young people understand and experience the social conditions they
live in and have to deal with when forming their future and their occupational status in particular. What are the limitations or the capabilities
a young person has in order to shape his/her future job?
How attractive the traditional occupations are, to young people? Which
constitute young people’s preferences, as regards job placements and
orientations? What are the strategies young people adopt or rely on to
fulfil their occupational pursuits/objectives?
1.3. The value of the study
The study outlines the main factors that contribute to young people’s choice
of occupation. The findings will derive from two “case studies” and therefore, generalizations have limitations and preconditions (Stake, 1994; Creswell 1998; Miles & Huberman, 1994). Moreover, although it is often
claimed that generalizability is inappropriate for qualitative studies (Denzin,
1983; Cuba & Lincoln, 1981), the question can not be by-passed. One aim of
studying two cases is to increase the generalizability, as well as to develop
more sophisticated descriptions and more powerful explanations (Miles &
Huberman, 1994). The dilemmas faced by the young people of Anogia and
Archanes are not unique for these communities only. Along with the internationalization of the economy and culture, this is an important topic for research where the focus is on how individuals experience these changes.
These cases can increase our understanding of the consequences of modernity on youth in rural areas, since they are not much different from many
other cases on Crete and in Greece, with strong roots in tradition and rapid
changes in their society due to the diffusion of modernity. Thus, the findings
of the present study are expected to shed light on this phenomenon in Greece
since very few studies have dealt with the agricultural youth and no other
studies exist similar to this one.
Furthermore, regardless of the developmental differences of each country, changes regarding youth occupation within traditional farming societies
do exist on a world-wide scale and are expressed depending on the degree
and speed of social change within each country. Social subjects experience
this depending on the way in which they incorporate these changes as well as
on the possibilities and opportunities offered to them. One of the following
chapters will selectively present and discuss such studies. The findings could
either serve to corroborate international research findings, thus enhancing
the generalizing qualities of the study or weaken them, thus enabling us only
to see them as cases of intrinsic interest. Therefore, the present study may
contribute to the existing knowledge and to strengthening or not the existing
relative theory surrounding it.
Furthermore, the settings themselves form cases of intrinsic interest
(Stake, 1994; Miles & Huberman, 1994) and learning opportunities are offered for better understanding of these rural communities and their future.
The constant comparison of the two communities throughout the study
will enable us to identify possible differences due to the fact that one village
constitutes a relatively isolated cattle-raising community in the mountains
while the second is a mainland farming community in close proximity to a
large urban centre. Possible differences regarding gender may surface, causing the findings to be of greater interest and ultimately encouraging new case
studies to be done.
Finally, these case studies can be used as instrumental cases1 (Stake,
1994; Miles & Huberman, 1994). Future relative case studies could be based
on a similar study approach and methodology.
1.4. Outline of the thesis
The study will be developed in nine chapters closely related to each other.
Chapter 1 constitutes an introduction to the case study where the aims and
research questions are put forth. Chapter 2 offers a concise look at research
According to Stake (1994), we may define an instrumental case study as being a particular
study that enables the researcher to provide insight into an issue or refinement of theory. The
case itself plays a supportive role, facilitating our understanding of the phenomenon under
studies that are related to the phenomenon we are studying as presented in
international literature and theories regarding the phenomenon of youth and
modernity. In Chapter 3 and 4 the two settings, Anogia and Archanes, are
presented in relation to tradition and modernity. Aspects regarding their
history, social structure and development, as well as their economies are
included here. In Chapter 4 the focus is on the role of education as regards
the young people living in the two villages, and an attempt is made to
understand what leads them to creating their life plan and what
circumstances orientate them in choosing their occupations. Chapter 5
presents the method of empirical research. That is the two case studies and
the arguments for it, the material used, the data collection methods and data
analysis, as well as the ethical considerations of the study. Chapter 6
presents the main patterns of the two villages. The central phenomenon of
the study is illustrated, that is the procedure of transition from school to
work which will provide us with the rationale for the further analysis of the
data. The major findings of the empirical research are also presented here
following an in-depth look at the strategies young people develop to fulfill
their aims. The different patterns of young people in the two different cases
as well as in the study as a whole are illustrated here. In chapters 7, 8 and 9,
the contributing factors are presented. Chapter 7 describes the general ideas
young people have as regards occupation and the work opportunities in their
villages. In Chapter 8, their own occupational orientations and desires are
discussed together with what these represent for them. Chapter 9 examines
the social life as a condition, this being an important factor young people
take into consideration as regards their choice of occupation. Finally, chapter
10 refers to the conclusions of the study. I will attempt to incorporate the
findings into the theory, to relate them to previous research and to
recommend their use for future research.
Chapter 2: Theoretical considerations and previous research
2.1. Introduction
Over the last few decades, great economic and social changes have taken
place due to the globalization of the economy, the development of new technologies, the greater requirements in professional skills, the rise in non-fixed
employment and many more. The consequences of these changes are greatly
felt by young people in the employment sector, as well as by those wishing
to enter the job market for the first time. In relation to other age groups,
young people are experiencing greater unemployment, are far more exposed
to the risk of poverty, deal with discrimination regarding their age and lack
of professional experience, as well as with difficulties being integrated
(Green Book, 2005).
Education seems to play a catalytic role in the course of this journey,
since existing data (Eurostat, 2004) indicates that populations with a higher
level of education are more easily integrated into the formal job market. At
any rate, the process of their integration into the job market no longer takes
place automatically, nor are there clearly defined boundaries for it. The road
from education to employment is no longer a small bridge to be crossed but
rather, part of a long journey which begins long before young people leave
school and by no means ends with their entering the job market for the first
As a result, the academic world is inundated with studies regarding urban/rural youth, and employment on a world scale, this being an indication
of growing social as well as political interest (Aliston, 2001, 2002;
O’Connor, 2005; Merino & Garcia, 2006; Walther, 2006; Chtouris, 2006;
Waara, 1996, 1998; Rye, 2006; Johnson et al., 2005; Helve, 2003; Jentsch &
Shucksmith, 2004, Glendinning et al., 2003). Issues surrounding employment, poverty, social security and welfare benefits, education, adulthood,
social and economic integration, and many more are either directly or indirectly linked to the young with the opportunities and prospects offered to
them for employment, income and social integration.
Additionally, an important point of interest seems to be the issue of transition from school to the job market for those within rural areas who have
different and rather fewer opportunities for acquiring the necessary qualifications as well as fewer occupation choices compared to their urban counter17
parts. As a result, the relocation of populations is an inevitable consequence.
The global phenomenon of social relocation of populations from rural to
urban areas presents important similarities in many of its dimensions. It has
to do with the degree of rural development, the opportunities for steady and
desirable employment, the chances for a good quality of life which includes
education and health care services, free time and the possibility of selffulfilment.
In order to set a theoretical framework for the present study, this chapter
will explain and elaborate on the terms ‘tradition’ and ‘modernity’ as a general theoretical frame, as well as on the existing macro and micro theories
pertaining to occupational choice. Following this, mention will be made of
the youths’ occupational orientations in modernity, the role of the welfare
regime for transition, as well as the influence of the ‘local’ and ‘rural’ as
analytical frames that function as guides for the study. Additionally, these
frames, together with the concrete investigations relevant to the research
field that will be presented in the next chapter, will enable a theoretical preunderstanding which, under certain circumstances, is regarded as an advantage in qualitative research traditions (Dahlgren et al., 2004)2.
2.2. Tradition and modernity: a general overview
In common parlance, the terms tradition and modernity suggest a distinction
between the old and the new, the fixed and the changing, the halloed way of
the past and the progressive way of the future, or we may say that the terms
suggest two differing attitudes towards the negotiation of change, with the
traditional resisting it and the modern embracing it (Lakhani, 1973). In recent years, the concepts have come to replace a host of similar terms employed as polarities of a crucial historical process: Tönnies’s Gemeinschaft
and Gesellschaft, Durkheim’s mechanic vs. organic solidarity, Marx and
Engels’s feudal-agriculture vs. bourgeois-industrial society, and Redfield’s
folk vs. urban-metropolitan cultures (Bendix, 1967), to cite some of them.
According to Dahlgren et al., (2004:21), a “dominant standpoint in Grounded theory was
that the researcher should try to be naïve when facing his or her research problem to ensure
that emerging concepts were grounded in data and not simply the result of preconceived
ideas...Today this position has been softened, and at least theoretical pre-understanding (from
scientific literature) is often mentioned as an advantage in Grounded Theory”. Dahlgren et al.
(2004:21) claim that “a smorgasbord of theoretical knowledge can be good to have at hand,
but the researcher must at the same time be prepared… to leave out some of her favourite
ideas that come from her pre-understanding”.
To elaborate a bit further on Tönnies, Gemeinschaft refers to the basic social
relations which are formed through kinship, friendship, among neighbours
and are all characterized by companionship. The basic institutions are family
‘law’ which is characterized by paternal supremacy, and the greater family
or next-of-kin. Here we see the development of lasting ties to the land and
the home, both of which constitute the most characteristic form of wealth.
The order with which institutions are followed are: family life, life within the
farming village, the rural town. The type of social control practiced aims at
creating and maintaining harmony, customs and traditions as well as religious rules. Correspondingly, that which prevails among social relations
within Gesellschaft are exchange and logical evaluations, while basic institutions are political institutions and the capitalist economy. The most typical
form of wealth is monetary while law of contract and an urban, cosmopolitan
way of life based on logical reasoning prevail. Here, social control aims at
upholding institutions, legislation and the expression of public opinion
(Tönnies, 1961).
Modernity dates back to the 17th century in Europe and refers to the ways
of social life and social organization that appeared during this period and
eventually came to play an influential role on a global scale and which according to Giddens (1996), in our days, are becoming more radical and universal than ever before. These social changes have, among other things, to
do with fixed nation-states, political governing, the industrialization of production, the creation of institutions, the different use of money, and the dissociation of time from space. They also refer to the de-rooting of social relations and functions from the local bounds of interaction and their reformation into indeterminate time-space periods, and to the production of systematic knowledge surrounding social life which in turn, becomes an integral
part of the social reproduction system, thus causing it to move away from the
fixed stability of tradition (Giddens, 1996). According to Marx, Durkheim
and Weber, it has to do with the systematic capitalist production which they
consider to be the driving force of modernity. In our days, the post-industrial
consumer society and the society of information have come to be added or,
as Lyotard (1985) terms it, the post-modern society or, as Giddens calls it, it
is the period of mature modernity (Giddens, 1996).
Contradistinction with tradition is inherent in the very concept of modernity. In understanding how the two are related, the matter of the discontinuity or evolutionism of human history and social development constitute a
fundamental issue and a field of diversely varying approaches among social
scientists. Giddens (1996) supports the view that, contrary to traditional societies, modernity is characterized by the element of discontinuity due to the
rapid pace of change, the scope of change taking place (since this transformation has do with nearly the entire planet) and the very nature of modern
institutions which, in some cases, cannot be found in earlier historical periods. The history of the evolutionism and linear movement of societies supports that the story is told based on a certain narrative sequence. It begins
with small, isolated cultures of hunters and gatherers, progresses through the
development of farming and pastoral societies, moves on to the transformation of agrarian states and culminates with the emergence of modern societies in the West (Giddens, 1996). The way in which one perceives these two
general theories determines their attitude toward the way in which society
changes and evolves, thus causing varied opinion and appreciation for the
consequences of modernity.
Aside from these two attestations, there is no doubt that, at some level,
tradition and modernity co-exist and interrelate. In some social environments, they co-exist either as discontinuities or as continuities. In addition,
although tradition may not display the radical traits that characterize modernity, it is by no means completely static as it must re-invent itself with the
advent of each new generation since it is handed down the cultural heritage
of previous generations. At any rate, within conditions of modernity, the fact
that a certain practice is traditional is not enough for it to be validated. Today, tradition can only be borne out through the enlightenment of knowledge
whose validation is not derived from tradition. According to Giddens, “when
combined with the inertia of habit, tradition continues to play some role even
in the most modernized of modern societies”, and tradition plays a role of
“far less significance than is supposed by those writers who have focused
attention on the integration of tradition and modernity” (Giddens, 2001:57).
This is because justified tradition is fictitious tradition and it draws its identity solely from the reflexivity of the modern.
We should also note that modernity is ambiguous by nature. The development of modern social institutions and their global dissemination gave
people huge opportunities to enjoy a safe and satisfying life as opposed to
any kind of pre-modern system. However, there is also a dismal side, especially evident from the twentieth century onward: upheaval, bureaucracy, the
crushing of autonomy, the destruction of the natural environment, consolidated power, generalized military power, all of which have conduced to creating a dangerous and beleaguered world (Giddens, 2001).
Finally, no kind of knowledge within modernity carries with it the “old”
meaning of knowledge where “I know” means “I am certain”. The terms
safety and trust are re-examined and acquire new meanings in different environments. In pre-modern environments, localized trust within kinship rela20
tions, the local community, religion and tradition are of overriding importance while in the modern world, relations of trust are based on disembedded
abstract systems which do not contain elements of reciprocity nor the intimacy found in personal trust relations. Therefore, there is a transformation of
intimacy within modern society. The social character of traditional systems
is juxtaposed with the impersonal character of modern social life, giving us
Tönnies’ typical contradistinction of Gemeinschaft and Gesellschaft.
2.3. Occupational orientations and choices
In common parlance, the term ‘vocational choice’ is used to intimate the expectations, perspectives, endeavors, opportunities, orientations, choices and
decisions which will enable an individual to enter the job market. According
to Herbert (1999:157), the basic process involved in choosing one’s occupation has to do with the development and conscious awareness of a professional self image that coincides with the other “images of self” that individuals create for themselves. It is considered a process that needs to have a realistic basis regarding personal prospects and abilities (Rothman, 1987), while
it must also realistically coincide with the perspectives made available and
the limitations imposed by the social, economic, academic and cultural environment (Roberts, 1975, Bourdieu, 1977). It is also considered a lengthy
process. It begins very early on in the life of an individual and basically only
ends when the individual retires from active participation (Super, 1994). In
fact, nowadays, the occupational process is complex as it often involves
changing occupation during one’s professional life (Tolbert, 1978), as well
as adapting to changes in the make-up and very structure of one’s occupation. Within this ever-changing world of occupational and educational opportunities, young people are called upon to resolve a series of personal dilemmas, make their choices and reach their final decision. A series of theories have been developed regarding occupational choice (Ginzberg, 1951;
Super, 1957; Roe, 1956; Blau, 1956; Holland, 1959, 1985; Tiedeman &
O’Hara 1963; Roberts, 1975; Lent & Hackett, 1987), which could be classified into four categories: trait theories, life-span theories, social learning
theories and socio-economic theories.
Trait theories, such as Holland’s, assume that there are unique traits that
can be reliably measured and it is possible to match individual traits, skills
and interest to occupational requirements.
Life span or development theories, like Ginzberg’s and Super’s are derived from theories of personality and focus on individual psychological or
personality traits, downplaying the influence of the greater environmental
context in which people make career decisions. Of these, the evolutionist
theories hold that the choice of occupation is a developmental process with
separate stages, while the psycho-dynamic theories focus more on the motives-incentives that prompt individuals to make their occupational choice.
The social learning theory addresses the interaction of social and cultural
factors on decision-making.
In socio-economic theories, as in Roberts’, occupational choice is attributed to a system outside the individual with social class and cultural environment (where socialization of the individual takes place) playing a decisive role. It orientates the individual so that the future is predetermined according to the value system shared by the other members of the family.
These theories downgrade the role played by subjective values, personality,
personal interests and other individual traits (Markoulis, 1981; Kantas &
Chadzi, 1991).
More specifically, the most fundamental theories are the following:
In 1951, Ginzberg et al., supported the notion that vocational choice constitutes a long-drawn-out process which begins somewhere around the age of
six and lasts until about the age of twenty-three or twenty-four. It is irreversible and comes as a result of compromise in as far as interests, abilities,
values and occupational opportunities are concerned. This decision is influenced by four factors: the reality factor, the influence of the education process, the emotional factor and individual values (Savickas & Lent 1994). This
developmental process takes place mainly over three stages: the fantasy
stage, where children believe they can do just about anything, the tentative
stage during which time adolescents wonder about their interests and values
and discover their abilities while trying to adapt them to a realistic occupational choice and finally, the realistic stage which is made up of three substages: exploration, crystallization and specification. The choice made is
based on personal desires, abilities and prospects; the individual then crystallizes an occupational model and pursues the education experience required.
At about the same time (1954), Super presented his developmental theory
according to which occupational choice is a life-long process whose central
role is self-concept development and “career” is seen as the sum total of all
the roles people play in their lives. In expressing an occupational preference,
the individual translates the idea he has of himself in terms of occupation
and in making this choice, seeks real expression of this self-image. Through
occupational stability, the individual gains self-fulfillment. His theory consists of six life and development stages: the crystallization stage (age 14-18),
the specification stage (ages 18-21), the implementation stage (ages 21-24),
the stabilization stage (ages 24-35), the consolidation stage (age 35) and the
readiness for retirement stage (age 55). One’s career consists of a series of
choices made initially within the transitional stages of the education cycle
and later within the transitional stages of the occupational cycle. The only
remaining constant from youth is self-image (Krumboltz, 1994; StittGohdes, 1997).
Holland’s theory on occupational choice (1960) is widely known and a
generally accepted one. It is based on what Holland calls ‘modal personal
orientation’. According to this theory, individuals choose occupational environments which will: correspond to their abilities and potential, give them
the space to express their attitudes and values, enable them to take on satisfactory roles. The individual’s behavior is determined according to the interaction between the individual’s personality and the traits of the work environment. Holland assumed a workplace is consisted of six major work environments and a populace is comprised of six personality types: Realistic,
Investigative, Artistic, Social, Enterprising and Conventional. According to
his hexagonal model, often called RIASEC, a person’s three higher preferences provide adequate information for effective decision making. The
closer a person comes to finding a compatible work environment, the more
likely he/she will experience satisfaction (Savickas & Lent, 1994; StittGohdes, 1997).
Roberts (1975) presented a sociological understanding of what is meant
by occupational choice. This view holds that the choice of occupation is not
determined by personal motivation but rather by the education system, family and peer group influence, social origin and especially by structural factors such as the job market, the economy etc. It holds that individuals do not,
in essence, choose their occupation but are rather orientated towards that
which is made available to them within the prevailing social circumstances
and undergo differentiation depending on the social group they belong to. As
a result, they do not share the same access to various occupations (Kassimati, 1991).
Finally, in 1987, Lent et al. presented the Social Cognitive Career Theory
(SCCT). This theory identifies the interaction of personal abilities, external
environmental factors, and behavior in career decision making. It focuses on
the influence of self-efficacy beliefs and outcome expectations on goal and
behavior (Stitt-Gohdes, 1997). This means that if the individual believes in
his ability to try and to struggle and expects results from such a stance, then
he will in fact behave in such a way that will help him achieve his goals. According to SCCT, one’s career choice comes as a result of the convictions
gained by the individual (Lent & Hackett 1994).
A common point among most theories, with the exception of Roberts’ sociological analysis and the importance of ‘happenstance’ of Baumgarder and
Miller (see Hodkinson & Sparkes, 1977), is that some decisions regarding
the future are made by the individual himself and that decisions pertaining to
education affect the scope of subsequent occupational opportunities (Chadzi,
2.4. Youth occupational orientation in modernity
This part will present the theoretical views as well as research studies regarding occupational orientations of the youth within modernity and within
the context of their passage from adolescence to adulthood.
A good starting point from which this discussion could begin is understanding that the passage from school to work, as every other passage, may
“entail movement into a different part of a social structure; or loss or gain of
privilege, influence, or power, and a changed identity and a sense of self , as
well as changed behavior” (Glaser & Strauss, 2010:2). According to the
“status passage” theory (Glaser & Strauss, 1971/2010), status is regarded as
a resting place for individuals while, the transitional phase is a period of
constant movement over time and keeps a person in passage between two
statuses for a period of time, depending on how scheduled or unscheduled
this passage is for each individual.
Therefore, the term “transition” from education/initial training to employment refers to the period during which young people move from a state
whose main activity is school attendance (general education or vocational
training) to a state where work is dominant (OECD1998:8). In the past, the
term “transition” meant the customary and direct route from school to the
workplace (linear transition). Nowadays, transition is generally expressed in
broader terms as it has now come to include a variety of routes taken by
young people within the education system, as well as within vocational training programs and the job market (non-linear transition) for the purpose of
acquiring an increased amount of professionally competitive means by
which they will not only ensure a place in the job market, but will also be
able to maintain and secure that position for years to come. In any case, the
term is referred to as “transitions”, so as to express the number and variety of
movements that exist from education and training to the job market.
According to Walther (2006), the transition from youth to adulthood and
especially from school to the job market constitutes a critical period for
young people. He claims that, de-standardization, individualization and
fragmentation of transitions override linear transition throughout Europe.
Furthermore, this indicates a differentiation in the transition process among
the youth from other countries who are called upon to face different social
realities and cultures.
Walther (2006) argues that over the last few decades, youth transition has
been significantly prolonged. This is due to prolonged studies, the passage
from school to work, the complexity of lifestyle models, an increase in female employment, the flexibility of the labor market and a general tendency
towards individualization. Moreover, entering the job market does not automatically mean the beginning of a new life (family, independent housing,
partnership and so on), since young people follow different logics and
rhythms. We may say that the young prefer to define themselves as being in
an ‘in between’ category: ‘young adults’. Giddens (1997) considers this to
be a specific stage in personal development in the modern world, and that
the importance of this ‘moratorium’ is likely to grow due to the extended
period of education which many young people now undergo. This assessment is corroborated in many similar European studies (Merino & Garcia,
2006; Chtouris, 2006; de Bois-Reymond, 1998; Plug, 2003; Walther et al.,
2002; Westberg, 2004; Cavalli & Galland, 1993). Additionally, Walther et
al. (2002) claim, that youth transition is also de-standardized. This long period between youth and adulthood is characterized as a ‘yo-yo’ transition. It
is argued that this phenomenon is either a personal choice or derives from
limitations or opportunities imposed by social background, education, gender, region or ethnicity (Furlong & Cartmel, 1997). All the above contribute
to the non linear ‘yo-yo’ youth transition and young people have to deal with
these inequalities and make their own decisions which are of the utmost importance.
Walther et al. (2002) argue that there are gender differences as regards
young people’s perceptions and views of the transition phase. Young men
seem to be less capable than young women of managing differences between
their own aspirations and external demands and possibilities. Young women
manage to retain motivation over a longer period and accept possible deviations during the ‘yo-yo’ transition.
Waara (1996) adds another point of view to the discussion. Social integration or disintegration of young people is closely related to social reproduction or social and cultural change in modern society respectively. Young
people’s life-plans and future orientations are related to social reproduction
as well as to the process of the ongoing societal transformation. Waara presents this view within the following context: Social reproduction deals with
issues of young people’s integration into modern society. In following the
process of socialization, young people learn how to behave in accordance
with the social rules, the ethics and moralities of the society in which they
are raised, while social reproduction takes place in various social institutions, family, school, spare time activities etc. The life-plan is influenced by
the specific social environment which implies limitations and possibilities.
“School, the labour market and forthcoming family relations are important
and serve the function of making it possible to adjust life-plans in relation to
a normative social pattern of transition between life stages” (Waara,
1996:263). Many young people seem to comply with this orientation and
seek a linear transition process. But this course is not without obstacles. Differentiation from compulsory education, difficulties in entering the labour
market, youth unemployment etc. seem to impede young people from attaining adult social status uneventfully. Disintegration constitutes the beginning
of change.
A second issue Waara (1996) brings to the discussion is the matter of
youth-cultures, precursors of the changes to come. The differentiation of
youth-cultures from the dominant culture implies a change in values and the
growth of new life-views as well as young people’s interest in participating
in the establishment of social formation and social institutions. Disintegration turns out to be a matter of how new identities are formed within a modern society. Research rarely investigates youth-cultures in settings other than
global cities or perhaps rural areas. More regional areas are looked upon as
providing their members with traditional moulds of behaviour. Despite all
the above, Waara argues that if we are to understand young people’s daily
life and day-to-day activities, then we are compelled to admit that societies
develop, transform and undergo gradual change but, in essence, remain almost intact within a short term perspective. As he puts it: “most young people still express the importance of acting within a contemporary social structure, emphasizing the significance of key-transition in identifying oneself as
an adult member of the society” (Waara 1996:265), Social reproduction or
social change is not solely a matter of individual transition to adulthood. Nor
is transition identical to a general transformation of society. A basic assumption made by Waara is that “individual integration and transition between
life-stages takes part within a social structure” (Waara 1996:265). Additionally, young people come in contact with many different lifestyle models of a
globalized world, while at the same time there are cases where a certain lifestyle is imposed on them by the social environment in which they live, this
being one they are familiar with and know as the appropriate path to adulthood. Due to the diverse social representations young people have before
them, they find themselves faced with dilemmas as to which life model they
should choose and which course to follow so as to achieve it, regardless of
the uncertainty of future life. This is considered to be a clear element of
modern life, while the place of residence, no matter the size, does not frustrate the dilemmas. The question Waara puts forth here is whether or not the
process of modernization also causes emancipation “from the normative
pressure of tradition and history as well as from existing social institutions”
(Waara, 1996:257).
Apart from the role of the institutions in the transition process, individuals play their own personal role in shaping their own life course by combining choices and social constraints. A general concession is that young peoples’ self-direction is affected by social inequalities such as class, gender,
ethnic divisions, access to training and work. According to the ‘choice biography’ approach (du Bois-Reymond, 1995) in post-industrial or post-modern
societies, young people play an active role in shaping their own lives using
strategies and choices that may bring them good or bad luck. These transitions are non-linear. The increasing complexity of society and the transition
to adulthood within a context fraught with vulnerability, risk and uncertainty
could imply ‘no choice’ for some young people (Furlong & Cartmel, 2003).
But this approach has a counter-argument. Despite increasing social complexity, linear transition has not disappeared. On the contrary, empirical data
show that most youth transitions still follow the traditional path to adulthood
(Bendit & Hein, 2004) in almost every European country. According to
Heaven (1995), the most significant developmental tasks for the young have
to do with completing compulsory education, gaining training qualifications
and finding a good job, all of which denote a linear transition. The way in
which young people will accomplish these tasks largely determines their acquisition of a personal, vocational and social identity and their future prospects in general.
The complexity of transition from school to work as an important factor
for young people’s emancipation is included in the study by Merino and
Garcia (2006) who, as well, stress that the prolongation of youth is a common phenomenon in modern societies due to the high cost of living, insufficient social care provisions even in countries with a strong welfare state, as
well as the fact that young Catalonian people follow traditional patterns of
transition. This study classifies four ‘modalities of transition’; each one of
them implying different basic ways young people could build their future.
The first modality is named ‘early success’ and it includes the young people
who were emancipated from the family before the age of 28. They have successfully followed a long education program (usually higher education) and
have followed a course of professional ascension and mobility. Middle class
young people are over-represented and working class young people are un27
der-represented. Both sexes are equally represented, although there is a
slight difference in favor of young women. The ‘working trajectory’ modality also includes those young people who were emancipated from the family
before the age of 28. These young people follow a professional course based
on occupational options that do not require higher education, most of them
having non-skilled jobs while the majority comes from a working-class
background. Young women are over-represented. The ‘successive approach’
modality describes those young people who delay their emancipation, pursue
university studies, successful vocational training programs and ascend professional mobility. It is an inter-class modality, although there is a significant
over-representation of young people from the middle and upper classes.
Young women are more represented than young men. Finally the ‘precarious trajectory’ modality describes non-emancipated young people, those
who become emancipated later in life and those who have either undergone
job status decline or remain in the unskilled labor market. These young people acquire a low level of education and school failure and have low social
origins. These trajectories include more boys than girls.
In conclusion, transition to adult life is more complex than it was three or
four decades ago, while the outcomes of these trajectories are not always
found in the traditional reproduction of social structure.
2.5. The role of the welfare regime in transition
In an era of modernity, the government policies enforced by nation states in
dealing with this transition have shown varying results regarding the smooth
transition of youth and the prevention of social exclusion. Walther’s comparative study (2006) is enlightening in that he believes these changes which
lead to a large variety of social status and positions would be better understood if the transition process from youth to adulthood were analyzed in relation to structure and agency.
Transitions “are structured by a complex system of socio-economic structures, institutional rules and cultural patterns” (Walther, 2006:124), they are
constantly changing and have to do with how this complex social structure is
perceived and interpreted by young individuals.
Based on a model by Gallie and Paugam (2000), Walther (2006) further
develops the characteristics of youth transitions in Europe in relation to four
welfare regimes: The ‘universalistic transition regime’ (the Nordic countries); the ‘liberal transition regime’ (typical of the UK); the ‘employmentcentred transition regime’ (the continental countries, e.g. Germany), and
finally; the ‘sub-protective’ transition regime (southern European countries).
The last model is here presented more in detail, since Greece would be typical of it, however not included in the particular research by Walther. In the
sub-protective regime, although the school dropout rate is high, schooling is
non-selective until the end of compulsory education. Vocational training is
inadequately developed and is provided within schools for professional training. Tertiary education plays a significant role in providing young people
with a social and personal status during the long waiting-period of transition.
Economic weakness, labour market segmentation and lack of training contribute to high rates of youth unemployment, this being higher for young
women. The social security system is based on reciprocity; therefore benefits
for young unemployed people are meagre at best. As a result, family functions as a substitute for the state. Unsteady jobs, the informal labour market
and short-term contracts prevail. Employer incentives and self-employment
are encouraged. The overall aim of the policy is to provide regularity: education, training, employment. The ‘yo-yo’ transition system does not present
flexibility, choices or security. That is why family is very important in supporting young people during this extended phase. This is, among others, one
reason for which young unemployed people in Greece and Italy, both belonging to the sub-protective transition regime, face low risks of social exclusion (Kronauer 1998).
Although Greece is not one of the countries included in Walther’s (2006)
comparative study, it appears that the assessments of Chtouris (2006) as regards the role played by the state, family and the personal responsibility of
the youth in the transition process from school to the job market coincide
with those pertaining to Mediterranean countries. According to Chtouris
(2006), young people in Greece have to face major difficulties during the
transition phase from school and education to the labor market. Long periods
of studies, long military service duties, reduced female employment and absence of training opportunities are among the important factors explaining
the difficulties in entering the labor market. Young people increasingly recognize education and training qualifications as the most important means for
a well-paid and relatively regular job as well as the most important means
for social and professional integration. That is why education is one of the
highest priorities for young people in Greece. Concerning the level of education, post-graduate students are more likely to find a job on their own while
secondary-school graduates are more likely to find a job through their own
family and social networks.
In Greece, family constitutes a major source of support and protection for
its young people. Both family and informal social networks provide emotional and practical support to the youth. Young people are financially de29
pendent on their parents long after their adolescent years. Additionally,
young people develop their social capital and their socialization process
within the framework of the nuclear family, showing a degree of alienation
from community and public institutions. Public sector institutions seem to
play a minor role and young Greeks have not yet discovered the ways and
the strategies that would link their individual world to the society and the
political reality they live in. Chtouris (2006) claims that the Greek state not
only tolerates but also actively promotes social self-regulation practices in
all sectors of the public realm, including education. Both family practices
and employment strategies of the young are far more influenced by a series
of cultural factors than they are by subjective rational choices. It seems that
the community’s ‘cultural past’ continues to play a central role in the configuration of society’s present situation since no new dynamic conditions
have been created for the social integration of the young. Despite the fact
that certain findings emphasize both individualization of risk and reflexivity
(Lash, 1994) as well as the pressure exerted on young people for more labor
flexibility and more geographical and professional mobility, the Greek youth
demonstrates a strong type of family solidarity. Buhmann (1989) observes
that the passage from youth to adulthood is not a personal matter, especially
in post-industrial societies. On the contrary, it is a collective and family affair even if, in the present case, it remains a complex and long-term process.
2.6. The influence of the local and the rural3
In this part of the study, I will discuss young people’s relations to the local
area, how important their place of residence and the community is to them,
and how they relate to the global world. O’Connor (2005) supports that, although many aspects of young people’s lives are affected by global goods,
For many decades, there has been an on-going debate on how to define ‘rural’. On the one
hand, there are those views that define ‘rural’ as being particular types of territories/societies
with concrete, tangible and objective characteristics, such as landscape, settlement, demographic structure, occupational structures and so on. On the other hand, the proposal is to
conceive ‘rural’ as a subjective and socially constructed phenomenon that is no more than a
perception in peoples’ minds, rather than a material and objective reality. Other classical definitions define rural in contradistinction to urban. These views focus mainly on the most abstract characteristics of social life in these areas such as traditionalism, dense social structures,
a feeling of community and so on (for an overview see Halfacree, 1993). However, many
authors claim “that open landscape and a sparse settlement structure seem to be accepted by
most actors as generic characteristics of rurality” (Rye, 2006:410).
young people remain deeply embedded within local contexts which are
structured according to age and gender, while others (Furlong & Cartmel,
1997; Toney, 2002) have argued that the importance of local areas has increased. Giddens, (1991) on the other hand, argues that in late modernity, the
local area has declined in importance.
In general, we may say that the local ‘system’ has an arranging effect on
its youth that promotes compliance to dominant social habits for the purpose
of reproducing society. On the other hand, due to the education system, media, travel experiences and globalization in general, all young people have
life experiences which take them beyond the local culture and provide them
with an idea of the modern world. Standing between these two different social situations, the young develop their own individual strategies for their
integration or disintegration to local society (Waara, 1996). Waara argues
that although the modern world seems open to those young people living in
rural areas and provides a variety of possible future positions, their social
transition into adulthood has not caused them to sever their ties to tradition
and to locality related patterns of key-transitions. Completing school, gaining employment and establishing family exist parallel to an existing reflexivity and still have an impact upon their strategies concerning future life,
while the past is present in everyday activities and in the attitudes regarding
gender roles.
Despite the dominant effect of modernism and its global character, residual cultural formations have not disappeared. On the contrary, they withstand the passing of time because they constitute the conditions for socialization which ensure security within an otherwise insecure world. Going beyond Waara’s thoughts, one may examine the condition Tönnies (1961) defines as Gemeinschaft – the greater impact smaller groups such as the family
and the local community have on the behavior/attitudes of the individual as
opposed to the abstract, impersonal, de-localized social institution – Gesellschaft – with the individual consciously or subconsciously complying
with the customs and traditions of his/her own group. Tradition ensures security through commitment to community. In other words, community constitutes the starting point of reference for the individuals. They become involved in the social status quo and adopt views or even the entire process of
transition between the stages of life. The dominance of either tradition or
modernity depends on the acceptance of these two opposing social representations by each individual. Additionally, in periods of accelerated social
change, it is logical for people to follow the traditional and safe paths of
transition leading to adulthood.
Therefore, research is called upon to further understand the individuals’ transition process to adulthood. Waara (1996, 1998) wanted to shed further light
on how young people deal with traditional patterns of behavior in their local
community, how they confront normative paths structuring the transition to
adulthood and to what degree gender-identities reflect traditional or modern
ones. His field study in the Tornedalica region of Sweden develops four different identity-types: the traditionalist, the entrepreneur, the conventionalist
and finally the avant-guardist.
Traditionalists are characterized by the obvious commitment to the local
community, and by the development of traditional gender-identity and gender roles. They are described as having no experience of life outside of the
community and neither do their families of origin. Relations with social networks are close-knit and strong. Spending a time-period outside the local
community only serves the purpose of achieving merits that will allow them
to eventually return and gain employment. Their free-time activities take
place outdoors and have to do with the natural environment. Their living
conditions are generally considered satisfactory. Relations between the generations are homogeneous.
The characteristics of the entrepreneur are a strong commitment to the
local community but the rejection of locally developed gender-roles. The ties
they have to the local community on various levels do not prevent them from
living elsewhere for the sake of furthering their studies or acquiring work
experience. However, their strategy is formed in a way that enables them to
return to the community. They maintain strong ties to local community networks, while family and kinship ties constitute the basis for their social
status. They feel at ease within their community and have no problem dealing with social control. Their professional orientations are based on the perception that the local market is influenced by national and international
events thus enabling the development of occupational perspectives.
Conventionalists are characterised by their weak relations to the local
community, readiness for mobility, approval of traditional gender-roles and
compliancy to other interests. Growing up, they had experiences that were
rich in mobility and thus consider it a natural part of life. Their social network and relatives are scattered throughout various regions and, as a result,
their ties to people are not confining. As regards occupation, they take the
local economic activity into consideration, while education is not something
that really interests or attracts them. Their plans are adjusted to new patterns
of life. They feel like outsiders within the local community. The division of
roles is considered natural.
Finally, the last type is the avant-guardist. This role characterizes individuals who reject any establishment of commitment to the local community.
Their future plans are not orientated locally. They have living experiences
outside the community and choose to live in urban centers. Similarly, they
do not accept traditional gender-roles. They pursue highly qualified jobs
which cannot be practiced in the immediate area. Their interests are completely different from the activities available in the local area. They do not
have a sense of belonging to the area and remain unaffected by social control
as it does not concern them since they are looked upon as outsiders. As regards gender roles, they choose to live according to their own interests and
they view the urban city as a place where individuals are encouraged to develop an integrated gender-identity. In general, their life-style transgresses
and deviates from the predominant one.
Regardless of these four ideal types, Waara underlines that they all have
some kind of ties to the local community. Their life-plans are structured in
reference to their degree of commitment to the local culture. Therefore, “it is
of importance to acknowledge the role of the life context in better understanding people’s actions and arguments concerning their future and to what
degree their traditions actually lead to a reproduction or transformation of
local social institutions within a general social structure. It is also important
to discuss the influence of the pre-existing gender-role patterns for the sake
of gaining understanding of the way gender-identities are shaped in relation
to the local context” (Waara, 1996:272).
Additionally, O’Connor’s (2005) research study, which explores issues
related to young people’s local embeddedness in Ireland, verifies that community as a relationship as well as a place is a strong feature of Irish society
(Toney & Share, 2000). However, it seems that as the young grow older,
their local area is not the sole geographical point of reference. Furthermore,
the boys appear to be marginally more embedded in their local area than the
girls of the same age. As regards their occupational aspirations, few remain
in or return to their local area to work on their fathers’ farms. For the most
part, they would like to move away to university or hope to travel and work
Furthermore, Aliston and Kent (2001) state that the majority of rural
youth in Australia have a strong sense of connectedness to community and
that most enjoy the rural lifestyle while growing up. But, although many of
the young people acknowledge the benefits of small town living, the lack of
satisfying work and education opportunities causes them to leave in search
of employment and further education in cities. It is important to note that
more girls than boys intend to leave due to the lack of employment options
for the girls and due to the greater motivation on the part of the girls to go on
to university (Aliston & Kent, 2001, Aliston, 2002). This appears to reflect
the gender opportunities in the rural employment sector and indicates that
the future of rural communities is at risk not only as a result of the continuing loss of population but because of a growing gender imbalance, which is
more a global problem, as this is also the case in Greece, the United States
and Japan (Pfeffer, 1989; Sachs, 1996; Teather 1994; in Alston, 2002).
Finally, Rye’s (2006) study on rural youths’ images of the rural in Norway claims, among other things, that the majority of rural youth hold the
view that the countryside can be described within two rather complementary
images: the “rural idyll” and the “rural dull” with a huge diversity of images
among these two. Most of the young people reproduce the idyllic version of
the rural, as a place “characterized by nature, and dense social structure”
(Rye, 2006:419), where everyone knows everyone, people stick together and
care for each other in quiet and peaceful surroundings. This image however,
co-exists with a more negative one. The rural youth is also associated with
boredom, lack of opportunities, non-modern features, a low level of sophistication, a lot of gossip and a sense of social control that “precludes an innovative atmosphere” (Rye, 2006:417). Despite the fact that there has been little
research in Norway comparing living conditions among rural and urban
youth (Haggen, 2003), Jentsch and Shucksmith (2004b) conclude that, although there are many similarities between the rural and the urban youth, for
the former, low pay is more prevalent, education levels are poorer and there
is perhaps a narrow range of jobs (Jentsch & Shucksmith 2004). Nevertheless, according to Rye, (2006), the geographical, as well as the symbolic distance between the rural and the urban in Norway, seems to be less than in
most European countries. Unemployment does not seem to be a particular
problem for the rural youth who have good access to education, the country
girls are far more likely to enrol in university compared with the city boys,
while urban culture is not yet dominant (Rye, 2006).
2.7. Conclusion
In summarizing the important conceptual and theoretical implications, we
may say the following: Youth transition is a crucial social issue and is a matter of great concern among the young, their families, politicians, policymakers and social scientists. It has been found that in the era of modernity,
youth transition is neither easy nor quick. The initial occupational choice is
an issue made up of a multitude of factors in which various theories implicate personality, ability, values, gender, family, social and cultural environ34
ment, job market opportunities and of course, education and training. Linear
transition from school to the job market is gradually being replaced by a
complex, non-linear course to be followed. Education and vocational training constitute important junctions for the successful integration of young
people into the job market from two standpoints: their structure and flexibility, as well as the means by which young people can or are given the opportunity to make the most of them. The course needed to be taken by young
women is longer, more persistent and less certain since unemployment is
clearly higher among them.
EU nations vary in their traditions and policies regarding education and
training and they legislate different social security measures for the prevention of social exclusion as well as for aiding young people toward social and
economic integration. In Greece, as is the case in other Mediterranean countries, family constitutes the main vehicle of youth security because the country’s predominant residual model of social care does not leave much room
for this tradition to change. Traditional models of youth transition are generally predominant in the southern countries of the EU and come to mean their
extended stay with their families and a persistence for linear transition to
adulthood. Whatever the social conditions may be, the important issue remains of how these are taken on and interpreted by young people who, in
turn, will adopt life models which either lead to social integration or disintegration with differences between the two sides. In all cases, ties to their place
of birth and upbringing remain strong and constitute points of reference and
comparison as regards change and different life plans. All the above particularly apply to the agricultural youth since, unlike their urban counterparts,
they have fewer opportunities in education, integration into the local job
market and free-time activities. The relocation of young people from agricultural to urban areas is a global phenomenon. Traditional agricultural economies do not have room for all the young people, far less for the young
women, while not all are interested in entering them since they feel that
nowadays, they ‘can’ choose life models that are different from the traditional ones.
Furthermore, previous research lacks detailed information about the
mechanisms of locally situated occupational choice, especially in cases
where the setting is rural, in a process of rapid social change and finds itself
in direct competition with ‘modern’ occupational options
Young people living in regional areas are receivers of two different social
formations: traditional patterns in social behavior and modern lifestyles. Although people subjectively feel that their lifestyles reflect their individual
choices, in fact, structural realities affect the range of choices and ultimately,
the lifestyles available to them (Furlong & Cartmel, 1997; Paulgaard, 2002;
Rygaards, 2003). This contradiction is rather severe. It leads to the uncertainty which has come to define the state of adulthood in the modern world.
From this point of view, individuals in local areas gain access to traditional
culture but at the same time are familiar with how to confront modern society as adult members. The effect this contradiction may have on occupational choice has not yet been adequately studied and is a question on which
the present study wishes to shed further light.
The following chapter will provide information about the local context of
this study. The two communities of Archanes and Anogia are presented in
relation to their history, their development, their economy, their education,
all within the context of their transition from tradition to modernity. Furthermore, I will examine how each social environment impacts the life plans
of the youth and especially their occupational choices.
Chapter 3: Anogia and Archanes – two villages and their
transitions as contexts for youth’s occupational orientations
3.1. Introduction
The young people Anogia and Archanes grow up in societies that have experienced great changes over the last decades. The conditions in which they
undergo socialization vastly differ from those of their parents and grandparents and they are called upon to enter and be part of a far more complex,
demanding and dependent society. Family, their own parents’ experiences,
the community spirit and its values no longer make up the sole point of reference as regards their ‘life plan’ and corresponding course of action.
This section of the study attempts to determine some of the social conditions the young people of Anogia and Archanes live under and must therefore deal with, so that they may shape their future and make plans concerning their lives and their job in particular. I will now present the historical
elements, the social and economic development, and the social environment
the young live in and socialize with.
3.2. The community of Anogia – history and development
The village of Anogia (Highlands) is built on the northern slope of Mount
Psiloritis, at an altitude of 790 m. The size of the municipality extends 101
sq km while it holds a population of 2,454 inhabitants (NSSG, census 2001).
On an administrative level, the village is a municipality and lies within the
prefecture of Rethymnon. Although the road distances in kilometres to both
civic centres are short, 36 km from Heraklion, 52 km from Rethymnon, it
takes more than an hour to get to the village. The roads are narrow with constant turns while the roadway itself is in bad condition. The difficulty in access, even today, helps to explain the isolation that for years existed in the
area. Although this isolation was once looked upon by its inhabitants as an
advantage, this is clearly not the case today since the previously evident
signs of deliberate or wanted isolation have clearly ceased to exist.
This community is known as a typical example of staunchly upheld Cretan tradition and customs. Contemporary researchers consider the village to
be at a pre-modern stage of development as concerns culture and work (Papaioannou & Palios, 1995). No doubt, Anogia is a ‘cattle-raising community’. The majority of the families make their own living by raising sheep
and goats. Paradoxically enough, nowadays, this activity is not based on
economically rational and ecologically sustainable agriculture and has nothing to do with the real market (ibid., 1995). There has been a huge increase
in the number of cattle owing to the funding strategy adopted by the EU for
which eligibility is contingent on the actual number of sheep and goats
owned. This policy has resulted in an increase of the total number of cattle
on Mount Psiloritis from about 10,000 to 90,000 in the course of a decade.
This has caused drastic changes. The community has begun to lose its economic autonomy. The over-exploitation of the natural resources, water and
vegetation has dramatically increased. The herdsmen and the Dairy Cooperation are forced to spend a considerable amount of their revenue on supplementary fodder and as a result, bank debts have increased a great deal.
This almost absurd economic structure denotes a discrepancy between tradition and modernity. Social and professional prospects for young people are
diminishing and dramatic migration processes are threatening future regional
On the other hand, there has been an increasing effort to improve life in
Anogia, such as the development of alternative forms of tourism, the development of the infrastructure or the protection of the environment. On closer
observation, Anogia is at the centre of these changes, which means that, despite its loyalty towards traditions and customs, it has by no means remained
unaffected by the beguiling charms and prospects of social modernity. Here,
one may witness an environment inundated with modern equipment, cars,
entertainment facilities, computers and a young generation dressed in the
latest fashion. Public and social services, banks, active local authorities, academic features, primary and secondary schools can all be found in Anogia.
Thousands of Euros flow into the Local Development Company (ACOM-M)
from the European Community Fund via programs of regional development.
At times, there have been members of Greek Parliament who originate from
this village, even government ministers.
3.2.1. Historical elements regarding the community of Anogia
Anogia is an old pastoral settlement of nomads and it is claimed that it was
inhabited before the 12th century. Dakanalis (in Spanakis, 1983) mentions
the names of the first families to settle in Anogia, all of whom, even today,
constitute the social backbone of the village. Since then, the village has been
inhabited uninterruptedly4. Throughout the Turkish occupation (1645-1898),
Anogia was one of the island’s breeding grounds of revolt and resistance
against the Turks. The village was looted and burned twice, first in 1822 and
then again in 1867, due to its revolutionary activity (Spanakis, 1983).
Anogia was also one of the most historic places during the Greek resistance against German invaders, as its location in the mountains enabled the
partisans to quickly retreat to gorges and caves. Because of their active involvement against the Germans, the SS annihilated the village by burning it
down on August 13th 1944 and 122 men were executed. It was during this
period that the emigration of its inhabitants started. A large number of
Anogians moved to other parts of Crete, to Athens and abroad and the majority have remained there ever since.
Even during the junta period (1967-1974) Anogia never complied with its
directives. After the fall of the junta, a new period of modernization was just
starting, due to the active interest taken by the Anogians concerning their
village. When referring to Anogia today, it is noteworthy to mention that
there are Greek state laws that are not upheld in the village or in the greater
region such as laws forbidding the use of firearms and taking the law into
one’s own hands. This is perhaps due to the fact that for centuries they were
isolated and therefore handled all internal and external cases or situations
themselves. One could say that, even nowadays, the distrust towards any
kind of power and authority are characteristics of the local society .
3.2.2. The space – the natural and structured environment in Anogia
The natural landscape surrounding human communities constitutes the foundation for their activities as well as an area for intervention, while its morphology varies depending on the latest developments of the society it hosts
(Nitsiakos, 1991). We can say that any space reflects the social characteristics of the group residing within it and gives evidence of its social organization and the relations among its people. Various cultural activities are imbued within it and reveal temporary and permanent changes having taken
In 1583, a census made of the Venetian Sexterium of Castello showed that Anogia hosted a
population of 711 inhabitants. In 1671, 212 poll-taxes were paid to the Turks. In 1853, a census of the number of houses existing in Anogia shows that there are 260 dwellings (Spanakis,
A recent example was the general resistance of the inhabitants towards both the “Kapodistria” and the “Kallikratis” laws, which dictated the organizational and administrative integration of small local government organizations. Their staunch resistance resulted in their maintaining their administrative autonomy.
place. It is the receiving ground of a civilization which forms it and in turn,
this civilization modifies the very space as it develops and changes through
time. This type of evolution or development has been noted and is clearly
visible in Anogia. It indicates a transition from tradition to modernity.
For centuries, the inhabitants have co-existed with their natural environment and have tried to survive by organizing their social life. Psiloritis
was a mountain known only to them. The grazing grounds were pure and
vast. Any form of travel was done on mules and along paths, which led to
the ‘mitata’ of every ‘patoulia’6. The road network started to be built in the
1980s but even today, it does not cross the mountain because this would
make cattle stealing to and from the village much easier. This, however, does
not retract the fact that living conditions have changed. The village roads are
easily accessible via 4 by 4 pick-up trucks, which can be seen every morning
going up and down the mountain road, a clear sign that shepherds no longer
live on the mountain. The new cattle folds are built with modern materials
and offer shelter during the winter season. The newly built water reservoirs
clearly show progress in the development of the infrastructure. The silos at
the centre of the mountain are indicative of the dense live-stock population
in the area. The cheese dairy farm on the outskirts of the village shows visible signs of the many changes in the way cheese is made. These are all evidence of the changes in the natural environment and of the readjustment of
its use, which all certainly reflect the cultural activity of the society. They
indicate changes, at least in the infrastructure of production techniques and
in the conditions under which the occupation of a shepherd is practised.
After the last leveling and annihilation of the village, it was rebuilt on the
old ruins and up to this day has maintained its original characteristics as well
as its structural form. It is quite evident that the village has never really been
economically well off. The majority of dwellings are small; one-storey
houses built one right next to the other along narrow walkways that intercross throughout the village. The yards are small and the narrow paths are
the meeting place for afternoon gatherings in the neighborhoods. The village
is densely populated and even today, the neighborhoods are defined by the
name of the extended families which lived there and, in great part, still continue to do so. This organization of the inhabited areas within the village is
based on principles of patrilateral relations which have not been undermined
Mitata are the traditional folds. Patoulia is the traditional joint-action of herdsmen families,
which was a production unit.
However, if we examine the area in its entirety, there is an obvious coexistence between pre-modern construction and more modern constructed
elements. This is revealed even more so in the functions and uses of public
space. In a sense, the village is split into two parts: the upper village with its
square known as the Meidani and the lower village Perahori. Access to and
from these two main locations is gained via narrow walkways but also via
the main thoroughfare. The upper village is characterized by clear signs of
innovativeness. It hosts the town hall, the conference centre, the youth
centre, the high school and lyceum, the medical centre, the dairy corporation,
the open-air theatre, some modern structures, many guest houses, the cafes
which are frequented by the village youth, some taverns, two supermarkets,
and many retail shops along the main road. At Meidani, there are coffee
houses where, among others, you will meet important and well-known
members of the village such as politicians, administrative officers and artists.
It constitutes the welcoming ground for any foreign visitor and the local
regulars are quite accustomed to this. The lower village represents the more
traditional aspect of daily life in the village. Nevertheless, this does not mean
that there are no ‘innovative’ elements. There is a police station, many female-owned shops selling hand woven items, a small folklore museum and
some taverns which make the space and its surrounding area open to visits
by guests and foreigners.
Generally speaking, despite the modernization of the surrounding space,
the daily social functions remain steeped in tradition. The public places are
mainly male dominated and the activities that take place are, in great part,
traditional: men sitting in or outside the coffee houses discussing, playing
cards, reading the paper or simply observing the goings-on around them. The
presence of women of all age groups is limited to the background. They
work in the taverns, cafes, etc. but one will never see them sitting in the
square or taking walks in the village. We can say that the structured environment is submissive towards the views of its inhabitants and in the activities of the people. The more flexible and open to change these activities are,
the more liable the space becomes to welcoming new or more modern activities. The more rigidly established and traditional the activities remain the
more liable and willing the space is to serve them.
3.2.3. The economy of Anogia – the economic structures as possibilities and constraints for youth employment.
a. The economy of Anogia in general
Almost all the production conditions and processes in Anogia are in direct
relation to age-old traditions (Chtouris, 1998). The basic sector of economic
activity is primary production and more specifically, cattle-raising. The vast
majority of the population is occupied in family-sized rural enterprises concerning sheep and goat keeping. The overwhelming majority of the families
make their own living either from this job, or from its money circulation
among the cattle raisers. Farming production has always been small, due to
the land’s poor fertility and as a result of small, multi-divided land ownership. The production of coal and bee keeping also constitute small sectors of
production activity. Despite some recent developments concerning cattle
feed production, this sector does not seem to be economically viable in terms
of creating new job placements and ensuring job prospects for young people.
Within the context of the secondary sector, we find the industrial unit of
the Dairy Co-operation and approximately ten private units that produce and
trade in cheese, an uncertain number of small-scale enterprises that manufacture building materials, the biggest one employing approximately 10 persons, a small unit specialized in the processing of certain oil-based products
and a few family businesses.
Efforts are clearly being made in the sector of weaving and aim at developing other production activities. In the past, weaving constituted a chief
element in the household economy and in great part, succeeded in serving
the needs of the family. In their search for a supplementary family income,
the female population naturally turned to weaving in an effort to render this
product commercially viable. Women, even those belonging to the 50’s generation, are knowledgeable in the craft’s techniques and know-how, which
were empirically handed down from generation to generation. And so, from
the mid 1980s on, as tourism made its appearance, so did the commercial
sale of hand woven products. In fact, the enthusiasm felt by the women as a
result of this, led to their establishing their own women’s partnership for
wool products and handicraft in the early 1990’s. This association has not
been active since 1995. The women’s business partnership eventually proved
to be an economic failure. Of course, there are still approximately 400
handicraft looms in the village, almost one in every household. Weaving and
textile, a very old technique and very important household handicraft practiced only by women, has now become a fragile problematic source of supplementary family income.
New economic incentives – mainly female oriented – have recently been
developed in the tertiary sector such as tourist services, the sale of handicraft
and wool products, all aiming at supplementing the family income. Nowadays, there are almost 200 beds available in various small tourist units, not to
mention some shops where rugs and other wool products are sold. However,
none of them have proved to be profitable and fruitful enough for a family to
exclusively depend on them for a living. Furthermore, there are restaurants
and taverns, dairy and butcher stores belonging to cattle-raising families who
channel their products to these businesses. Two super-markets have made
their appearance and have gradually replaced small grocery stores. The traditional Greek cafes ‘cafenio’, more than ten in the village, are not the only
units that provide services. Two new modern cafes provide a different lifestyle for their patrons. To complete the setting, we must make note of the
two gasoline stations, one garage for car repair and two pharmacies. Many of
these business ventures took place in Anogia over the last thirty years, as a
result of development programs on behalf of the Local Authorities and
ACOM-M7, within the funding of the European Community Fund (ECF).
These types of services appeal to both locals and visitors. Some of them bear
witness to the community’s gradually decreasing ability for self-preservation
(super-markets and grocery stores). Some others are proof of the community
opening up to the outside world (tourist services, taverns). Both are indicative of an effort made by the locals for a different kind of development and
occupational orientation. At the same time however, this is also evidence of
a gradual dependence, not on the local economy but rather, on the delocalized one. Furthermore, one can observe the invasion of modernity and
the gradual adoption of an urban way of life on behalf of the locals.
Finally, the public sector is highly visible in Anogia. There is a veterinary
clinic that together with the dairy corporation and the agricultural bank of
Greece, make up a basic network for providing support to cattle-raising.
Branches of large organizations are also present those being the police station, the health center, the post office, the national telephone company, the
national youth institute with student dormitories and the national athletic
stadium. There is also a conference center, a community center for the eld7
ACOM-M, is the abbreviation in Greek, for Development Center of Mountainous Mylopotamos and Malevisi provinces of Heraklion prefecture. It is a limited liability company
(Ltd.) which has the central office in Anogia. The company’s shareholders are Organization
of Local Authorities of the two pre-mentioned provinces. The Anogia Municipality owns 25%
of the initial capital and is the biggest shareholder. The main aim of ACOM-M is local and
regional development.
erly, a nursery school, two kindergartens, three elementary schools, one high
school and one lyceum, evidence of the high number of children in the village. Finally, there is the ACOM-M, which has already been mentioned. The
work positions in the above-mentioned public services are saturated and are
occupied either by locals or by outsiders, depending on the knowledge and
skills available to the local people for gaining employment.
Cattle-raising, which constitutes a local expertise, is the most profitable
when compared with other economic sectors.
b. Cattle-raising: the main occupation in Anogia
Since most of the families are occupied in the cattle-raising sector, we conclude that the structure of production in the village is relatively one-sided.
Cattle-raising is the actual main job in the local economy and consequently,
the course of the Anogian community is closely dependent on the course of
this sector of production. The present and future of Anogia is determined to
a great extent by the viability and the further development of cattle-raising.
One could assume that cattle-raising is a dynamic economic sector which
ensures a satisfactory income for herdsmen. In reality, the situation is more
complicated. The truth is that cattle-raising is going through a crucial period
which directly reflects social life. It could be said that never before has the
feeling of insecurity for the future been so strong. As mentioned before, the
acquisition of an increased number of cattle in the area has come not as a
result of their true market demand, but is a phenomenon that has to do only
with EU subsidies based strictly on quantitative criteria. The subsidies are
based on the number of animals each herdsman owns. This policy did not
encourage the producers to improve the infrastructure and working conditions. Their only ‘incentive’ concerned achieving a significant increase in
their number of cattle so as to secure subsidization.
It is quite likely that nobody could have foreseen the consequences of this
policy at the time. For the first few years, the subsidies were a relief for the
community. At the same time however, a series of problems arose. To name
some of them, we can first start with the environmental problems. Due to the
over-exploitation of the land, soil erosion in the mountains has dramatically
increased. For sheep and goat-raising this means that the animals have to be
given more and more additional fodder. Consequently, production costs increased. The dairy corporation was forced to spend some of its revenues on
supplementary fodder and build silos for food storage. Furthermore, water
reserves began to be limited. Before 1996, after which time the local authorities built new water reservoirs in the mountains, extra water also had to be
brought in. Although meat production is now more preferable due to the
higher subsidy, milk for cheese production has increased too. The dairy corporation has had to improve its small-scale cheese production unit in order to
make use of its entire milk production and, at the same time, offer the product at a good enough price to maintain competitiveness on the market. As a
result, economic problems have increased and bank debts have risen. The
relevant autonomy the community used to enjoy for centuries no longer exists. Economic dependence on the outside world is an irreversible. This
situation makes the herdsmen wonder: if EU funding is discontinued, what
does the future hold for cattle-raising? Is it possible for cattle raisers to continue without subsidies? The whole situation is a vicious circle. The discrepancy between tradition and modernism is palpably present throughout this
almost absurd economic structure. Such ill-advised production is the result
of ‘counter-productive’ subsidy policies.
At any rate, this almost one-dimensional economic structure and activity
of the locals reinforces the feeling that they, the inhabitants, share a common
fate. The future of this profession is not only crucial for the cattle-raisers
themselves but also for the social and economic activity that develops in the
village. The entire economic structure as well as the social structure of the
village is determined by this profession. Today, despite the many impasses
that appear before it, the occupation of cattle-raising seems to guarantee a
relatively good income and is considered an honest and highly respected profession within the local community.
3.2.4. General conclusions and possibilities for job placement in Anogia
Although the Anogians have experienced new economic activities and seem
to be aware that it is never too late to take new risks, one can not help but
note that they still maintain a strong bond to their traditional occupation, cattle-raising. Moreover, old ways of work and production seem to resist every
attempt towards modernization. On the one hand, we may say that there is an
increasing pessimism among the young for job-reorientation. Actually, most
of them believe that no new workplaces can be created and that consequently, young men have been left with two choices: either to be occupied in
cattle-raising or leave Anogia. Additionally, young women seem to have two
main alternatives too: either to get married to an Anogian, usually a herdsman, or leave Anogia for studies and work.
This would then mean that for the boys, cattle-raising constitutes the
main outlet when in search of job placement. Despite their uncertainty of
what the future might bring, the cattle raising profession seems to guarantee
them a relatively good income when compared to other professions and is
considered an honest profession which is highly respected in the local community. Farming incomes are especially low. Job posts in the public sector
as well as in small businesses have reached saturation point. In effect, the
‘easy money’ from the annual subsidies, along with the community’s occupational background form the basis for occupation in cattle-raising.
Some producers are occupied in more than one family job. Usually, the second one is dependent on the production output of the first one. When the
income from the family business is not considered to be enough to support
all the adult male members of the family, then some of them are forced to
abandon the village and go in search of work elsewhere, sometimes against
their own will. This affects inter-familial relations as well as the family
There are a number of women who work outside the home in sectors such
as the manufacturing and sale of woven goods, the management and maintenance of small inns, or as clerks in the public sector. However, the vast majority of women are not professionally active, aside from the assistance they
offer in the family business. In general, despite the common desire for a rise
in the family income, the existing traditional mentality strongly opposes the
idea of a working woman, and this is also true for the young girls who would
like to work. What we have here is a paradox between the economic needs of
a family or member and the social morality that works as a type of habit. The
local community seems to be defending itself against real or imagined dangers. These dangers seem to be found “in cultural transformations, motivational and attitudinal changes and shifts in patterns of values and identities,
which are attributed to the entry of cultural innovations into more or less
traditional forms of life” (Habermas, 1985:87). In short, there are no job
placement sectors either for women or for young girls who wish to work in
the village. For the young girls, work can only be sought in urban centers if
of course they themselves are able to surmount the prevailing mentality
which holds that women do not need to work.
The intervention of the state due to its role in apportioning EU capital has
been strongly active and decisive over the last decades. It is moving toward
limiting the inhabitants’ role to that of a simple client to the state and leading
any investment activity toward specific sectors. Today, the possibility of reduced state intervention brings fear and uncertainty to the inhabitants and
especially to cattle raisers.
It seems very unlikely that new job placements will be created in Anogia.
Spending money, short-term arrangements and idleness will not solve the
problem. Quite simply, if it were not for this ‘easy money’ and ‘outside’
help, disaster would be inevitable and the relocation of the young people
would constitute a massive exodus (Chtouris, 1998).
3.3. The community of Archanes – history and development
Archanes is a large village inhabited by 3,860 residents (NSSG, census
2001) and covers an area of 31.5 sq km. It is situated at an altitude of 380 m.,
in a relatively small and protected fertile valley that is surrounded by low
and tall hills. It is 14 km from Heraklion which is the largest urban center on
the island. Administratively, the village is run by the Municipality of Archanes which is within the prefecture of Heraklion.
Archanes constitutes a rapidly developing community due to its dynamic
town council, which has made the most of the development programs subsidized by the EU concerning the district and its residents. These programs
mainly concern subsidies in the primary sector of production and the manufacturing of its products in agricultural tourism and in the settlement’s architectural reformation. Archanes is known for its substantial archaeological
findings, for its contemporary history, its structural beauty but mainly, it is
known for its primary production which, for hundreds of years, has constituted the basis of its economy. Here, there is an abundance of agriculturally
cultivated produce. The most prevalent type of cultivation is that of the ‘rozaki’ grape, a variety which once presented great market demand, as well as
that of olives and dittany8. The secondary sector of production consists
mainly of small, private units as well as small co-operative industrial units
for processing the products derived from the primary sector. In recent years,
tourism has shown signs of development and consequently, so have the sectors dealing with tourist services.
The researcher or the simple visitor to the village will observe two basic
elements. The first one is the endless vineyards that extend north, east and
Diktamos (Origanum dictamnus) is an indigenous herb found exclusively on the island of
Crete and is used as a stimulating tea. As far back as ancient times, it has been credited with
having therapeutic properties. It is thought to have an antiseptic and antispasmodic effect
while it is also thought to alleviate indigestion and relieve pain. Today, it is cultivated in a
great number of regions on the island.
west of the village and the huge expanses of olive groves. The second one is
the structural layout of the village. The well-kept residences built side by
side combine neo-classic and traditional architecture and create a densely
populated whole with minimal dispersion. This enhances the particularity
and physiognomy of the village. These two elements give the visitor the impression that it is a lively and active settlement.
3.3.1. Historical elements regarding the community of Archanes
Similar to Anogia, Archanes is a place with a long history. According to historical sources (Detorakis, 1990), the region has been inhabited since prehistoric times. It would be noteworthy to mention that a unique industrial
facility comprising of a wine-press and an oil-press dating back to the Minoan era were discovered in the region and indicates that vine and olive cultivation took place in the region at least as far back as the 16th century B.C.
During the Roman era that followed, (69 B.C.-330 A.D.), it appears that
Archanes enjoyed prosperity and fame, while in Venetian documents dating
back to 1271, Archanes is reported as having dense vegetation and abundant
water sources. The period of Ottoman Rule in Crete lasted 229 years (16451898). The liberation of Greece in 18219 strengthened the local population’s
resistance, but in 1866 an armed battle that took place brought about the
complete destruction of the village. Nevertheless, in 1894 Archanes is described (Generalis in Christinidis & Bouangis 1997:89) as “a brilliant town
with beautiful buildings, two churches, a mosque, schools, exquisite gardens
and plush vineyards, populated by 2000 residents and connected to Heraklion via a carriageway”. Archanes was to become one of the first liberated
regions of Crete in 1896 and since then, peace and prosperity have only been
disrupted once, this being during the Second World War. Between 1900 and
1930 the first construction projects were underway. Electrical power was
installed as well as the first water-supply network together with 29 community water taps. The first school was built and the first cinema opened its
doors to the public.
The general wave of emigration during that period did not leave the village unaffected as it caused many locals to seek a better future in America as
well as in Egypt. The money they sent back to the village constituted an important source of financial assistance for their families and the village itself.
1821 marked the beginning of the Greek Revolution against the Ottoman Empire and the
creation of a free contemporary Greek State.
One indication of the economic prosperity taking place in the village at that
time was the construction of the Virgin Mary Clock that still stands today.
The year 1925 marked the founding of the Credit Association, which
eventually developed into what is known today as the Wine-Olive-Credit
Cooperative of Archanes. A few years later, the first intellectual association
was founded, a forerunner of the current association established in 1958. In
the 1930’s, there was great demand for the ‘rozaki’ variety of grapes, both at
home and abroad, while great quantities of wine as well as raki10 were produced and, as a result, the village thrived.
The entire postwar period was a period of peace and prosperity for the
village. The municipal authorities and the residents were, and still are, steadfast in improving living conditions and in promoting further development as
well as cultural growth. The International Union R.E.D.11 awarded the village the 1st European prize for the year 2000, for the qualitative upgrading
and environment-friendly structural layout of the village. In addition, the
University of Crete awarded the village the 2002 ‘Eleftherios Patakis’ prize
for the protection of the environment.
3.3.2. The natural and structured environment in Archanes
Archanes is an example of a natural and structured whole where traditional
and modern elements co-exist. When taking the route to Archanes, one will
notice that the natural landscape is almost exclusively made up of vineyards
and olive groves. There is no doubt that through the years, the residents have
put a lot of hard work into cultivating this land. Besides, it is well-known
that, through the centuries, the settlement survived due precisely to these
cultivations. Human intervention and use of the environment created new
circumstances. Present-day rural roads, small pick-up trucks, tractors and
digging machines, automatic watering systems, merchandise sold in farming-hardware shops, use of fertilizers and insecticides are all clear indications that the working conditions are indeed different from those of the past.
The fact that foreign laborers are now hired to work in the fields is also indicative of the changes taking place in the social thread of the region. This is
either indicative of how cultivation has developed from being a family affair
to being a more business oriented job or it could be due to the shortage of
local workers. All the above changes reflect the social changes that have
taken place through the course of time. We might say that a discursive inter10
Distilled local drink, a by-product of grapes.
Founded in 1980, Ruralité – Environnement – Développment is an international organisation whose purpose is to support agricultural development in EU peripheries.
active relationship exists between social needs, social changes and the use of
the land as a wealth-producing source. They stimulate us to seek ways that
promote the proper functioning of the community and its economy.
As regards the structured environment and its functions, we could say
that Archanes constitutes a typical example of a structured whole that combines historical and traditional roots with the liveliness of a modern town.
The various historical periods of the past are indelibly present in the struc12
tural make-up of the village . The settlement has been declared by the state
as being architecturally significant for its historical and traditional heritage13.
This, in fact, means that the settlement is thereby obliged to preserve and
maintain the age-old architectural elements that have been deemed as such.
The town layout is dense and has remained unchanged, though it has of
course expanded. The more important structures were built along the main
road axis which ends at the central square to the south of the village and constitute the hallmark of the town’s identity. Structures such as the elementary
school, the old town hall, the town clock as well as the residences, are irrefutable testimony of the economic prosperity that existed in the village.
Through the course of time however, Archanes could not help but turn to
more contemporary building materials such as concrete and aluminum. With
the expansion of the village in the 1970’s and 1980’s, such residences and
buildings began to make their appearance on the outskirts of the village, thus
distorting the uniqueness of its structural identity. However, this type of construction was suspended due to a remodeling program that began in 1992
under the initiative of the Archanes municipality. It aimed at the restoration
and enhancement of the settlement14. The results of this program are visible
to all visitors. The streets, residences, shops and public buildings in the cen12
The one-storey and two-storey houses are a mixture of neoclassic architecture with elements of local architectural tradition and Venetian architectural forms (Tsobanaki, 1992). The
current structured form of the settlement was created at the end of the 19th and beginning of
the 20th century.
The settlement of Archanes was characterized by the state as being an architectural unit of
historical and traditional heritage by government decree 469/50 (The Official Journal of the
Greek Conferment-FEK 666!/23-9-1970) and one section was characterized as traditional by
Presidential Decree (FEK 724/5-10-1999/D edition).
The local town authorities succeeded in their town’s entering the Integrated Mediterranean
Programs-Crete (I.M.P.) as the chosen location for experimental intervention in the settlement. The local authorities contributed to this through their active support as did the residents
who co-funded the project. The plans for this project were laid out at the Athens Polytechnic
School and carried out by the municipal technical bureau. Such interventions are rare in
Greece and require the co-operation of the residents (Tsobanaki, 1992).
ter of the village have all been restored. One might say that the defining elements that co-exist in the settlement are: the traditional layout (the way the
village was originally built), the contemporary structures (new residences on
the outskirts of the village) and a post-modern perception that brought about
the restoration and reformation of the settlement.
The restoration of the town center has contributed to the economic growth of
the village since, it has become a local attraction for the residents of Heraklion and neighboring villages who pay frequent visits. Consequently, there
has been a rise in new economic activities with new shops and restaurants
being a clear indication of this.
The activities that take place in the village are varied but relatively fixed.
The greater part of the settlement is occupied by residential areas. The imposing old school lies at the entrance to the village and currently houses the
municipal library and the Open University in Crete. The farming cooperative
is also a short distance from the town centre. The marketplace and shops are
located at central points of the village and in the streets surrounding the central square. Here, one will see cafes, the small traditional greengrocers’
shops, bakeries, two local super markets as well as commercial shops and
shops selling traditional products aimed mainly at visitors.
The village also hosts a series of public and private-run services. Municipal service bureaus such as the town hall and its services, the community
centre for the elderly, counseling and support services, the children’s recreational centre are all located in the town centre. The health centre, drugstore,
a number of private medical practices, two banks, two foreign language
schools, two-three construction and town planning offices, the archeological
museum, as well as other services can also be found here. The school complexes, which are made up of three elementary schools, the gymnasium and
the lyceum, as well as the sports center and, are on the outskirts of the village. They are big modern buildings, and their presence implies that the village has a noteworthy population of children; hence it is a village which has
thus far, managed to retain its population growth.
The village square is an interesting place. One might say that it is the
place, more than any other that reflects the co-existence of traditional and
modern life in the village. To the one side, there is an array of traditional
taverns which, at weekends, are always full of people who have come to visit
the village. One can also see traditional cafes here, whose regular customers
are usually either the middle-aged or elderly men of the village. From here,
the local regulars and visitors can observe the goings-on around them, since
the main road axis leading to the village crosses the square. On the western
end of the square, which is more secluded, there are three cafes where the
younger population of the village gathers. During the summer months, this
square is full of life and constitutes an open and welcoming place for locals
and visitors alike. Further to the south of the square, there is an open-air cinema and a bar that also attract the young people of the village who seem to
opt for alternative forms of entertainment other than traditional ones.
Generally speaking, we could say that these social locales entertain both traditional and modern functions. A usual sight is that of the older townsmen
sitting in the traditional cafes, while the younger men frequent the more
modern ones. The townswomen can either be seen in the marketplace or
workplace, while some young girls frequent the more modern cafes in the
afternoons or at weekends. The activities of the women are centered mainly
on the home and their internal courtyards. It is therefore in the village square
and its main thoroughfare where most or all daily social activities take place,
while life on the outskirts of the village is mainly limited to the home, far
from the scrutiny of fellow-villagers and visitors to the settlement.
3.3.3. The economy of Archanes – possibilities and constraints for
youth employment.
a. The economy of Archanes: General information
The most important sector of economic activity in Archanes is farming. The
most prevalent type of production is that of grapes and olives, as well as
their by-products. Farming constitutes the backbone of the village economy
since 36 per cent of the working population has farming as their main occupation, while the overwhelming majority of local residents maintain and develop their farmland while having other occupations as well (NSSG, census
2001). This means that farming and the goods it produces constitute the main
or supplementary source of income for almost all the families in Archanes.
In any case, although the working population has been increasing in
number, the percentage of residents occupied with farming has been decreasing. Between 1971 and 2001 the percentage had dropped from 70.5 per cent
to 36 per cent (NSSG, census 1991, 2001). Speaking in absolute numbers,
this decline translates into about 200 residents. Perhaps this is because those
now entering the job market opt for other occupations, or simply because
farming no longer constitutes a main occupation. Therefore, primary production no longer constitutes the sole sector of economic activity. The sector for
secondary production has made its appearance, while the sector for the rendering of services has seen significant growth.
In the secondary production sector, one can observe the appearance of
small, mainly family-run, manufacturing businesses and industries. Among
others, there are small units for the manufacturing of bread and sweets, herbs
and of course, wine. The largest production unit in the village is owned by
the agricultural winemaking co-op, which employs approximately 30 persons. There are also a significant number of residents, who work in construction. In total, 8 per cent of them work in the secondary sector.
The main area of interest centers on the tertiary production sector and the
rapid growth it has seen over the past two decades. In this sector 46 per cent
of the economically active population is employed. Here, we can see the development of a series of moderate tourist activities that have gone hand in
hand with the development of the local market and trade. This occupational
differentiation and activity came as a result of three main factors. Since the
1980’s, central government policy, as well as that of the EU, has greatly focused on the further development of rural areas and on bridging the difference in the quality of life compared to urban centers15. Another contributing
factor came as a result of the complete destruction of the vineyards due to
the phylloxera epidemic in the mid 1980’s, and the long-lasting economic
recession that followed. It took many years for the newly planted vines to
yield crop. In the meantime, the economic assistance offered through subsidization was not nearly enough to cover living expenses during this waiting
period, thus leading many residents to turn to other occupational activities
apart from their farming duties. Finally, a significant contributing factor has
been the overall systematic development efforts and intervention on behalf
of the municipality, which aimed at achieving a better quality of life and en16
hancing the different features of the settlement . The physiognomy and image of the village changed, thus becoming an attractive destination for visitors. It was only natural that new businesses mainly catering to out-of-town
visitors would open up. These are mainly restaurants, taverns, cafes, shops
and one guesthouse. They are all small, family-run businesses and constitute
an important source of income for the village economy. At the same time,
this transformation can also be seen in private-run services as well as in the
small but significant marketplace of the village whose goods and services are
aimed at the local clientele.
Here again reference is made to the Mediterranean Integrated Programs, the programs for
the development of inland farming regions Leader I, II, and other less important ones.
Since 1990, a series of construction projects and programs have been carried out in the
Archanes municipality. Some of these are: the structural restoration of the settlement, the
installation of an underground electrical system and cable television, an underground water
supply system and sewage network, the ecological-archaeological park created on Mount
Giouhta, the improvement of the road network and finally, the constructions of both the
community centre for the elderly and the new elementary school.
It seems that this general change has taken on a permanent character.
Along with primary production, this new economic activity has also been
accepted and is desired. Furthermore, it is a sector in which the women of
the village seek and get employment. It is also a promising work sector for
young people who do not wish to work exclusively in farming. This turn towards the rendering of services and tourism appears to have also come as a
result of the conscious effort made by the residents to either supplement their
farming incomes or acquire full incomes due to their unsteady and small
farming earnings. The development of services in the sector of tourism is
gradually causing the local economy to depend more and more on the greater
economy. In other words, it depends on whether the consumer visits tourist
agencies and on the good promotional advertising of the region.
According to available data (NSSG, census 1991, 2001), the most significant changes in employment and in job market trends have to do with an increase in jobs, which require a high level of education such as those in the
academic fields (+3.1 per cent) and in business management (+5.6 per cent).
The sectors pertaining to the rendering of services and trade seem to have
remained stagnant, employment in the primary sector has clearly decreased
(-11.4 per cent) while respectively, there has been an increase in the employment of technicians, workers, machine operators, drivers etc (+8.5 per
cent). These are jobs requiring empirical knowledge, some job training, or
none at all. As regards the female population, in absolute numbers, we have
a respective increase in all occupational sectors. The most significant increase can be seen in occupations requiring academic knowledge or professional training as well as in farming. This last element could be interpreted
in two ways. There is either greater female emancipation or, a more likely
explanation is that, as a result of work being more freely delegated within
the family unit, male farmers now turn to other occupations leaving their
wives to declare themselves farmers.
Finally, as it has been mentioned before, there are quite a few state-run
and municipal services in the village that, among other things, constitute a
source of employment for its residents. The development of services must be
considered to be quite satisfactory considering the size of the settlement,
while it is thought to have succeeded in covering the residents’ needs. There
are specific job vacancies which are almost always given to locals. Nevertheless, this sector could be considered rather saturated.
One could claim that, aside from their involvement in the primary sector,
the people of Archanes are also engaging in new types of economic activity,
which offer other forms of employment. However, despite this new turn toward the development of the village, farming still constitutes the basis of
economic activity, the only definite employment sector and the most familiar
area of investment and development. Although it may be becoming less and
less of a full-time or sole occupation, it still constitutes the main source of
income, it is the most important property asset the residents have and it safeguards the residents, especially the men, from unemployment.
b. Farming: the main occupation in Archanes
There are 994 cultivated land properties on an expanse of land of approximately 26.7 sq. km. Considering the fact that there are 1.325 households in
the village, this means that 75 per cent of these households are occupied in
farming either on a full-time or part-time basis. Vine and olive cultivation
takes up 96 per cent of the cultivated land. The land is privately owned while
the land and properties have undergone multiple fragmentations. More than
80 per cent of the farming cultivations are owned by men while the rest of
them are owned by women. Approximately 2/3 of them declare farming as
their main occupation. In any case, the overwhelming majority of the cultivators, (906 out of the 994) cultivate their land for trade purposes. 98.5 per
cent of the producers have only practical experience, while 1.5 per cent has
received at least minimum training (NSSG, census 2001).
Furthermore, the individuals occupied in the primary sector are far more
than the 704 officially stated in the 2001 census. Other data from the same
census indicates that the 994 land plots are each cultivated by their owners
and by the members of their families who total 1,717 persons (1.039 men
and 678 women). Of course, the degree of their involvement varies. For
1,244 it is a full-time occupation, for 27 it is a part-time occupation and for
446, it is a secondary occupation. Apart from family members, many seasonal workers are employed. In fact, during harvest season, approximately
3,000 workers are employed, while many producers seem to offer each other
their services in which it appears that about 800 individuals are involved.
Finally, approximately 400 producers seem to employ workers for specific
labor work such as for digging or pesticide spraying.
It is clear to see that there is a huge work cycle in farming with a dual
character: the formal work cycle involving the work of farmers and workers
who have officially declared themselves as such, and the informal work cycle involving the work done by family members and the exchanging of services and assistance among producers who are usually related to each other.
Either way, it is clear that a significant number of people are involved in
farming production, the great majority of them being men who are either
producers or paid workers.
A conclusive comparison between male and female involvement in farming
indicates that the employment of women, in any shape or form, does not exceed 40 per cent. Even within the framework of family related assistance,
here too, their involvement does not exceed this precedence. Farming is regarded as a male-oriented occupation.
The insecurity a farmer feels due to the fact that his livelihood is directly
dependent on imponderable factors such as weather conditions and plant diseases was strongly felt in Archanes when the phylloxera epidemic began to
afflict the vineyards of the region in 1987, causing their replacement of the
‘rozaki’ grape, with a new variety, that being the ‘American’ grape. As far as
the local farmers were concerned, the only edible grape was the ‘rozaki’
grape variety, which was resilient, did not require hormone fertilizers or
regular watering and could even be harvested in November, thus enabling its
sale on the market during seasons when other grape varieties were not available. Nevertheless, they have been forced to cultivate this new variety of
grape which today, is commonly sold on the market, is of lower quality due
to extreme pesticide treatment, involves greater production expenses, and
requires different technical know-how. The quality of the grapes is no longer
what it once was. All in all, the farmers feel that they are faced with problems that did not exist before.
Nowadays, there are three different types of vine cultivation. The first
type is used for the production of edible grapes. The second, the ‘soultanina’
grape, for the production of raisins and the third, for the production of wine
and raki. Of all the above, the ‘soultanina’ grape is the only product which is
subsidized and as a result, all the producers cultivate the necessary amount
of this variety so that, at the very least, they can ensure a steady income. The
production of olive oil is also subsidized.
The main volume of production is handled by the Archanes co-op at
which approximately 1,470 members are registered. However, it is thought
that the co-op is going through a difficult period. It cannot seem to pull its
farmers out of the economic crisis they claim to be experiencing, nor can it
offer hopeful solutions or better prospects for good prices regarding foreign
markets. Despite the problems, many tons of edible grapes, raisins and
mainly wine-producing grapes are gathered by the co-op. Its winery produces 5 different kinds of wine and the volume of production is channeled to
the local and international market.
Let us now see some of the problems in farming production. The most serious problems have to do with the price of the produce. The farmers believe
that, compared to the past, their income today is less than satisfactory. In the
face of this insecurity and disillusionment for many, and in the hope of im56
proving the predicament of farmers, a civil non-profit organization was set
up in 2005. The aim of the organization is to intervene in the cultivation
technique applied by producers for the sake of meeting product safety standards and protecting cultivators.
Other farming matters that are worth mentioning are the lack of homogeneity among the farming producers, and the constant apportionment of the
land as it continues to be divided among its inheritors. In reference to the
first matter, those employed in other professions usually sell farming land to
those who wish to own and maintain profitable and sizeable farming properties. As for those farmers whose properties are small, farming is, or will soon
become, a second occupation.
We should also note that quite a few foreign farm workers reside in the
village, with over 100 of them doing wage labor in the vineyards. The local
residents, even those who are unemployed, are not easily inclined to work on
the land of their fellow-villagers with the exception of perhaps offering to do
specialized mechanical work.
The entire economy of the village directly depends on farming production, whether this regards small private investments or consumer turnover in
the village because, as we have previously mentioned, this is the only production sector in which almost all its residents are involved. There are a
number of residents who aspire to the development and qualitative upgrading of primary production. They see farming production as a potentially
profitable business, thus proving that the reason they are farmers is because
it is an occupation worth doing even if they have other employment alternatives. They have been taking steps toward modernization, putting their
knowledge and know-how to good use and they have been keeping informed, all in the hopes of turning the traditionally accepted image of a
farmer into the image of a modern businessman. According to these residents, they are up against a more prevalent but less optimistic view of farming, shared by the majority of their fellow-residents. This view holds that
farming is not an occupation one chooses to do but rather it is one you are
forced to do for lack of other qualifications due either to inadequate schooling or failure to find other employment in the free market. In other words,
this occupation and those employed in it are clearly looked upon with social
disdain. Those holding such views are usually too passive deal with the
whole matter and are quite wary of what the future holds.
The dynamic development of primary production is a crucial issue of the
utmost importance to this community. Despite the crisis it is going through,
farming still makes up the economic and social background of the community and so far, no other economic activity has been able to take its place. It
constitutes a steady point of reference for economic family planning. It is the
basis for the social and economic ascent of its members and is also a sector
of employment for those who choose it. Whether it is done on a full-time or
part-time basis, it seems to ensure an income too good for any of them to
pass up.
3.3.4. General conclusions and employment perspectives in Archanes
The immediate and greater socio-economic environment and the job vacancies that are available are indeed important factors the young people take
into consideration when planning their professional future (Kassimati, 1991).
Despite a decline in employment in the primary sector, farming is not being abandoned. On the one hand, it appears to be considered an undesirable
occupation, on the other however, the income it provides is quite desirable.
So what does this mean?
For years, vine-cultivation constituted practically the only occupational
alternative and was the primary means of survival. At the same time, the
production of edible grapes, raisins and wine was beginning to see an increase in demand, thus bringing a steady rise in production and profits. Of
course, one might say that this type of production monopolized the market
mainly due to the production of the ‘rozaki’ grape variety since, at that time,
other vine growing had not yet begun to be extensively practiced in Crete.
As a result, family standards of living increased and farming families could
now afford to offer their children a better education and financial support in
the hopes that they would ascend the social ladder by practicing a profession
of greater social caliber, is less strenuous than farming and provides a steady
income. Parents could continue to cultivate the land, thus ensuring a significant income, and their children could now practice another occupation, thus
expanding the occupational make-up and income of the family. After all, the
overall improvement in their children’s standard of living has always been
the pursuit of the Greek family, and occupational choices are usually the result of mutual decisions and common pursuits of both parents and children
(Kassimati, 1991). And so, today, for the young people of the village, farming is no longer viewed as an occupational prospect but rather, as an occupational alternative for those who could not or did not want to take advantage
of the available education prospects that would enable them to acquire either
technical, professional or academic knowledge, or even a university degree.
There are no more than 40 young people in the village (35 males, 5 female) aged up to 29 who own their own farmland (NSSG, census 2001).
There are far more young people who are occupied on the family farming
property but it is unclear whether this is their sole occupation. Therefore,
primary production occupies approximately 150 persons between the ages of
14 and 29. The boys, more than the girls, either choose to become or end up
becoming farmers, thus confirming that, by tradition, female employment in
the primary sector is both non-fixed and supplementary (NSSG, census
2001). Therefore, farming constitutes a male dominated employment sector.
However, the primary production sector is an area full of development
prospects and is able to provide employment. The production units in the
village are small, family-run and can easily become places of work for family members themselves. The tertiary sector employs a large number of persons, both in private-run and public services. However, this sector has
reached saturation point. Nevertheless, it constitutes the desired sector for
young people.
The greater job market of Heraklion with its 150,000 inhabitants (NSSG,
census 2001) and its economic activity in tourism, trade, agriculture, services
and small industry provides an alternative solution to the limited prospects of
the local economy and its inability to employ more young people in sectors
other than in farming. In fact, employment in Heraklion does not require relocating, unless of course some young people wish to do so. And so, on the
one hand, there is the farming land and, on the other, a ‘huge’ job market,
both of which make it all the more urgent for more jobs to be made available
in the village. Furthermore, this greater job market offers young people the
opportunity of aiming at occupations and pursuing studies regardless of
whether they practice them in the village or in Heraklion. The higher the
aims, the less pressure there is on the local job market. The less training and
knowledge acquired, the more pressure there is on the local market to create
more jobs.
3.4. Anogia and Archanes – their transition from tradition to
Anogia and Archanes are societies undergoing a transition from tradition to
modernity. Over time, they have been experiencing a series of changes in
their social structures due to the influence of the greater social surroundings.
One of the main characteristics of modern Greek society is the polarity of the
urban – rural world and regardless of whether it is considered a dichotomy
(Catrivesis, 1996) or a continuity (Redfield & Singer, 1971), it is characterized by constant interaction.
3.4.1. The study of the local-traditional community
When we study social structures and discuss a small community, we often
define it with characteristics opposite to those of an urban center: a society
where people know each other and maintain close relations, a society which
is based on kinship and family relations and has common identity awareness.
As it has been mentioned before, this is not a new schema. It has been expressed in many ways: ‘familial vs. individuated society’ (Maine, 1864),
‘societas vs. civitas’ (Morgan, 1878) ‘mechanical vs. organic solidarity’
(Durkheim, 1947), ‘Gemeinschaft vs. Gesellschaft’ (Tönnies, 1961). These
are differences that lead to differences in social structure formation among
rural-traditional communities and the ‘developed’ urban ‘western’ world.
Additionally, in ‘traditional’ societies, the economy very obviously constitutes part of the whole social formation, which could be seen as a cultural
element with the totalitarian concept of the term. Culture can be identified,
not as one level of society which is connected externally with other levels
such as the economy, but as a whole phenomenon which includes all these.
That is, culture is inherent with social structures. From its formation and its
structural position, the rural community composes part of a greater ‘whole’,
thus it has been characterized as a ‘part-society’ (Redfield, 1960). Being part
of the ‘whole’, it co-exists within other sub-systems and is associated with
them, in interaction and complementary relations (Nitsiakos, 1991).
When looking for definitions of the concept of community, we must not
limit our research to the residentially developed areas nor to the socioeconomic and administrative aspects that they reflect. This also has to do
with the sense and idea of a common belonging which is formed on the
grounds of specific social structures and relations, which also coincides with
a concrete ethos that rules community life. Collective ethos consists of a
group of values, rules and patterns of behaviour and constitutes an important
factor in the formation of society. It lies in the existing structures and simultaneously affects them, contributing this way to their reproduction and by
extension to the reproduction of the whole formation as a cultural unit. In
particular, specific patterns of social relations and behaviour which in time
assume their ultimate character, are of great as they function as symbols of
identity, social coherence and collective memory (i.e. mutual assistance and
solidarity) and they include the characteristic dimension of resistance to the
forces of change. The value system often appears to be more influential than
the materialistic one and determines social life. Karavidas (1981/1936)
points out that “... the community is the experience and conditions of being.
It is formed and prescribed only through life, through conditions which are
created spontaneously and autonomously. Community is the cast of factual
In acquiring a clear perspective of the community as a whole, one must
first define the concept of social structure, the system of norms and expectancies, ethos and the value system as they are equally important parts of
reality (Redfield, 1955). Furthermore, ethos, values and social structures,
when studied integrally, enable the further understanding of the development
of community spirit, which can survive even if the material equivalent, the
village, no longer exists17. Historical testimony regarding the organization of
the Anogia and Archanes communities is somewhat poor18. However, it is
adequate enough to enlighten us on the structure and the development of this
society. According to the descriptions given of the two villages, we may say
that self-sufficiency, solidarity and the community spirit were the dominant
values of these communities.
When studying these local communities in their passage through time,
one may ascertain that a series of changes have taken place as a result of the
communication between the villages and the outside world, the changes that
have taken place in Greek society and the diffusion of modernity to all levels
of life. The picture Anogia and Archanes presents today may surprise many
unsuspecting visitors who still regard these communities as ‘traditional’, but
it also causes surprise to a large number of its own inhabitants, those mainly
being the village seniors, who have witnessed highly accelerated changes
within their own life-time.
3.4.2. Anogia: a community in transition
Our search through time indicates that the social organization of this small
community had all the main characteristics of the traditional communities on
which previous significant studies were conducted in the 1960’s and 1970’s.
These characteristics are: the dominance of family and kinship ties in which
economic activity was embedded , while emphasis is put on solidarity and
In the early 1960s, Anglo-Saxon social anthropologists conducted the first ever studies of
Greek villages and used an approach which looked at the community as a united but ahistorical, isolated whole (Friedl, 1962, Mauss, 1979). Exceptions are, Campbell’s (1964)
study of the Sarakatsanous of Epiros that the actual character of their nomadic society dictated
diachronic and inter-social theories, as well as the studies worked out by Karavidas (1931,
Spanakis, 1983, Saulnier, 1987, Oikonomakis, 1998.
The embodiment or not of the economy in the greater social structures, directed Economic
Anthropology towards the establishment of a typology of economies. The embedded economies are those whose function is subordinated in greater networks of social relations (tradi-
self-sufficiency20, a strong sense of community spirit, commonly accepted
moral codes which carry the same weight as any judicial law, devotion to old
customs and traditions such as the inter-familial marriage system, fraternization or even the more rarely practiced custom of the vendetta.
Today, Anogia still maintains the strong elements of a traditional society
in the daily practices of its inhabitants. This comes as a result of experiences
from the recent past and the collective memories of those experiences which
stand the test of time. However, the social structures have undergone a series
of changes, the most important one being detaching the production process
from the family-kinship unit and replacing it with the development of a capitalistic production system. Through time, this transition from an embedded
economy to a disembedded one has changed all the characteristics of Anogia
as a traditional society21.
It is not easy to pinpoint when exactly these changes in the traditional
community began to take place because the community itself was not stagnant. It is certain, however, that the greatest wave of changes occurred after
the Second World War and intensified during the 1960’s and 1970’s. Each
day, new elements cause the past to be questioned and encourage a pressing
need for change, which can no longer be partial but total. It is only natural
that the relative isolation the community lived in for approximately 6 centuries led to a life-style of self-sufficiency as regards social and production
processes. Although family and community oriented self-sufficiency, as well
tional social structures) and the disembedded economies are those having totally been dissociated/disconnected and are autonomous from any kind of structures and relations (capitalist
20 An important finding in the studies of social structures was the ascertainment that kinship
played a dominant role in regulating social, economic, and political relations in traditional
societies. That, it led researchers to adopt the term “kinship societies”. The dominant role of
kinship relations, in which the economic functions were embedded, evoked a long-lasting
debate between Social Anthropologists and Marxists as regards the placement of the relations
of production at the level of kinship relations. This debate was to be overturned after Godelier
(1977) introduced the distinction between the hierarchy of functions and the hierarchy of
The classic typology of Polanyi (1957) determines three economic systems, based on the
mechanisms of the market: Those based on the mechanisms of reciprocity and are ruled by
kinship relations. Economies based on mechanisms of re-distribution where one center of
authority receives contributions from sub-production units and re-distributes them afterwards,
and economies which are isolated from any social function of the free market. Daltons’
(1971) proportional scheme is marketless economies, peripheral or petty market, market
dominated economies.
as solidarity, were determined by what life’s realities forced on them, it
clearly constituted a dominating factor in all business or financially oriented
Through time and due to the pressure placed on them by history as well as
by the greater social changes, the village continually developed adaptability
strategies which would ensure its survival. The last few decades have perhaps constituted one of the most crucial periods for the on-going development of this community. The changes and transformations have taken place
“in part, under great and constant pressure, they have created violent unrest
and conflicts but also steadfast persistence and resistance” (Papaioannou,
1998:11). It is a clash between tradition and modernity already underway, or
in Papaioannou’s words:
“This almost ‘violent’ change in objective conditions when opening up and exposing a relatively isolated community to an arena,
thus causing it to become progressively drawn to the free market
mentality, ultimately comes in direct conflict with the value systems and culture which remain steadfast and unchanged in its
traditional place in time. This creates misinterpretations, retractions and an aggressive predisposition, which results in their
‘safeguarding’ and defending themselves against this “invasion
of modernization” (Papaioannou, 1998:12).
But what are those experiences and collective memories urging these people
to strongly resist the changes of the last few decades? Contemporary researchers (Papaioannou & Alheit, 1995) claim that in the case of Anogia’s
local community, one will face an extremely contradictory situation of collective memories. On the one hand, the local community represents a premodern culture based on cattle-raising, with strong ties to religious and local
traditions. Established forms of traditional knowledge and practice like folksongs, poems, village and family stories, or even the blood feud tradition,
age-old skills and old wives’ tales maintain intuitive links to action schemes
and time schedules of everyday life. On the other hand, this community has
undergone rapid political and administrative transformation during the last
three decades, in correspondence with the changes in the national formation.
The organization of local government is highly professional and intensively
modernized, while the economic framework remains the same. New institutionalized systems for the interpretation of the social world made their appearance like law, science, arts, and religion. Social and political theories
constitute a theoretical context for interpreting the local community, every63
day patterns and propose future development. Furthermore, the mass media
play an important role in controlling people’s opinion and memory. This
contradiction reproduces different and, in many cases, completely opposite
social representations. As I see it, the local community is trapped between
tradition and modernity while collective memory is soaked in tradition.
3.4.3. Archanes: a community in transition
Even though Archanes presents itself as a traditional settlement, a researcher
would find it difficult to characterize it as such in the literal sense of the term
“traditional”. Like Anogia, it is a society undergoing transition from tradition to modernity. This is to be expected if we take into consideration the
recent history of the village and the initiatives taken by its residents towards
that aim from the beginning of the 1900’s, not to mention the more general,
institutional, administrative, economic and social modernization of the country which began to gain ground after the war and up to the 1960’s and
1970’s, thus enabling the country in the 1980’s to unfalteringly focus on, and
eventually gain, complete integration in the EU. There is no doubt that central modernizing policies greatly influence and play a decisive role in the
overall growth of a place. Archanes appears to be the type of community that
is open to change, or at the very least, does not seem to strongly resist it. It
seems that ‘progress’ has always constituted an objective, if not for all the
residents, at least for a great number and certainly for their elected Municipal
As in the case of Anogia, it is not easy to pinpoint the exact time at which
these changes began to take place in Archanes since the very community in
which these changes occurred, is not static. From what we know of its history, this community has never lived in complete isolation. In one way or
another, it has always managed to maintain and encourage communication
with the ‘outside’ world. This became more intense at the turn of the 20th
century when its people began to enjoy freedom, independence and economic prosperity. Communication appears to have been an essential part of
their very survival, growth and progress for the simple reason that they had
to venture beyond the confounds of their village in order to sell their produce
of oil, grapes, raisins and wine. Therefore, trade, being a vital means of survival, constituted perhaps the basic reason for which the community of Archanes, or at least some of its male residents, maintained constant communication with the greater area and chiefly with the nearest urban centre, Heraklion, a city it has even ‘tried’ to emulate. This communication with the outside world was to expand even further with the migratory wave at the beginning of the 20th century, but here too, the basic changes took place after the
Second World War, and particularly during the 1970’s and 1980’s, with the
gradual mechanization of production, which brought about the overall development and growth of Greek society. Moreover, it is during this postwar
period that the young people of the village, mainly upper and middle class,
began to further their studies by gaining a high school diploma and even pursuing academic studies.
However, despite the fact that Archanes was undergoing constant social
change, it still managed to maintain all the characteristics of a small community whose residents know each other, have close relations, rely on family
relations and define themselves by their place of origin and a mutual awareness of ‘belonging’. Despite the rapid steps taken toward modernization on a
social, economic and administrative level, the overall idiosyncrasy of the
people, as well as their ‘rules’ of communication dictated by an age-old system of values and ethics, has remained unchanged through the course of
time. Even if the existing testimony does not suffice for a thorough look into
the past of this community, we can say that community spirit, solidarity, and
a desire for development and growth, were the elements that characterized
this rural community and, to a large extent, still do.
So, what does all this mean to the young people’s lives and occupational
Chapter 4: Young people in Anogia and Archanes – the
role of education
4.1. Introduction
Let us now look at the role of education in choosing occupation and in finding employment as regards the youth within rural areas.
According to Tsoukalas (1992), the formation of the Greek urban setting
can be attributed to the gradual shifting of rural populations and among others, to the relocation of the young people from rural-farming areas of both
small and medium size property ownership. Tsoukalas (1992) develops the
view that rural masses leaving the land and turning from physical work to a
social category which requires at least a minimum of education, found the
technical preparatory tools for such a new classification within the school
system. His study looks into these phenomena from the beginning to the
middle of the 20th century. Interestingly enough, it has been ascertained that
those only completing elementary school, do not seem to make up any part
of urban concentration (Tsoukalas, 1992). Given the fact that we are at the
beginning of the 21st century, we could correspondingly say that even today,
the completion of compulsory education, that is, three added school years of
high school, does not encourage relocation22.
Education in Greece is compulsory for all children 6-15 years old. It includes primary education that lasts 6 years (Dimotiko) and lower secondary education (Gymnasio), elsewhere
known as high school that lasts 3 years. Children are admitted at the age of 6. Postcompulsory education, according to the reform of 1977, consists of two school types: general
lyceum that lasts 3 years and technological lyceum (TEE or as it has been re-named recently,
EPAL) that lasts 2 or 3 years. Post-compulsory education also includes vocational training
institutes (IEK), which provide a two year formal but unclassified level of education because
they accept both high school and lyceum/TEE graduates. Public higher education is divided
into universities and technological education institutes (TEI). Students are admitted to these
institutes according to their exam performance at a national level taking place in the third
grade of lyceum. Formal education is characterized by a fixed length of study, the possibility
of repetition and the award of a formal school-leaving certificate which carries official
The consolidation of the legal right to a compulsory nine-year education in Greece was enacted in 1964 (law 4379). It was then consolidated in the country’s new Constitution in 1975,
article 16. Since 1985, failure to enroll and attend school is considered by law to be a criminal
offence on the part of the child’s legal guardian. Ever since the nine-year education became a
right as well as an obligation, the issue of school dropouts became a matter of concern.
Additionally, in most EU countries, the unemployment rates are inversely
proportionate to the level of education (Hasan, 1994; Eurostat, 2000, 2004)).
That is, more education means less risk of unemployment and vice versa.
This is so because basic education determines the level of learning or the
studies to be pursued. Furthermore, career opportunities for placement in the
job market are certainly limited when one possesses poor schooling. The
direct association between the education level and unemployment is characteristic of the last decades. In an ongoing attempt to remain competitive in
today’s constantly shifting global market, businesses and economies require
a workforce with a wider range of qualifications that is able to constantly
update and adapt its technical knowledge and know-how to successfully correspond with all versatile forms of occupation (Rifkin, 1995). Consequently,
it is only logical that this trend would diminish the participation of nonspecialized workers in the modern-day work force. While there is the alternative route of professional training or further studies for graduates who
have completed their compulsory education, for those who have discontinued their compulsory education, almost all roads lead to a dead-end. These
young people are neither given the opportunity to make up for the gap in
their education, since all available job training programs require a gymnasium or lyceum diploma, nor are they able to certify their empirical knowledge. The inferior position they find themselves in is only further aggravated
by the fact that the labor market for non-specialized workers or for jobs requiring only basic qualifications is very small.
Anyway, in Greece, nowadays many of the young people who did not
complete their compulsory education are still able to find work in nonspecialized sectors such as family businesses and the farming industry
which, to this day, remains vast. This is borne out in the statistical surveys
which show that the percentage of these young people who are unemployed
is much lower than that of those who have completed either their secondary
or tertiary education (IRDAC, 1991; NSSG, census 1991, 2001).
In addition to these research findings, a study by Kassimati (1991) referring to the greater Greek area also concludes that the level of one’s education
is directly related to career choices. Kassimati also states that the level of
education one chooses to complete and, by extension, the career one chooses
to pursue, involves two contributing factors. The first concerns what is
termed as the micro-social environment, that is, one’s family, gender, values
and social class, while the second pertains to structural factors such as socioeconomic development, the education system and its relation to future
employment. Ambitions, expectations and preferences are shaped according
to these two factors, which play an important role as well.
"he micro-social environment effects, shapes and influences the choices
every individual makes. In the face of these choices, the various structural
factors define the prospects and limitations set by the social system itself.
What a person would like to do if provided with the ‘ideal’ conditions for
education and employment greatly differs from what that person will end up
pursuing, and ultimately doing, when faced with the conditions that really
exist. Career choices are not just shaped out of nowhere. On the contrary,
they are shaped within a given social-economic-cultural setting with specific
cultural stereotypes, given values concerning work and occupations, and
within a specific family environment. The individual gains social experiences which lead to his making choices according to the way he takes in,
interprets and communicates with his micro and macro environment. He acquires a practical sense of what must be done in a given situation, what
Bourdieu terms as “habitus” (Bourdieu & Passeron, 1996)23.
Coming back to the matter of education, aside from being the means by
which the farming population can change over from rural to urban communities (Tsoukalas, 1987), we can also see that it is a decisive factor which determines the career perspectives and choices of the young people. However,
not all members of society have the same degree of access to education.
Bourdieu mentions that the social classes less present in university education
are those which are more present within the economically active population
while, in relation to their father’s occupation, the lower the social class, the
greater their exclusion from university studies (Bourdieu & Passeron, 1996).
The lower the prestige of the field of study, the higher the number of students of lower social class are. Despite the constant ‘democratizing’ of societies and the easier access to education for all social classes, the education
system continues to be selective. In Greece, relative studies on the access to
higher education show that the students in the more prestigious fields of
study are mainly those belonging to the upper classes, while those in less
prestigious fields of study come from lower socio-economic classes (Fragoudaki, 1985). According to Bourdieu, the education system discriminates
Bourdieu considers social subjects to be equipped with a practical sense, an acquired system of preferences, judgment and discrimination principles (what we call taste). They are also
equipped with a system of permanent cognitive structures, which is mainly a product of incorporating the objective structures. These two factors shape the way one interprets a situation
and adjusts to it (Bourdieu & Passeron, 1996). Bourdieu himself, describes habitus as the
strategy-generating principle enabling agents to cope with unforeseen and ever-changing
situations…a system of lasting and transposable dispositions which, integrating past experiences, functions at every moment as a matrix of perceptions, appreciations and actions that
makes possible the achievement of diversified tasks.
in favor of those bestowed with an inherited ‘cultural asset’ which is handed
down, increased, decreased, or lost, and it bears the stamp of those who appropriate it in a legal and natural manner (Bourdieu & Passeron, 1996).
Studies on the cultural assets regarding parents’ education show that the parents’ academic accomplishments are directly related to those of their children (Egerton, 1997).
From all the above, we may conclude that a person’s education plays a
decisive role in the career prospects provided to him, and in the choices he is
allowed to make. Despite this knowledge, even today, there are still young
people who either drop out of compulsory education or fail to complete secondary (lyceum) schooling. Let us have e a look at the student dropout phenomenon in Greece and in Crete in particular.
4.2. The role of education in finding employment as well as in
shaping career prospects and career choices
Student dropouts in compulsory education are found to have dropped from
12.65 in 1998 to 6.09 per cent in 2001 and to 6.04 in 2005. At the lyceum
and technological lyceum (TEE), the dropout rates are at 3.32 and 20.28 per
cent respectively and together are estimated to be at 9.74 per cent. In total,
secondary school dropouts are estimated to be at 14-16 per cent. Boys drop
out of school more frequently than girls, while school dropouts are higher in
farming regions than they are in semi-urban and urban areas (Palaiokrasas,
1996a; Rouseas & Vretakou, 2006).
In Crete, the student dropout issue presents the bleakest picture in the
country throughout the level of secondary education. For the student body of
2000-01, it is estimated to be 8.3 per cent at the level of compulsory education, 4.8 per cent at the lyceum level and 23.2 per cent at the technological
lyceum, while school dropouts are higher for the boys than for the girls with
a proportion of 3/2. As to the overall region of Crete, evidence shows that
the highest dropout rates take place in semi-rural areas followed by farming
areas and finally, urban areas. Respectively, school abandonment in farming
areas is 9 per cent at the compulsory education level, 10.4 per cent at the lyceum level and 31.58 per cent at the technological lyceum level.
The Heraklion and Rethymnon prefectures are considered to be among
the prefectures with the highest and most persistent dropout rates, despite the
fact that these rates have noticeably decreased over the past twenty years.
This reduction in student dropouts is especially impressive when examining
the farming regions of both prefectures.
In searching for the reasons behind the decline in student dropouts in Greece,
we could mention, among other things, the improved access to knowledge
and information for those living in even the remotest of areas, the general
rise in the population’s level of education, the improvement in the financial
status of the family as well as in the efforts made towards readjusting and
updating courses of study and educational structures (Palaiokrasas, 1996b).
In searching for the causes of school dropouts, we can see that a multitude of factors have gone into creating this phenomenon: the low socioeconomic level of the family, the student’s premature involvement in work
and family employment, failure on the part of the parents to acknowledge the
value of education and their low expectations, students living in poor, secluded farming areas, health problems or bad family relations and, finally,
low academic performance and a negative attitude toward school, although
these last two are considered to be secondary factors (Rouseas & Vretakou,
Generally speaking, school abandonment is a crucial issue. Whatever the
reason may be, students who prematurely drop out of the education system
face the risk of unemployment, underemployment, being forced to work in
bad conditions, being subjected to social isolation and acquiring a negative
self-image, all of which may have dire effects on their individual and social
lives. Fortunately, Greece is one of those countries where, for the most part,
these consequences do not come into play as they do in other European
countries and young people are at a lesser risk of experiencing extreme
forms of social isolation due to strong family ties and solidarity among its
members (Karamesini, 2004; Papadopoulou, 2004)
We could say that the great deviations in dropout tendencies that appear
among the geographical districts of the island usually have to do with the
premature involvement of the young people in the tourist trade as well as in
agriculture. The young from rural districts come from parents with a low
level of education and are mostly farmers and cattle raisers. These young
people were involved in their parents’ occupation from school age. Boys
who abandon compulsory education do so in order to assist their parents in
their occupations or to contribute to the deficient family income. On the
other hand, the girls do so either to get married or to help around the house
or even sometimes because the parents, mainly the father, expresses the traditional view that girls do not need to study or work (Palaiokrasas, 1996a).
4.3. The young people of Anogia and education
When considering the findings from the previously mentioned studies, as
well as the low percentage of unemployment on the island24, it seems that the
main reasons for this dropout phenomenon are the involvement of these
young people in the economic activities of their parents in the primary sector, the availability of jobs in the tourist trade as well as the youth involvement with other technical jobs. In other words, they are mainly reasons that
have more to do with economic prosperity and ensuring a professional outlet
than with the need to help out the family or due to a lack of educational
structures. According to the 2005 survey (Rouseas & Vretakou, 2006), the
student drop-out rate at the gymnasium of Anogia is 26 per cent, while a previous study estimated it to be 19 per cent (Vuidaskis, 1996). This clearly
indicates an increase in the phenomenon over the last decade.
The gymnasium of Anogia lies in the only rural town of the prefecture.
"he student body is made up of youngsters from the primary schools of
Anogia (55%), as well as of youngsters originating from schools from
nearby mountainous regions (45%). It is estimated that 70 individuals are
enrolled at the gymnasium every academic year. Of them, more are boys
(53%) while less are girls (47%), (Vuidaskis, 1996, school archives, 2000).
This reflects a more general phenomenon. The patriarchal social structures
of Crete and Greek society in general, considered education to be the exclusive prerogative of boys. Additionally, the school dropout figure is much
higher for the boys (68%) than it is for girls (32%). When comparing this
with the dropout figure in the prefecture of Rethymnon, the Anogian boys
are ranked among the first to abandon school whereas the girls are among
the last. In overall figures, the girls who ended up graduating from gymnasium outnumbered the boys. The girls in Anogia make the most of their right
to a gymnasium education far more than the boys do. The majority of the
boys seem to view this right as a burdensome obligation which they usually
try to rid themselves of as soon as possible. The school dropout rate in
Anogia, one of the highest in the prefecture, can be mainly attributed to the
boys and not to girls.
Student dropouts, with whatever this entails for the future of these young
people, should probably be linked to the socialization processes within the
family and community, to the occupational and educational status of the parents, as well as to the opportunities and expectations of the young concern24
According to the NSSG: 2001, the unemployment rate in Crete over the last decade ranges
from 3.8% to 5.8% and is one of the lowest in the country.
ing job placement. At this point, let us look into data on the educational level
of the population of Anogia.
When studying the data (NSSG, census 1991, 2001), one may ascertain
that the population’s participation in education rises as the age groups decline, with a noticeable rise in the participation of women. Of the inhabitants
who are 40 and over, 96 per cent are either primary school graduates or did
not complete primary school, or are illiterate. Within this age group, women
have a much lower educational level. The whole setting changes as we descend the age scale. The majority of the population between 25 and 39 years
of age graduated from primary school, some completed their compulsory
education, while 20 per cent have completed lyceum and 10 per cent are
higher education graduates. This means that the 1980’s marked an advent in
change regarding the community’s attitudes toward education. As regards
the attitudes of the two sexes, it is noteworthy to mention that the female
population is slightly superior to the male one in their participation at all levels of education and the degree at which they participate increases as we further descend the age scale (NSSG, census 1991, 2001). Finally, when looking at the youngest group in the ladder, 15 to 24 years of age, we notice that
all of them complete their primary school education. However, 1/3 of the
population does not proceed to a higher level, while 1/4 of the population
goes on to complete compulsory education. As we go up the education scale,
the girls continue to outnumber the boys. However, the numbers of University graduates of either sex are about the same. In general, the supremacy of
the girls in this case is clear and constant. Even in Anogia, there has been a
clear decline in certain traditional patriarchal structures which dictate that a
girl’s place is in the home.
Generally speaking, the last thirty years have indicated a rise in the educational assets of the village. However, even the completion of compulsory
education for all young people is far from being a given fact, even more so
when it comes to completing lyceum. The fact that boys drop out of school
more frequently than girls is indicative of their premature involvement in
cattle-raising or the family business. The fact that the girls are more determined to continue their schooling is probably because they see education as
the only means by which they could become professionally active. For some,
schooling is continued even if this means leaving the village, for others because this means leaving the village.
The relevant data (NSSG, census 1991, 2001) confirms the above trends.
The young between 15-24 years of age make up approximately 20 per cent
of the economically active population25 of the village. Of those, 74 per cent
are employed while the rest are unemployed. When looking at this in terms
of gender, the economically active young male population is three times
greater than that of females and the number of working young men is five
times greater. Unemployment for girls totals 50 per cent of this population
while for boys it is only about 15 per cent. If we look at the economically
non-active population of these ages we may ascertain that the girls are three
times greater in number than the boys. Comparatively, this means that the
girls follow a longer course of preparation in all formal education institutions
before searching for job placement. It is also indicative of the lack of job
positions in the village for the female population.
In conclusion, we may say that despite their common origin and common
concerns, the young people in Anogia differ in the attitudes they adopt towards education and school. When considering all the above, we can see that
this will affect their occupational choices and, by extension, their life plans
and their courses of action. The two genders seem to have diverging views
when looking at education as a means used for fulfillment of their occupational pursuits and strategies. On the one hand, we have the vast majority of
the male population who follow traditional practices in seeking occupation,
while on the other hand, we have the vast majority of the young female
population who use education as a means for relocation and as a precondition for job placement. Young females seem to be vehicles of change much
more than young males do.
4.4. The young people of Archanes and education
For the community of Archanes, a more detailed study was conducted as
regards schooling and school abandonment since the situation there is more
complex and the trends are not as clear as they are in the schools of Anogia.
The total number of students registered in each of the academic years between 1990 and 2000 at the high school in Archanes is estimated to be 80
individuals (school archives, 1990-2000)26. More boys (52%) than girls
We consider an economically active population to be the people between 15 and 65 years
old who do not suffer from any physical or mental health problems at a percentage higher
than 67%. Moreover, they do not attend school or any other kind of education at any level,
unless if they want to work parallel to their education.
In order to ascertain the attitude of the young towards compulsory and Lyceum education,
the Archanes high school and lyceum files were kindly made available for investigation. The
student mobility over a ten-year period was recorded, from 1990-91 until 1999-00. We should
(48%) enroll. Of them, the vast majority (86%) graduates, 8 per cent do not
complete their compulsory schooling, while 6 per cent, mostly boys, transfer
to other gymnasiums and their progress is unknown to us. Although more
boys than girls enroll at the high school, the number of girls who graduate is
slightly higher. The percentage of drop-outs for the boys is 9.5 while for the
girls it is 5.7. Of the students who graduate high school, only 88 per cent of
them seem to have enrolled for further studies at the lyceum of Archanes. In
fact, 47 per cent are boys and 53 per cent are girls. Therefore, while more
boys than girls enroll in gymnasium, fewer end up graduating, and even
fewer move on to lyceum. Perhaps this is because they move on to technological lyceums, or most probably, to vocational training schools or enter the
job market.
An interesting piece of qualitative data is the students’ performance rate.
Most of the students graduated with low or average grades while the girls’
school performance is far better than that of the boys. It appears that the girls
put in more effort, are more studious and determined to succeed in graduating from high school with the best possible grade.
The number of students to enroll at the lyceum of Archanes every academic year is estimated at approximately 60 individuals, 44 per cent are boys
and 56 per cent are girls. Of them, 73 per cent graduate, 13 per cent drop out,
while 14 per cent, mostly boys transfer to other schools or attend technical
institutes and night schools. We may observe that the number of students
dropping out of lyceum is almost double that of high school. The drop-out
rate for boys is 16 per cent while for the girls, it is 9 per cent.
As regards the performance rate, the vast majority of the students seem to
strive for the completion of their lyceum studies since these are also a prerequisite for pursuing academic studies. The performance rate of girls is
much higher than that of boys, and the girls once again prove more focused
on completing their studies.
In conclusion, we could say that the drop-out rate in Archanes is rather
high and it is the boys who drop out of high school or lyceum more frequently.
At this point, let us see what appears to be the educational level of the local population. Of the inhabitants who are 45 and over, 84 per cent are either
point out here that these schools are not attended exclusively by students from Archanes, although they do make up the overwhelming majority, but they are also attended by young people from smaller neighboring farming villages. Therefore, the data also refers to young people
in the greater farming region.
elementary school graduates, did not complete primary school or are illiterate. Within this age group, there are more women at the lower educational
level. The educational level of the population rises the further we descend
the age scale. Between the ages of 25 and 44, 35 per cent are either elementary school graduates or did not complete primary school or are illiterate, 42
per cent completed compulsory schooling, or are lyceum graduates, 22.3 per
cent have moved on to further education and 1.2 per cent have pursued academic studies. The situation has reversed for women, with their educational
level now being much higher than that of men. This change in the population’s educational level first began in the mid 1970’s. Finally, the further we
descend the age scale, the more we see a steady rise in the educational level
of the community and a higher level of education in women as opposed to
men. In fact, within the 20-24 age group, 17 per cent have only completed
elementary school, 16 per cent have gone as far as completing compulsory
education, 46 per cent are lyceum graduates, 15 per cent of the population
have pursued higher non-academic studies, while 6 per cent are university
graduates (NSSG, census 2001).
Another element that may offer further insight into the attitude of the
young people towards education and its use as a means of securing employment would be to find out how many of them succeed in entering higher
education. On average, every year, 33 students gain entry to tertiary education, 14 boys and 19 girls; that is 35 per cent of lyceum students who further
their studies at university and whose career prospects are more certain. We
may note that the girls seem to have greater success in entering higher education and universities as opposed to the boys (school archives 1990-2002).
What fields of study do the young people of Archanes choose to pursue?
26 per cent choose to pursue theoretical studies, with the girls making up the
overwhelming majority. These fields of study mainly lead to public sector
employment or salary paying jobs. Another 46 percent of them choose to
pursue studies in the exact sciences. This preference is equally shared by
both sexes; 25 per cent pursue studies in the field of economics. Here too,
the numbers regarding gender deviate very little. Studies in the exact sciences and in economics also lead to independent self-employment.
Another element for further evaluation is the degree of difficulty for entrance to the total schools of study. A trend seems to be forming in that the
boys, as opposed to the girls, are those who gain entrance to schools of study
with high or very high grade requirements. When taking into account the
girls’ better performance in school and success rate for entering university as
opposed to the boys, this somewhat contradictory trend could be interpreted
as follows: the boys, more than the girls, strive to pursue studies that lead to
high-powered professional careers. The girls are more inclined than the boys
to choose occupations that offer job security and set working hours.
Furthermore, of the young inhabitants aged 10 to 24, the economically
active population is twice fewer than the economically non-active. Most
likely, 2/3 of the young in this age group attend some level of education,
academic or otherwise. Far more boys are employed (64%) than girls (36%)
and unemployment is lower for them than it is for the girls. Within the 20-24
age group, the non-active female population is double the non-active male
population. This data also constitutes evidence of the trends we have come to
ascertain throughout the study. The trends indicate that the girls in this farming community follow a longer course of preparation for their entrance to the
job market, their employment prospects being far fewer than those for the
boys. Marriage constitutes the alternative solution for the girls. Of the 55
young people who have gotten married, 46 of them are girls (NSSG, census
Conclusively, we could say that most of the young people of Archanes,
with the girls outnumbering the boys, use education as a way of acquiring
the means that will help them gain access to the job market sectors of their
choice. However, there are also those, the majority being boys, who abandon
basic or even secondary education, and either turns towards farming occupations or technical occupations. The girls of this category have fewer job
prospects, and marriage constitutes an outlet for them.
4.5. Young people in Anogia and Archanes caught between tradition and modernity.
The ‘life plan’ includes aspects such as education, career orientation, employment, marriage, family, social circles, leisure time and so on. The ‘life
plan’ does not simply appear out of nowhere. Individuals shape their future
perspectives in given environments and by interacting with others in habitual
ways (Caspi, Bern & Elder, 1989; Lerner, 1982). At the same time, their actions are influenced by demands and opportunities afforded by the social
context (Hogan & Astone, 1986). We may therefore say that there are plans
that are accessible and, then again, there are plans that are off limits. As a
result, each young person handles his/her problems in their own subjective
way. Thus, how they perceive the social opportunities and limitations ultimately determines their course of action. More specifically, their chosen
course of action is determined by how they perceive their social reality and
what they are willing to do for themselves with regard to this reality.
It is logical to surmise that the young, more than any other age group in
these communities, experience the contradictions arising from the coexistence of tradition and modernity. It is either the one or the other social
representation that dominates while in truth, they co-exist either as a contradiction or a counterbalance as regards conscience. It is within this realm of
contrast that they must decide upon their future. They must weigh the potential gains and losses of either choice, as well as their own desires before deciding on their own future and professional pursuits.
If we look at these contrasts from a standpoint of values, we could say
that conflict involves two points of reference. On the one hand, we have the
local community and the dominance/acceptance of the tradition and the values of the ‘traditional’ family27 while, on the other hand, we have the models
of modern society and the values of the ‘modern’ family. According to
Georgas (1990:19), values represent “the clear or implied perception of what
is desired, this being characteristic of an individual or of a certain group, and
influences one’s choice of models, means and actions within society”. The
word ‘desired’ signifies that values refer to conceptual categories, ideas and
types of behavior deemed by society as being desired. They also have to do
with the individual’s conscious or subconscious perception of the past.
The more stable and constant values remain over the course of time, the
more central a role they play in forming the social behavior and attitudes of
the individual. This is because the values become deeply rooted in the individual’s conscience, which means that any violation of them would create
great upset within the psychic/emotional mechanism of the individual. However, when we find ourselves within a period of change in social structure,
According to Kataki’s study, in rural Greece, the extended family and the co-inhabitance of
at least three generations constituted the social rule. The main aim of the traditional family is
to ensure a means of livelihood and that the goals of one member are in no way different from
those of the whole group. The basic values that characterize relations within the group are
mutuality, cooperation, interdependence and mettle, all of which are a result of the steady
interdependence and mutual interaction of the society. The roles to be taken on by the members are clear, mutually accepted and come with a clearly defined and predetermined behavioral code. The family must be considered by the community as having one identity which in
turn, is determined by the position and role of the family within the community, as well as by
the position and role of the family’s next-of-kin (kindred). Within the family, emphasis is
placed on similarities and there is no room or time for disagreement or differentiation. The
methods of communication among family members are strongly dependent on references
regarding what ‘must be’, what ‘we believe’ as a family as well as on unquestionable values
and principles. Interaction among members of the family is constant and permanent (Kataki,
this being the case in Greece over the last decades, especially regarding the
rural areas, then as a result, there will be changes in social values. One consequence of this may be a complex series of inner conflicts because the value
system is unstable. Values, which were once considered staunch and prominent, are now put into question due to the invasion of modernity on rural
communities. Young people, who are still going through the process of socialization, are called upon to answer such dilemmas as, where do I belong?
Where should I belong? Where do I want to belong? Where can I belong?
Where am I forced to belong? For many, answering these questions is no
easy matter.
Each individual belongs to a certain group or groups which deeply influences him/her. Such groups include the family, local society, national society
and so on. It is considered that the smaller groups such as the family, the
local community, in Tönnies’ terms Gemeinschaft, have a greater impact on
the behavior/attitudes of the individual than that of the abstract, impersonal,
de-localized social institution, in Tönnies’ terms Gesellschaft. Small and
relatively closed rural communities where traditional values are practically
the sole source of influence in the lives of former generations have allowed
their members to form strong interaction, while assimilation of the external
influences comes from big, de-localized communities.
Thus, despite their having been raised in traditionally structured families,
the young people of Anogia and Archanes, are themselves the carriers/bearers of new trends of social perception either because this is a conscious choice or due to their need for survival within the newly formed social setting. The incompatibility between the ‘traditional’ family and social
evolution eventually turns into incompatibility among/between the generations. Nowadays, the once dominant role of the group unit gives way to the
individual who sets his own aims for self-activation, self-accomplishment
and free expression (Kataki, 1998). Modern society demands that its members ‘grow up’. For many, this constitutes a challenge while for others, a
threat. Within this new setting which has been stripped of the protective, traditional family shield, man is called upon to search for his own way of life.
In following his own individual course, he must determine the means and
ways in which he will interact so as to satisfy his personal needs and desires.
The greater the variety of choices, the more difficult it is for him to determine exactly what he wants or what his needs are.
The dilemma regarding how one should deal with issues concerning the
future does not exist solely within the bounds of Anogia and Archanes, but is
a rather general phenomenon. This dilemma appears as a result of the globalized economy and culture and causes one to wonder how each individual
responds to these changes. It is certain that people do not experience or decipher social conditions in the same way and therefore, do not adopt the same
life plans. As concerns the nonmetropolitan youth, we may say that, over the
last decades, rural communities have experienced economic decline due to
global market trends and a reorganization of farming (Freudenberg, 1992).
Consequently, many face declining occupational opportunities in their hometown communities (Hobbs, 1994) which in turn causes economic uncertainty
to have a negative impact on their aspirations for the future (Wilson & Peterson, 1988). Thus, its little wonder why for such closed or small communities, values, customs and identity are of the utmost importance to the individual.
It is now clear that here too, the young people of Anogia and Archanes
have, over the past few decades, been growing up in a society which has
been undergoing continuous social and economic change which interacts
with its members’ culture28 and differentiates it from the past. They are
brought up and socialized in a society that both maintains its ‘traditional’
characteristics, and adopts important elements of a more contemporary urban
and globalized society, which, as it appears, currently finds itself in a state of
fluidity and transition. Once again, the questions that arise are: How do the
young people of these villages see this social reality? What prospects and
limitations do they feel it sets? How do they deal with it, and to what extent
do they end up pursuing their life plan and chosen occupation?
In Chapter 5, the method of the empirical study is presented. It is the twostep case study and the chapter presents my arguments for it, the material
used, the data collection methods, the choice of data analysis as well as the
ethical considerations of the study.
The term ‘culture’ is used here to describe a common basis of knowledge, values and common behavioral codes which are the result of the social structure and the course through history with which the people have been bred and have come to regard as being a normal way of
life (Hodkinson & Sparkes 1997).
Chapter 5: Research Methods
In this part of the study, the empirical research is presented. That is, the research that took place in the field of the communities of Anogia and Archanes, and addresses the young people of the villages, so as to gather primary data as regards the two questions posed in the study. Those are:
The occupational orientations and choice of occupation of the young
people within the communities of Anogia and Archanes.
The main contextual factors that contribute to the young people’s occupational orientations and choice of occupation in Anogia and Archanes.
Consequently, this means that the study’s main as well as initial phenomena
of interest are the occupational orientations and choice of occupation of
these young people, as well as the main factors that contribute to this process.
5.1. Research strategy
The overall approach is a qualitative inquiry consisting of two case studies.
The small number of cases enables an in-depth investigation as well as an indepth analysis (Creswell, 1998) and allows the researcher to contextualise
the issue well (Glaser & Strauss, 1967, 1970). The study is an exploratory-descriptive as well as an explanatory one (Marshall & Rossman, 1995),
aiming at a systematic study of social reality as regards the occupational orientations and choices of young people in the specific settings. More specifically, by being an exploratory study, it aims at investigating and understanding the occupational choices young people make and it seeks to identify and
discover the main contributing factors. By being a descriptive one, it aims at
documenting the phenomenon of interest, this being the occupational orientations and choices of the young people, while making it comprehensible and
therefore capable of arriving at findings that can shed light on the research
questions. Additionally, the study aims at giving possible explanations as
regards the young peoples’ occupational choices and at identifying plausible
factors shaping their choices (Marshall & Rossman, 1995). In all, the specific research strategy chosen is well-advised due to the complex investigation of the subject under study and because the research should be carried
out in real social settings. This strategy enables the detection and assessment
of the dominant factors of the phenomenon, of the general tendencies that
characterise possible relations among these factors and also enables rational
inferences (Paraskevopoulos, 1993; Marshall & Rossman, 1995).
5.2. The value of the study
“A case study is not a methodological choice, but a choice of object to be
studied” (Stake, 1994:236). Additionally, “a case study is both the process of
learning about the case and the product of our learning” (Stake, 1994:236).
The study is interested in a thorough and deep consideration as to how the
occupational situation and the occupational perspectives of young people
within the two specific communities, those of Anogia and Archanes, represent themselves. The settings themselves form two cases of intrinsic interest.
However, the serious question that is always posed in such cases concerns
the applicability and the possibilities to generalize from the findings. Although it is known that “the sample of one, weakly represents the larger
group of interest” (Stake, 1994:243), it can be claimed that the phenomenon
of interest observable in a case, can represent the phenomenon generally
(Miles & Huberman, 1994). The dilemmas faced by the young people of
Anogia or Archanes are not unique for these villages only. Along with the
internationalization of economy and culture, this is an important topic for
research where the focus is on how individuals experience these changes.
These characteristic cases are not much different from many other cases
on Crete, where 48 per cent of its population lives in rural areas (NSSG, census 1991, 2001), with strong roots in tradition and rapid changes taking place
in their society due to the diffusion of modernity. The study may shed light
on how tradition and modernity affect the occupational choices of young
people living in rural areas. In mentioning the above, the study does not
claim that these case-studies are an advanced generalization. Instead, its
value lies in refining the theory and further discussing it, in suggesting complexities for further investigation, as well as in helping to establish the limits
of generalization. A comparison with other findings taken from international
research constitutes an important factor enabling us to further assess the
value of the present study. At the same time however, due to the transformations and drastic changes that are currently taking place in these specific social settings, they can also form cases of vital interest. This means that the
cases can provide insight into the study of the phenomenon and in the refinement of the surrounding theory (Stake, 1994).
5.3. The procedure used in conducting the empirical study
This study was conducted in two phases. The first phase involved studying
the community of Anogia while the second phase involved the study of Archanes. The reasons for which these two communities were chosen could be
summed up as follows:
As we have previously mentioned, the chosen settings constitute two
typical rural communities in Crete both of which are cases of intrinsic interest since their societies, despite their being steeped in tradition, show clear
and evident signs of a modernity that has invaded the local communities and
has affected the lives of all their inhabitants as well as the social structures
and institutions.
The decision to study a relatively secluded mountainous cattle-raising
community and a flatland farming community located in close proximity to a
large urban centre, would enable us to ascertain the possible existence of
substantial similarities or differences in the occupational prospects created
for the youth, the deciding factors that come into play concerning their
choice of occupation, as well as the reasons for these similarities or differences. Additionally, these two communities were chosen so that the study
may show different aspects of the ‘rural’ due to differentiation in history,
culture, traditions, ethics, community spirit, location, etc.
The first study took place in Anogia, a community of greater anthropological interest. The findings, reported by Ratsika in 2001 are derived from a
single case study that increased our understanding of the consequences of
modernity on youth in rural areas. In considering the limitations of this specific community, a second case study followed whose field of study constitutes a community with comparable similarities but also fundamental differences with that of Anogia, the case of Archanes.
Anogia’s case study was used as an instrumental case. The study which
was conducted, fulfilled the aims of the research and gave answers to the
research questions posed, thus proving to have been fruitful and proficient.
Future relative case studies could be based on a similar study approach and
methodology. In fact, the second phase of the study was based on the first
initial case study of Anogia in terms of the form and methodology used. This
similarity could enable the direct comparison between the two settings.
The findings from the second study could either serve to corroborate the
findings from the first, thus enhancing the generalizing qualities of the entire
study, or weaken them, thus enabling us only to look at them as cases of intrinsic interest. The second field study on the community of Archanes was
conducted in order to ascertain whether the Anogia study findings are respective of other farming communities and thus have a more general value.
5.4. Material used
There were indeed many sources from which data could be obtained thus
providing answers to the research questions the study posed. The primary
data was obtained through semi-structured interviews with the youth of both
villages and is further analyzed below. However, other means were also used
for the completion of the study.
Elite interviews were conducted in both communities so as to gather a
wider range of information as regards the two settings. As regards the student dropout phenomenon, the study by Vuidaskis (1977) was used as well
as relative data from the schools’ archives of Anogia and Archanes.
Finally, it should be mentioned that my participation in the International
post-graduate Summer School at the University of Crete’s department of
Sociology gave me the opportunity, over a four-year period, to spend 15
days in the community of Anogia taking part in small, on-the-spot research
from which material was used for the present study. Furthermore, the close
collaboration between the department of Social Work at TEI Crete where I
teach and the local authorities and social services in the community of Archanes has enabled me to make frequent visits to the village and get to know
it as an insider. Both settings were familiar to me. Although this may appear
to be an advantage, one inevitably stumbles on the problem of preunderstanding. In all research, we are called upon to deal with our preconceived notions in order to remain open, to recognize prejudices in order to
avoid their effects upon data collection, data analysis as well as conclusions
in research (Nyström & Dahlberg, 2001). Being aware of this problem, I
started my study with as open a mind as possible, trying to remain receptive
and theoretically sensitive (Starrin et al., 1997). In so doing, I used different
methods for data collection while trying to use all my senses during this pro29
In Anogia, discussions took place with the president of the dairy co-op, the manager of the
youth centre, the town’s social worker, the president of AKKO-M as well as with the high
school and lyceum principals. Respectively, in Archanes, discussions took place with the
director of the organization for social and communicative policy of the local aauthorities, with
the president of the union of integrated management of grape-wine, the high school and lyceum principals, one social worker of the municipality’s social services and with Mr Christidis, a teacher, historian and writer who is also the president of the cultural association.
cess. Finally, I tried to maintain equal balance between distance and closeness to the settings, the participants and the phenomenon in question (Starrin
et al., 1997). Induction is dominant during this phase of the study.
5.5. Data collection methods
5.5.1. Interviewing method
An interviewing method was employed for gathering information. Through
interviews, one “can yield rich sources of data on people’s experiences,
opinions, aspirations and feelings” (May, 1993:91). This was exactly what
the study wanted to find out: how the target population experiences the influence of tradition and modernity upon them, and their own feelings and
orientations/choices as regards their occupational situation. On the other
hand, this method is greatly limited when used as the sole way of gathering
information. Data does not reflect the “real world” but “how individuals
make sense of their social world and act within it” (May, 1993:108) and
what their perspectives are on events. This minimizes the external reality and
maximizes the internal one.
There are a few arguments one can pose as concerns ‘objectivity’. Firstly,
it has already been mentioned that the interest of this study is on how young
people cope with society, how they experience social conditions and
changes, which are a ‘real fact’. Berger and Luckmann (1967) make it clear
that people in interplay create society and that the acquired perception of this
society is constructed. This holds true even when we talk about science and
theories; consequently scientific truth is never absolutely objective or
incontestable. Truth is relative. It is constructed in the research process and
different opinions are open to struggle or negotiation. The premise given us
by Berger and Luckmann describes the dialectic between what is objective
and subjective. “Society is an objective reality but also subjectively
perceived and created” (Dahlgren et al., 2004:17). So, this method can
provide data that answer these questions. Secondly, since these are two case
studies of intrinsic interest, generalization is not a first priority, despite the
previously discussed potential it may offer. Finally, the theoretical part of the
study and particularly the study of the community may provide secondary
validity to the data and the final discussion will enable us to talk about
objectivity as regards the data obtained.
5.5.2. The content of the interviews
Five main general topics were defined, derived from both literature and ex30
perience , and the interviews were structured around them. Those are: description of the family, discussion about school life, discussion about work
opportunities offered in Anogia or Archanes, occupational status, orientations and expectations young people have, and finally, discussion about the
social setting. A schema had been prepared with all possible questions included. This was for consolidating and ensuring that all the necessary information would be collected, rather than a schema which would be followed
strictly. On the contrary, the purpose was for all the interviews to flow as
conversation while focusing on the five predetermined thematic areas and, at
the same time, remaining open to any unexpected information. Here, I would
like to point out that the interviews held with the young people of Archanes
proved to be richer in content. This is mainly due to the fact that the phenomenon of the study seems to be more complex in its description and investigation concerning Archanes as opposed to Anogia. Of course, one important contributing factor was the experience and knowledge I had acquired
from the first study.
Generally speaking however, my main aim when conducting all the
interviews was to ensure a “thick description” on the ‘narrations’ of the
participants. This in turn could make possible a “thick description” and understanding in balance with “thick interpretation” in the later steps of the
analysis (Denzin & Lincoln, 1994).
The questions posed pertained to background/demographics, experience/behavior, opinion/belief, and feelings. The interviews’ schema is attached in appendix No.1.
By experience, I mean my personal views on the youth in Anogia, derived from my participation in small field research studies carried out in the village, during the annual international
Ph.D. summer school, organized by the University of Crete’s, the department of Sociology.
The concept was introduced in the field of qualitative research by Geertz (1973 & 1983),
who argued that the old functional, positivist, behavioral, totalizing approaches to the human
disciplines were giving way to a more pluralistic, interpretive, open-ended perspective. This
new perspective took cultural representations and their meaning as its point of departure. Calling for “thick description” of particular events, rituals, and customs, Geertz suggested that all
anthropological writing were interpretations of interpretations. The observer had no privileged
voice in the interpretations that were written. The central task of theory was to make sense out
of a local situation (Denzin & Lincoln, 1994).
5.5.3. Criteria for the selection of the participants
A limitation of the qualitative research and the interview approach is the lack
of accepted principles for the selection of participants. To overcome this, the
selection of the interviewers has been based on theoretical methods. The objective was to approach different types of young people regarding their occupation or job position and their prospects for future occupation due to their
present situation. This means that the sampling was theoretically driven and
purposive and that the participants must have had first-hand experience of
the phenomenon under study. The sampling was also of maximum variation
as regards job orientation and choice, age, educational level, place of residence and sex (Miles & Huberman, 1994).
The age has been defined to be 16 to 25 years old. According to a law,
working is not allowed under 15 years of age. The age limit of 25 years enables the inclusion of the sample cases of young people who have studied or
completed their military service before starting to look for employment. A
list of criteria was taken into consideration in order to determine the sample.
The interviewees had to have one or more of the following different characteristics: a) be working - be unemployed, b) be working at the village - be
working at an urban centre, c) be of both sexes, d) have completed or completing lyceum - have quit school, e) be in a traditional job - be in a
non-traditional job, f) have attended or will attend academic studies - attending vocational training.
As concerns the number of the interviews, the limits were set between 10
to 16 in each case study. The criteria for the final number were three: to include as many different cases according to the above-mentioned list, to continue until the majority of the answers reached saturation point, those being
repetitions in the information obtained and confirmation of previously collected data (Morse, 1994), and finally to consider time consumption.
5.5.4 Presentation of the sample
Finally, 15 young people from Anogia and 14 young people from Archanes
participated in the interviews. The repetition of information in basic questions that were posed during the interview constituted the basic criteria for
eventually determining the number of interviews. Basic demographic/background elements as regards the interviewees are presented in
order of age in appendix No. 2. The interviewees’ original names are not
mentioned, so as to protect their anonymity.
5.6. Process of the selection of the sample – ethical considerations
This is an open research study and the results are available to those who may
be interested. Regarding the young interviewees, their names will not be
made public. When conducting interviews, a researcher must maintain discretion and sensitivity regarding the content of the narrations.
As regards the Anogia community, there was close cooperation with the
two social workers of the village in selecting the young boys and girls who
fulfilled the above-mentioned criteria. Both of them have been working for
the Local Authorities for more than ten years and know the village and its
inhabitants very well. My long-standing acquaintance with them ensured a
good cooperation in seeking out the participants, while their long lasting
presence at the village and their bonds with the setting facilitated my contact
with the target group. A list of twenty young persons was drawn up with
their telephone numbers or contact persons. In order to facilitate my contact
with these young people, the social workers got in touch with them, informing them about my presence in the village and asked them to cooperate with
me. This proved to be very helpful in the majority of the cases, in that it eliminated initial hesitations and misgivings on behalf of some young people
to meet with me.
Respectively in Archanes, in selecting the young boys and girls who
would meet the criteria, I worked together with key-persons in the village
who were able to offer their assistance in this specific case. I was given important assistance by the lyceum principal, the social worker at the consultative support center, the secretaries at the organization for social and communicative policy of the local authorities and the president of the Union of Integrated Management of Grape-Wine, all of whom, aside from being people of
the above-mentioned status, originate from Archanes and reside there. The
procedure that was used is the following: I discussed with each of them the
reason for which I wanted to conduct the specific interviews with the young
people of Archanes, I mentioned the subject matter on which the interview
would focus and its possible duration. I handed them a list with the features
and traits that I was looking for in 20 young people, and we discussed how
they could help bring me in contact with at least some of them so that I could
then arrange a time and a place to conduct the interviews. They were all willing to help.
5.7. Interview records
5.7.1. General remarks
a. Anogia
All the 15 interviews took place in September and October 1998. Fourteen of
them took place in Anogia, and one in Heraklion. The majority of the interviews took place in one of the offices at the Community Center for the elderly, kindly assigned to me by the social worker of the Center. It was a secluded, comfortable office where we could talk without interruptions. Two
of the interviews took place at the Youth Center, one at the interviewees’
house and three of them at the interviewees’ workplace after working hours.
In all cases, we sat in chairs facing each other.
b. Archanes
All 14 interviews in Archanes took place between November 2003 and April
2004. A comfortable office was assigned to me at the Consultative Support
Center of the village for this specific purpose. Although the office building
was situated in the center of the village, it was secluded enough, the interviews were conducted during afternoon hours, and each interview took place
without breaks or interruptions.
Being familiar with the settings and conscious of the cultural differences
between the participants and myself, I knew that there were a few things to
be taken into consideration as regards the interviewing process. It was important that the participant feel at ease and confident during the interview.
So, before beginning the interview, I introduced myself and, after telling
them how important their participation in the research was for me, I mentioned a few things regarding the conversation I would like to have with
them and what was expected of them. I explained the reason for doing this
study, where it would be presented and that the results would be available to
them and the community if they were interested in obtaining them. I assured
them that their names would not be published and that I would protect their
anonymity as much as possible. I explained the reason for recording our discussion. It was not easy to convince all of them about the recording. Consequently, I had to replace three of the initially chosen young people. The
interviews lasted 50 to 70 minutes. In the end, I thanked them for their participation.
5.7.2. Reaction – degree of ease during the interview
As regards the intense reasoning concerning the subjectivity and objectivity
of the interview process (May, 1993), I made every possible effort through88
out the interviews to encourage a balanced and comfortable atmosphere, thus
maintaining an objective and friendly rapport with the interviewees. I constantly kept in mind the following question: what effect am I having on the
interviewee as well as on the material gained during the interview? I also
tried not to emphasise issues concerning gender, age, cultural differences
and language dialects.
I was well aware that all the participants had access to the information I
sought to gain and they were fully informed of what would be asked of them
during the interviews. This was done not only to ensure the interviews’ success but for moral reasons as well. Finally, I did my best to make them feel
that their participation and their answers were of great value and that their
cooperation was vital to the research at hand.
The majority of the participants were confident during the discussion.
They were curious as regards the reasons their village was chosen to be the
setting for this research and many of them felt flattered to be participating
and, as a result, were quite willing to talk. The girls proved to be more willing. The greater difficulty lay in persuading young herdsmen to talk and particularly in getting them to agree to a recorded discussion. This came as no
surprise considering their cultural background. The non-recorded interviews
were not included in the sample. In one case, the interviewee, who seemed to
be very upset about her decision to leave school, burst into tears and we had
to stop the interview for a while. When the discussion turned to the relationships between girls and boys, all the participants were very careful about
what they said and how they said it. The majority spoke using the local accent and dialect. Otherwise, they were all simple but modern looking.
5.8. Data elaboration
5.8.1. Methodology in data analysis
In order to arrive at the findings, data analysis derived from the Grounded
Theory methodological approach was employed (Strauss, 1987) . The aim
Grounded Theory is a scientific methodological approach in qualitative research aiming at
building theory out of data elaboration, by using a systematic set of procedures to develop an
inductively derived grounded theory about a phenomenon. The procedure of data analysis
includes the techniques for conceptualizing data that is called, coding procedure. This approach to data analysis consists of breaking down the data, conceptualizing it and putting it
back together in new ways. This is composed of three major types of coding, open coding,
axial coding and selective coding. The lines between each type of coding are artificial how-
of the present work is not to build a theory, but to base data analysis on the
grounded theory method of analysis.
On the other hand, the objective is not a simple description of the findings. The study aims at meeting four central criteria for judging the findings,
which, according to Strauss and Corbin, judge the applicability of theory to a
phenomenon and characterize a well constructed grounded theory: comparability (fit), understanding, generality and control (Strauss & Corbin 1990).
More specifically, the findings should reflect the everyday reality of the
area under study and be induced from diverse data, thus fitting that
substantive area. The findings should be comprehensible and make sense to
the persons under study and to those who are scientifically involved in this
field. Furthermore, they should be abstract enough and include sufficient
variation to make it applicable to a variety of contexts related to that
phenomenon. Finally, the findings should provide control toward the
phenomenon. Fundamentally, according to Dahlgren et al., we are talking
about the credibility, the transferability, the dependability and the neutrality
of the study (Dahlgren et al., 2004).
5.8.2. Keeping of code notes
The first step in data analysis was the interviews’ accurate transfer in written
manuscript. All the material was transcribed. In later steps of the analysis, it
could be decided if all this material was relevant to the research or not. Secondly, analytical code notes were kept of two interviews, those being singled
out as the richest and most decent ones. Such a process was considered to be
worthwhile so that, through this raw data, initial thematic areas and initial
labeling of the phenomena under study could be formed.
Breaking down the data and keeping code notes, was not an easy task.
The range of each thematic area had to be decided upon. It was not supposed
to be too extensive because the danger of generality was present, nor too
short, because the thematic areas could be meaningless. After many attempts
and after deciphering what the specific data was about, the code notes were
ever, both open and axial coding are done in the service of selective coding. It is the central
process by which theories are built from data. Building a theory or arriving at findings is not
only a technical matter. It is also a matter of “theoretical sensitivity” that is, the attribute of
having insight, the ability to give meaning to data, the capacity to understand and separate the
pertinent from that which is not. It allows one to develop a theory that is grounded, conceptually dense and well integrated (Strauss & Corbin, 1990).
labeled thematically. Furthermore, two factors proved helpful in this process:
the structure of the interviews in broad thematic areas and my previous involvement with the settings, the focus group and the phenomena under
The exact process was to label different phenomena and thematic areas
from the two interviews. Then, the rest of the interviews would be elaborated
on according to the previously derived concepts, all the time remaining alert
for any possible development or unification of the initial thematic areas and
labels, if deemed necessary. Under each thematic label, code notes derived
from each interview separately were written down together with the ‘name’
of the interviewee. Noting the ‘names’ of the interviewees was necessary for
the further elaboration of data. Qualitative research is an in-depth research
method, it is not impersonal and many details are important in order to reach
reliable and valid conclusions. The code notes were written accurately and
transferred from the interviews, line by line.
In this way, data was broken down in detail into discrete parts, initially
labeled under different thematic areas. This process facilitates the next step
in data analysis.
5.8.3. Open coding process
The open coding part of analysis (Strauss & Corbin, 1990) pertains specifically to discovering, naming and categorizing phenomena through close examination of code notes and developing categories in terms of their properties and dimensions. The data was already broken down. The objective here
was for the data to be closely examined, compared for similarities and differences, while questions were asked about the phenomena as reflected in
the data.
The accurate process was to make comparisons and ask questions aiming
at conceptualizing data. Any part of data that stood for or represented a similar phenomenon was selected. Questions were put forward like ‘what is
this?’ and ‘what does it represent?’ Each incident was compared against the
other; each piece of data was compared with other data to discover similar
data in which the phenomena represented could be labeled. Similar phenomena were given similar names.
The initial label of the thematic area was the base for giving a provisional
name to a category (phenomenon), i.e. Attitude towards school. Additionally, the more precise parts of the data constituted the sub-categories, i.e.:
Attitude towards school, Reasons that led to my finishing school, Reasons
that led to my quitting school, and so on. In other words, this was a procedure for discovering categories and grouping the concepts that seem to pertain
to the same phenomena. Giving names to the categories and sub-categories
in some cases was descriptive, in others abstract.
At the same time, sub-categories were developed in terms of their properties and in some cases, in terms of their sub-properties and dimensions. For
example, the properties in the sub-category Attitude towards school were
developed in terms of the sub-properties Positive attitude towards school,
Negative attitude towards school. Dimensions were developed in such a way
that they could capture the common attitudes, views, opinions, practices,
ideas, situations, etc. of the young people in the sample.
A basic consideration in developing properties was keeping the balance
between developing enough density and overdoing attempts to develop density. During this phase of analysis, the research project was still very open.
The sampling was also open aiming to “provide the greatest opportunity to
gather the most relevant data about the phenomenon under investigation”
(Strauss & Corbin 1990:181). Equally important to this part of the analysis
was the development of sub-properties as regards two categories of my sample: sex and graduation from Lyceum. Properties and dimensions were developed in detail because they form the basis for creating relationships between categories and sub-categories, as well as between major categories in
later steps of the analysis.
The approach of the open coding process was also analysed in great detail. This was rather due to personal inexperience in grounded theory analysis but, on the other hand, Strauss says that it is the most generative type of
analysis. In this phase of the data analysis, as regards Anogia, 8 initial thematic areas were discovered. The provisional names given to these phenomena
Attitude towards school, developed in 13 different sub-categories.
Youths’ occupational perspectives-status, developed in 16 subcategories.
Occupational perspectives for young people in Anogia today, developed
in 16 sub-categories.
Description of the relations among young people of different sex,
developed in 15 sub-categories.
The local community, developed in 18 sub-categories.
Everyday life, developed in 4 sub-categories.
Contact with urban centres, developed in 10 sub-categories.
Description of interviewees and their families developed in 22 subcategories.
Correspondingly, as regards Archanes, 8 analogous initial thematic areas
were discovered and further developed into sub-categories in terms of properties and dimensions.
5.8.4. The axial coding process
In order to form the basis for the final steps of the analysis (selective
coding), the data elaboration was further conducted via the axial coding type
of analysis. The purpose here is to put data back together in new ways, by
making connections between a category and its sub-categories leading to the
ultimate development of several main categories. The main categories have
to be worked out in terms of their properties and dimensions and are
associated with their sub-categories by the means of the “paradigm model”
(Staruss & Corbin, 1990). In this phase of the analysis, inductive and
deductive thought is necessary in order to develop the “paradigm relations”
and to give the categories richness and density.
Following logical reasoning and thinking systematically about data, I had
to decide what the phenomenon under study is. In other words, what the
main category is. At the same time, I had to decide which sub-categories
make up the causal conditions for the phenomenon, which give rise to the
context of the phenomenon and, consequently, what the intervening conditions are, the action/interaction strategies and finally the consequences.
Open coding analysis was reconstructed again in new ways. Main categories were refined and associated with sub-categories. Complete dissociation
of all sub-categories is not possible. What may constitute, for example, consequences of action/interaction in one phenomenon may become part of
conditions in another phenomenon. All sub-categories were closely examined. From the initial surface and off-handed association with the thematic
areas, I moved on, in this phase of the analysis, to the essential association
between the main categories and the sub-categories. The aim in this process
is to capture as much of the complexity and movement of the real world,
In the Grounded Theory and in the axial coding process, subcategories are related to their
categories as well as to the categories between them, through what Strauss and Corbin call the
“paradigm model”. We link subcategories to a category in a set of relationships denoting: the
casual conditions of the phenomenon, the context of the phenomenon, the intervening conditions, the action/interaction strategies and the consequences. This analysis will allow the researcher to link the categories between them according to the “paradigm model” in the final
step of the analysis which is the selective coding analysis (Strauss & Corbin, 1990).
even though “we are never able to grasp all of it” (Strauss & Corbin
1990:111) and present it in data analysis.
We have now arrived at six major categories (phenomena), all of them
having been developed in terms of the “paradigm model” to denote “the nature of the relations between them and the phenomenon” (Strauss & Corbin
Category: Occupational perspectives for young people in Anogia today, generally
Category: Youths’ occupational perspectives –status
Category: Evaluation of the social setting
Category: Young people’s everyday lives
Category: Relations among young people of different sex
Category: Attitude towards school
At the same time, there is also the process of linking categories at a dimensional level. It is already clear from the axial coding data analysis, that the
most important phenomenon is their ‘Attitude towards school’ which, in the
case of this study, is the determining factor for the future of young people. It
seems that the positive or negative attitude towards school shapes their future options and desires and forms the basis for their future occupation. This
will be more clear in the following step of the analysis, that being the selective coding analysis that follows in chapters 6, 7, 8 and 9.
5.8.5. Selective coding
The last part of data elaboration is made up of a selective coding type of
analysis, which is the final and most important one. During this process, we
integrate the main categories to form grounded theoretical viewpoints. Making all the categories come together is one of the most difficult things and it
could yield several different ways of bringing them together.
In general, one can say that integration is not much different from axial
coding. “It is just done at a higher more abstract level of analysis” (Strauss &
Corbin 1990:117). We aim at a systematical development of our material
into a picture of reality that is conceptual, comprehensible and grounded.
There are several steps through which this can be done. Those steps are
neither distinct nor linear. They aim at the interpretation of the “story line”
or in other words, the conceptualization of the story from which the “core
category” of the study will emerge. The “core category” of the study forms
the central phenomenon into which all the other categories are integrated.
The process of formulating the core category has already begun from the
previous phase of the analysis after having posed many questions about the
study and the data. But it is here, in the initial step of selective coding analysis, that we make commitments about the central phenomenon of the study
through a general, brief and descriptive story.
After identifying the “story” and the central phenomenon of the study, we
continue with the conceptualization of the story, which is named “story
line”. Furthermore, we have to relate subsidiary categories around the core
category by means of the paradigm model, to relate them at a dimensional
level, to validate those relationships against data and finally to fill in categories that may need further refinement or development.
5.8.6. A pedagogic example of an additional dimension in the construct of the core category
Grounded Theory is a scientific methodological approach in qualitative research aimed at building theory out of data elaboration by using a systematic
set of procedures to develop a mainly inductively derived understanding
about a phenomenon. In the present study the emerging concepts are
grounded in data and are not primarily the results of preconceived ideas.
Nowadays this position in leading grounded theory quarters has been softened, and theoretical pre-understanding has more and more been accepted as
an advantage rather than as a bias. In this perspective, an additional dimension in the construct of the core category deserves to be mentioned, and I
have tried to illustrate this in the following table. The example is very brief
but hopefully pedagogic and for a more distinct description, see appendix
No. 3.
Table 1: From quotes to the construct
Two codes and one
underlined subQuotations from category selected
the interviews
from the axial coding
(from the case of Archanes)
“ I couldn’t
wait for the
school bell to
ring so that I
could go to our
vineyard where
my father was
and avoid having to sit down
and study”
Reasons that led me
to my quitting school
School tiredness
Pleasure in farming
of a core category – a pedagogic
One example of a theoretical guidance of relevance for my theoretical pre-understanding
According to Herbert
(1999:157) the basic
process involved in
choosing one’s occupation has to do with conscious awareness of a
professional self image
that coincides with the
other images of self that
the individuals create for
themselves (see more
about these issues in
chapter 2)
Construction of the
core category
The transition from
school to work
The term “transition”
from education/initial training”
to employment refers
to the period during
which young people
move from a state
whose main activity
is school attendance
to a state where work
In the prolongation of the process there will be attempts to link my findings
from the analysis to relevant theoretical topics. One close at hand example is
the concept of status passage that Glaser and Strauss (1971/2010) developed
in the shape of a formal theory, and has already been mentioned in chapter 2.
The passage from school to work may “entail movement into a different part
of a social structure; or loss or gain of privilege, influence, or power, and a
changed identity and a sense self, as well as changed behaviour” (Glaser &
Strauss, 2010:2) According to the status passage theory, status is regarded a
resting place for individuals while the transitional phase is a period of constant movement over time and keeps a person in passage between two
statuses for a period of time depending on how scheduled or unscheduled
this passage is for each individual.
Following all these steps of analysis, the material produced is presented
in the following chapters.
Chapter 6: Stayers, leavers, or ambivalent: patterns of
6.1. Conceptualizing the story: The transition from school to work
At this point in the study, a concise meta-story arising from the data analysis
will be presented. This story will end by using the Strauss and Corbin (1990)
“paradigm model” so that on the one hand, the crucial and determining
phenomenon that impacts the occupational choices of the youth in this study
is made known and on the other hand, to point out all other remaining
contributing factors involved in the decision-making process as regards
occupational choice. This model will enable the organization of a more
analytical and structured presentation of the contributing factors involved in
shaping the attitudes and decisions of the youth regarding occupational
This chapter will also present the main findings of the empirical study
that arise from the youths’ different attitudes, tactics and strategies as
regards the phenomenon under study, therefore enabling us to recognize
differences in youth trends, attitudes as well as diversification between the
two sexes. Although my decision to present the main findings at the
beginning of the data analysis does not coincide with the “typical” way of
presenting a grounded theory analysis, it does serve the purpose of offering a
cohesive presentation of the qualitative data and enables one to directly gain
a concise and cohesive perception of the study findings. After all, the
question often raised within qualitative social research pertains to the ideal
method of presentation (Kallinikaki, 2010) and analysis while maintaining
the balance between the need for detail and depth which should not be at
the expense of pleasurable reading and easy understanding.
By relying on the axial coding analysis of both cases, we may now move
on to the conceptualization of the story. The gist of the story seems to be
about how the young people from two separate rural communities shape
their occupational orientations or have already formed their occupational
status, this being a problem that worries both the young people and their
families. I have arranged the chapter so that it follows the idea of first
presenting work prospects and geographical distances as general conditions,
“Thick description” in writing of qualitative research aims at creating the verisimilitude for
the readers to feel that they experience or perhaps could experience the events described. The
voices, feeling, actions, and meanings of interacting individuals are heard (Denzin, 1989b).
while showing that these are different for boys and girls. Following this, the
importance of values as an intervening condition are shown. From this point,
it is then logical to present what I mean to be the central phenomenon of the
thesis, namely the transition from school to work and how it is determined
by different factors, perceptions and strategies. The analysis then leads to the
identification of three typical types that are presented in greater detail in the
rest of the chapter. These three types will also come back in the analysis that
follows in chapters 7, 8 and 9.
6.2. Boys and girls, work prospects and geographical distances
What used to be the most common practice in the older days (the boys becoming herdsmen or farmers and the girls getting married), no longer seems
to form a satisfactory solution for all young people. The reasons for this are
both objective and subjective.
Cattle-raising and farming do not offer the security of previous years, due
to significant changes that have taken place in the structure of these occupations and the trading of the products. Furthermore, cattle-raising is characterized as a dangerous job, farming as a hard and high-risk job, while both are
considered to be unprofitable. Despite this fact, occupation in the primary
production section is a solution which ensures an occupational alternative for
a significant number of young men, particularly in Anogia. These young
men have decided that they do not need to complete their secondary schooling since an education at that level is not necessary for practicing these jobs.
On the other hand, many young men of both villages either feel that cattle-raising has no future, or look upon farming as a second job and an important source of income. There are young men who choose or are forced to
leave the villages and seek employment at the nearest urban centers or get
employment in the villages in other economic sectors. They aim at either
graduating lyceum or attending a school for technical training. They pursue
other jobs or professions that are steady, easier, and socially more accepted.
Additionally, there are young men, particularly in Archanes, who have
acquired new life patterns. They aim at graduating from lyceum and pursuing academic studies. These are the young men who leave or will leave the
The situation is different for the young girls in both villages. Traditionally, women used to be in charge of the household and assist their husbands
in farming. There are almost no work positions for girls in the primary economic sector and it is a rare exception for the girls to practice cattle-raising
or farming as a main occupation. Having the experience of working in the
cattle-raising or in the fields, the vast majority has rejected these jobs. They
are justified in believing, since this is usually the case, that their family or
future husband will take on the full responsibility of working on the cattle or
the land they will inherit from their parents.
Nevertheless, there are still girls who live in the villages and are unemployed or, in the case of Archanes, do occasional jobs. The overwhelming
majority of them are those who quit school or have completed only compulsory education. Although they would like to have a job, this is rather difficult
and practically impossible. They have very limited possibilities of finding a
work position in an urban center or even at their village, since they have no
qualifications. They stay in the villages, expecting to get married.
The majority of the young girls do not seem willing to continue the traditional role, at least not to its full extent. The new life patterns seem to have a
catalytic effect upon them. They want to enter the marketplace and, since
this is not possible in their villages, they aim at obtaining the necessary
qualifications that would enable them to leave the village, gain a work position or study a profession. There are a few girls who drop out of lyceum and
attend vocational training. For the majority however, the most important aim
is graduating from lyceum and pursuing academic studies. In the event of
failure to achieve this aim, they further their studies at schools for vocational
education, as a precondition for avoiding future unemployment.
For both sexes, the occupational status, choices and orientations are
closely connected with the place of present or future residence and therefore,
will play an important role as regards the way of life. There is a clear tendency for the majority of young people, the young girls in particular, to leave
their villages and continue their lives at the nearest urban centers. This is
also considered an opportunity for ‘a better life’, one that is different from
the life of their parents. The young people feel that obtaining a job in the
village other than that of a cattle raiser or farmer is rather difficult. As farming is often considered a given, many of them view themselves as unemployed unless they find another job, which is rather difficult to get in the villages. The majority of them can practice a different job, possibly in an urban
center. In the case of Anogia, that means that young people have to relocate
to the nearest urban centers and abandon cattle-raising. But in the case of
Archanes, the short distance from the urban center enables youngsters to
have more choices. Choosing Heraklion as their place of residence, they are
still only a short distance away from their village, and whatever their main
job may be, they can work on their farming property whenever necessary.
This is a crucial issue for the young people of Archanes. Regardless of the
main job, young people do not want to disclaim the economic advantages
that farming offers them. This encourages young people to either continue to
reside in the village or move to the nearby city of Heraklion. At the same
time however, it causes them to experience great social change. Additionally, an academic degree gives them the ‘freedom’ to choose a different way
of life and creates different life perspectives.
6.3. The meaning of traditional values
Aside from occupation, there are other conditions that are of importance and
aretaken into consideration by young people as regards the decisions which
shape their future and lead the majority of young people to study, or many to
get a work position in an urban center. It seems that some of them are: the
intense social conditioning, the dominant traditional moral values and ethics,
which in the case of Anogia are more rigid and strict, the reluctance on behalf of the local societies to accept changes, and the monotony of everyday
life especially during winterbecause of the limited means of entertainment
available to them. The comparison with the city of Heraklion, the variety of
opportunities offered there and the freedom they feel in the city, is something the majority of these youngsters have experienced. Additionally, a factor which seems to oppress the majority of the young people is the community’s attitude towards the relationships between boys and girls. The
Anogia community is very strict, and without any tolerance as concerns such
relationships. Arranged marriages are the accepted way for young couples to
be together. Endogamy is preferred and is still a dominant phenomenon. In
Archanes, relationships are considered more or less natural, as long as they
are everlasting and result in marriage. There is a very low level of tolerance
concerning break-ups and this situation forces these young people to keep
their relationships a secret.
It seems that the young people take into consideration all the abovementioned factors. They express contradictory feelings as regards their villages. There are those who completely identify with the way of life in the
villages as it is, or those who do not seem to be so negative, at least not towards all the mentioned factors. The majority partly identifies with the social
settings they live in. They love their villages but there are many things they
dislike there and they believe that there is nothing they can do at present.
Young people living in Archanes are slightly more optimistic and believe
that their society might change, thus enabling them to change many things in
their own lives. Today, the social setting may oppress them but they can tolerate this due to certain signs of change that are evident and due to the important advantages that the village lifestyle offers. Moreover, there are those
who express a negative attitude towards the local society. They evaluate the
whole situation rather negatively and they develop strategies which will enable them to live under different social conditions. However, despite their
determination to leave the village, to live more independent lives full of rich
experiences, they express the thought that they would not mind returning to
the village some years later, or when they are ready to settle down and start
families of their own.
6.4. The process of transition from school to work
The crucial period for all young people is the period during which they are
still in school. The attitude, either positive or negative, that each one had
adopted or has adopted towards school and education generally, has proved
to play a catalytic role in shaping their future. The level of education constitutes the main tool that determines the limitations and the opportunities for
job placement. Actually, the aims the young people set regarding their education and consequently, their occupation, reflect each one’s attitude towards
the traditional position held by males and females in these societies.
In other words, the meta-story describes the important factors, the perceptions and the strategies which determine the process of transition from
school to work for the young people of these villages, and seems to be the
most crucial issue as it includes all the phenomena which play a role in the
process of shaping the occupational orientations or choices of the young people under study.
In general, we may say that in both communities, three different types of
young people co-exist. First, those who have adopted or have reconciled
themselves to the traditional role men and women have in their society. Second, those who prefer to change this role by leaving the village and trying to
adopt a modern way of life. A third type hovers somewhere between these
two as it is characterized by indecisiveness regarding goals and pursuits and
so we can safely say that this type follows the ambivalent path. As regards
gender, the girls seem to be more daring than the boys, perhaps because the
forces that push or pull work stronger on girls than on boys.
If we were to describe the whole procedure by the means of the “paradigm model” (Strauss & Corbin 1990), it could be as follows: during the
process of transition from school to work, young people have determined
their occupational choices by taking into consideration the prospects available to them within the local and greater job market. They evaluate and consider the positive and negative aspects of the social setting they live in and
they develop analogous strategies towards education, which result either in
the continuity of, or in the differentiation from the existing situation, or they
stand somewhere in between, remaining ambivalent. The scheme could be as
Central phenomenon:
The transition from school to work
Causal Conditions
offered for
young people
in the local
and the greater
job market
Young people’s occupational
social setting
Young people’s everyday life
The Stayers
The Ambivalent
The Leavers
Figure 1. The paradigm model
The transitional process from school to the job market (central phenomenon)
is a complex process whose end result is reflected in the choice of occupation made by the youth in my study or in the paths pursued by those not yet
working (context). What led them to make this choice and, in turn practice
the respective occupation? What factors do those still pursuing the fulfillment of their aims take into consideration? They assess the opportunities
offered by the local job market which may, or may not satisfy them, or they
may wish to be integrated into it but fail to do so due to lack of job vacancies
etc. Thus, some appeal to the greater job markets in urban centres. They assess the prospects for securing occupational placement as well as how wellequipped they need to be so as to be integrated into this greater job market.
This pursuit is of the utmost importance (causal conditions). However, it is
not the sole factor taken into consideration by the youth during the process
of transition from school to the workplace. Since employment is directly re102
lated to the place of residence and in turn, to the natural and social environment they will come in contact with on a daily basis, the young make
either positive, ambivalent or negative assessments regarding it. They assess
the way of life in the village and to what extent it satisfies them and allows
them to live their lives as they choose. They are particularly concerned about
issues pertaining to social conditioning and conformity to accepted rules in
relation to their own personal lives and their ability to associate with them.
For some, life in the village is relatively problem-free while at the other end,
there are those who feel that it prevents them from living the life they desire
(intervening conditions). So, after taking into consideration the abovementioned conditions, they decide on the professional field they’ve chosen
or wish to pursue. How they achieve this or attempt to achieve this has to do
with whether they are developing or have developed a positive or negative
attitude towards school and education in general. Some conclude that school
and further studies are not necessary for practising their occupation of choice
or for leading a better life, while some others have found or are finding
school and studies to be the only path leading to the occupation they practise
or wish to practise in the future (action/interaction strategies). Finally, the
existing diversity in their overall assessment of the situation has caused us to
discern three different trends among the youth in the two communities. One
trend shows us young people who pursue traditional occupations, with the
young girls adopting traditional roles. A second trend shows young people
who are ambivalent about what they want to do, are actually doing, or ultimately can do. Finally, there is also a third trend which shows young people
who are working or wish to work in modern sectors far from their villages.
This scheme, its concepts and its content derive from the axial coding analysis; it constitutes the structural formula for the next steps of the analysis
and is to a large extent used as guide in the remaining process of selective
6.5. The three different types: The stayers, the ambivalent and the
Faced with a complex and multi-various social reality, the young develop
their own strategies for shaping their present and preparing for their future.
These strategies have to do with the way each of them interprets this reality
and feels that he/she can associate with it so as to succeed in the goals they
have set for their lives. The issue of employment constitutes a key factor in
predetermining the way of life each young person will follow, and it embodies the principles, values and roles with which each young person will pro103
ceed in life. The young are not in a position to come up with many strategies
for dealing with it. Education and the knowledge derived from it constitute a
basic means by which the young can enter the job market and is indicative of
how they consciously, or less consciously, intend to live their lives. The attitude towards education constitutes the main precondition for a young person
to either become a stayer, an ambivalent or a leaver.
Who are the stayers? They are the young people who do seem to adopt
traditional values and practices. They do not question the traditional gender
roles, nor are they interested in escaping from them. Their schooling is of
short duration and their education level basic. The occupational practices of
the boys are also traditional, while the girls do not officially enter the job
market. Marriage and family constitute their ‘destiny’ in life. These young
people remain in their villages. This type is mainly made up of boys, while
the girls make up the minority. In fact, it is made up of the majority of boys
from Anogia where traditional values and practices are more staunchly adhered to than they are in Archanes. These young people are the ‘stayers’.
Who are the ambivalent? This type does not seem to be sure of what they
want to do. They are caught between tradition and modernity and find themselves at a distance from both. These young people seem to be less prepared
to deal with the social developments unfolding before them. In order to earn
a decent living, some of them, particularly the boys, are forced to change
their professional practices while others, particularly the girls, would like to
rid themselves of the traditional roles their predicament has forced them to
adopt. Unfortunately, the existing patriarchal structures and perceptions have
prevented them from becoming properly equipped to do so. These young
people are the ‘ambivalent’.
Who are the leavers? The young people of this typedo not seem to adopt
traditional values and practices. They pursue and try to gain a high level of
education as a means of entering a broader, ‘non-farming’ job market. Their
practices may be characterized as being modern and up-to-date. This type is
mainly made up of girls. The boys are clearly fewer in number. In fact, they
constitute the minority of boys from Anogia. This trend clearly indicates
how determined the young girls are to claim a different future for themselves
and gain a position from which they can better determine the course of their
own lives. This suggests that traditional societies are not as oppressive for
their male members as they are for their female members. These young people are the ‘leavers’.
6.6. The three different types: their main characteristics
The following presents a more in-depth analysis of the three different types
of young people. The characteristics that will be addressed have to do with
who they are in terms of their attitude/actions towards the local and greater
job-market, their occupational status or perspectives, the social setting and
prevalent values, as well as their attitude/actions towards school and education. Gender differentiations will also be included.
6.6.1. The Stayers
Traditional professions, namely cattle-raising, still seem to appeal to a large
number of boys in Anogia. However, in Archanes, although farm production
constitutes the economic backbone of the village, it does not draw in an
analogous number of boys. In fact, fewer and fewer young people, now a
minority, are exclusively involved in farming production.
Additionally, there is a minority of girls who do not proceed beyond their
compulsory education and have not acquired a skill. These girls remain unemployed in the villages, take up odd jobs or, in the best possible case, learn
a skill. Their occupational prospects are few and so, marriage is looked upon
as an alternative. These are the girls who usually remain in the villages and,
either advertently or inadvertently, adopt the traditional role of women in the
These young people who seek employment in the villages have associated their lives and future course to those of their families. In addition, the
majority seems to be more tolerant of the social limits and pressures which
exist. They adopt more accepting attitudes and practices which are acceptable within their social environment regardless of whether this is seen by
some as forced or by others as completely acceptable.
Those young people who have already paved their way in the village, either professionally or personally, point out the positive aspects of living in a
familiar and safe social environment and say that Heraklion is only an outlet
for temporary change.
The marrying age for the boys has risen. For them, marriage comes with
a lot of responsibilities including complete financial responsibility. The professional uncertainty of a herdsman or a farmer, the prospect of enjoying a
carefree life in the city, the modern phenomenon of consumerism which dictates the need for setting purchasing goals that will have to be met when
gaining marital status, are perhaps factors that discourage them from marrying.As a result, on their part, the boys do not seem to be in a hurry to marry.
Therefore the young people of the villages no longer exclusively marry
amongst themselves. The few young girls left marry young men from nearby
villages. Endogamy is declining.
Let us now see the attitude these young people have towards education. It
appears that the minority of young people has a negative outlook where
school is concerned and end up dropping out. Here we have the young people who either did not complete their compulsory education, or simply managed to get through high school or technicaltraining programs. All of them
state that the reasons which led to their dropping out of school were their bad
school grades and their unwillingness to try to meet even basic school requirements. Some boys had decided early on that they would become shepherds or farmers like their fathers, while some had hoped that they would
find jobs and did not want to waste their time in school.
The boys who ended up dropping out do not seem to have wanted to
make an effort and showed no interest in furthering their studies as they had
become involved in the family cattle-raising or farming from an early age. “I
couldn’t wait for the school bell to ring so that I could go to our vineyard
where my father was and avoid having to sit down and study” mentions one
young farmer. Another one adds: “My years at school went to waste, I didn’t
study and my parents were forced to let me have my way and so they pulled
me out of school on the condition that I would attend an institute and learn a
skill. But I blew it. I abandoned that as well…”
Most of the girls, who did not even complete their compulsory education,
to this day remain unemployed and live in the villages. They do not all have
the opportunities of pursuing alternative education programs. Vocational
schools do not exist in the villages.
The opinion that education is not necessary for a girl still exists even to
this day. That is why fewer girls than boys enroll in high school. But generally speaking, the parents whose children did not even attend lyceum were
completely opposed to this, and had different expectations of their children.
There were however some parents, in Anogia mostly, who simply went
along with their children’s desire to attend a school for technicians or even
those, mainly the father, who were initially unwilling to allow their children,
their daughters in particular, to attend further education programs in an urban center. Accordingly, it seems that all the parents in Archanes wanted
their children to gain a lyceum degree, thus disagreeing with their children
who decided differently: “My father kept telling me to go back to school,
that there was no future in the vineyards, that I would have a hard life, that
my earnings would be meager, that school or learning a craft was a far better choice... but I didn’t compromise, I wanted to become a farmer”. Another young man adds: “My parents wanted the best for me, they wanted me
to go to university and when I failed the entrance exams, they offered to send
me abroad for studies, they didn’t want me to go into farming”
Let us now have a look at additional factors that may influence the stayers’ attitude towards school.
According to the data collected from the participants, the siblings of those
who have a negative attitude towards school and education share a similar
attitude about dropping out of school, and respectively, their parents’ education level appears to be poor. It is a rather unlikely coincidence that the majority of children in families with a low education level does not manage, or
even try to proceed to academic studies.
The education system itself and how the young experience their role as
students also contributes to the attitudes they develop towards school. The
stayers agree that the school curriculum is very demanding, as are the teachers who, in some cases, do not show a real interest in their students. “Our
teachers are interested only in the pupils who show an interest in learning.
This is not right. School should be accessible to all” an Anogian boy says.
This is also used as an excuse for wanting to dropout.
As a consequence, those who, at best, completed compulsory education
may decide to continue studies at a technical school. Otherwise, they enter
the job market without skills, usually in the primary economic sector, after
deciding that they immediately want to enter production which, to them,
means coming of age and being financially independent. They support that
cattle-raisers and farmers are “their own bosses” and that their income is
much higher than that of a wage earner. Generally, the boys, state that they
are absolutely satisfied with their occupation and have no regrets about not
continuing with school. Still, there is one who states that “it would have
been better if I had not dropped out of technical school”.
The girls hope to get a steady job although it seems rather impossible. All
the girls that participated in the study are still unemployed after 5-6 years of
leaving school. The majority of those who have quit school has regretted it.
“I was very frivolous” one girl said, “I have no chances of getting a job
without the lyceum diploma”, while one female farmer who graduated from
technical lyceum declares that she is completely satisfied. For these girls,
marriage is seen as an outlet.
Finally, all the young people who have gone no further than compulsory
education stay, and will probably continue to stay in the villages.
6.6.2. The Ambivalent
Traditional occupation sectors no longer constitute the sole professional alternative for the young boys. An important number of them have become
familiar with new models in lifestyle and, combined with their uncertainty
for the future of the traditional work sectors, they have decided to seek employment in sectors other than the traditional ones.
These young men are aiming for a steady job with a steady income and
enough free time. The development of services in the public and private sector as well as in tourism, has offered a limited number of new job posts
which, nevertheless, require some sort of knowledge and specialization. Furthermore, the job market in the urban centers, which is much larger than
their own, has proven to be highly accessible to the young and offers them
alternative solutions. Thus, many boys work as salary or wage earners, as
workers, or as freelance professionals in technical occupations both in the
village and in the city. These young people usually study at technical
schools. They try to develop roles that are different from the traditional ones
without challenging tradition head-on. The majority resides in their villages.
Many the young girls try to maintain contact with the learning process
through studies at schools for vocational-professional training, this being
done in an effort to acquire some initial career training so that they may be
suitably prepared when entering either the local job market or that of Heraklion as paid employees. As for the Anogian girls, their place of residence can
be the city of Heraklion, while girls from Archanes usually continue to live
in their village though the prospect of living in Heraklion is not always rejected. Most of them feel a close bond to their farming property and have no
intention of giving it up or selling it. They have a tendency and desire to
adopt new roles but their ‘acquired means’ may not be enough to help them
adopt these roles and therefore, they may not be accepted in them.
Involvement in cattle-raising and farming constitutes a rare exception but,
at the same time, it is a sign of modernity. Women have always been involved in farming as assistants in a part-time capacity, but never as full-time
farmers or cattle-raisers. One girl’s statement that her occupation is that of a
full-time farmer denotes that there is a sense of assertiveness among these
few girls and a desire for equal social standing and recognition. They remain
in the villages and, to a certain degree, “enrich” the traditional role of
Anyway, one can see that despite their compliance with traditional rules,
they have embraced new models and values in life. As a result, whether this
is to a lesser or greater degree, they either experience a gap between the existing way of life and the one they desire or, they lack goals which they
could achieve with their own abilities. This is obvious as regards the young
unemployed girls in the villages, who objectively speaking; sit around ‘waiting’ to get married.
What is their attitude towards education? The young people of this category do not seem to have a clear attitude towards school and studies in general. There are those who endeavor to graduate from lyceum and pursue further studies.Some of them failed in pursuing academic studies while others
considered their graduation from lyceum or from a vocational- professional
training school a success. These institutes are an alternative solution since
gaining academic knowledge is of lesser importance, and entering the job
market right after graduation from lyceum is a desired option. Furthermore,
there appears to be a small minority of young people in Archanes who decided that they were not interested or did not want to make the effort to
complete lyceum and alternatively studied at a vocational school. While
some boys do pursue further education, the majority seems less willing to
follow such a path. At the same time, we can see that the girls display a kind
of persistence in pursuing alternative studies and gaining some necessary
means for entering the job market. Young girls do not cut off all ties from
the learning process but rather, continue to take courses in foreign languages
and computers as an alternative.
Here we have girls who mention that, although they did not like studying,
they had to complete lyceum, while those who did not succeed in pursuing
academic studies, attended two-year programs at vocational training institutes, since the lyceum diploma does not offer any career specialization.
“When I failed my exams I didn’t have the stamina to try again. I opted for
the easy solution of enrolling at a career training institute because of course,
I had to do something”, mentions one girl.In Archanes however, young people have the opportunity to attend a technical lyceum in Heraklion, a school
that offers a diploma equivalent to that of lyceum. These schools do offer
initial vocational training to its students. “I had decided that I wouldn’t continue my studies at lyceum, I didn’t want to study very much, and enrolled at
a technical lyceum so that I could learn more about agriculturalism” mentions a young female farmer, while another young girl says: “I stopped
studying the moment I entered lyceum. I just didn’t find it interesting. So, I
eventually dropped out and enrolled at a technical lyceum to get a diploma.
I like reading, but not for school”. Thus, we can see that the girls seek alternative solutions even if these are less effective than academic studies are.
Being so close to the city of Heraklion, the girls from Archanes consider this
opportunity a given.
Here as well, there are parents who want their children to have a lyceum degree as a means for a better life. “My parents did not agree with my wanting
to drop out of lyceum, they felt that I could and must study... but it’s my life
and it’s for me to decide what I’ll do”. In Anogia though, we can see that in
one case, the disagreement was because the young boy decided to become a
technician instead of a herdsman. “Now he eventually has to sell the cattle.
He didn’t like that”. In another case, it was the father who did not allow his
daughter to leave the village after she had attended vocational training in
Heraklion. He wanted his daughter to stay with the family in the village despite the mother’s determination to let her girl go away and “have a better
Most of them agree that the school curriculum is very demanding and the
school system is mainly criticized because it is believed that the students do
not acquire rounded knowledge and that the sole aim of the education system
is to prepare the students for the university entrance exams. They can not
bear the hectic pace and, as a result, either end up dropping out, failing their
exams or gaining entrance to schools of lower credit value rather than the
schools of their choice.
Those who studied at schools for vocational-professional training, have
contradictory feelings. Some of them consider their studies a success, others
a failure, depending on their initial aims. But most of them are employed at
the moment. “At least for the time being, I am very pleased with my choice
of studies” says a young assistant working for a speech therapist, while another girl is clearly satisfied with her current situation: “I still haven’t found
what I really want” she states. A third one now feels that it would have been
better if she had made a mature effort to graduate from lyceum. As regards
the place of residence, the majority remains or will continue to remain in the
villages, while very few live in nearby urban centers to practice their occupations.
6.6.3. The leavers
In describing this type of young people, let us start with the male population.
There are boys who aim at pursuing academic studies. In a developing community where the struggle for day-to-day survival has been achieved, the
young are afforded the ‘luxury’ of choice and their parents can now hope to
offer their children a ‘better life’, which, according to them, is achieved
through academic studies. These young boys will gain a diploma that will
enable them to find analogous work only outside the villages. They will most
probably move to the city. For them, the family farming property is a supplementary source of income. In contrast to their aforementioned peers,
these young people fully adopt new roles and cut themselves off from traditional ones.
The girls seem to worry more about their future; they plan ahead and
make greater efforts to fulfill their aims. This may be due to the fact that the
girls can only leave the villages to work if they have first ensured a specific
job which is steady and appears to be permanent. The changes brought about
by the girls seem to be more drastic. There seems to be a clear and steady
attitude on their part for entering the production process and the job market,
as well as a tendency to reject the prevailing traditional role of women as
housewives or assistants to their herdsmen or farmer husbands. Not being
able to find paying jobs in the villages, the majority of girls move to urban
centers after first having obtained employment.
However, the vast majority of the girls endeavor to pursue academic
studies. It is the only path that can lead to professional success, social emancipation and the possibility of a life far different from that of their mothers
and grandmothers. It leads to their being integrated as equal members into
society. This is why they seem to try harder and are more successful than the
boys in pursuing academic studies. As is the case with the boys, the girls’
professional future is in the city while any farming property constitutes a
supplementary source of income. Regardless of where they reside, these
young girls adopt new roles and reject traditional ones. Besides, the relative
emancipation from the rules or behaviors of family and society, as well as
independence in lifestyle, are important factors which the youth care about,
especially those who have decided, at an early age, to one day leave the village. They all feel that the social pressure will be less and that they will be
able to determine their own limits within the boundaries of their own upbringing.
A further element which appears is the dissociation of their life course
from that of their families. Despite ongoing family support and the solidarity
between the family members, the young who leave become more independent, form broader social points of view and are economically more autonomous.
There is a clear desire on the part of those studying or planning to study,
to live away from the village, at least for a certain period of time. They do
not adamantly reject a life in the village, but they feel that they now have the
opportunity to finally live independently and gain new experiences and that,
perhaps one day in the future they will return to the village and live there.
The fact that they express the wish to one day return and live there may perhaps indicate that the social conditions are not really that oppressive or, it
could indicate that they believe they will one day be able to disregard them
or change them through their own way of life. The villages are developing,
there are new economic activities and, quite possibly, a percentage of those
young people who are studying, will contribute to their further development
in the future.
The attitude of these young people towards education is clear. In talking
about their reasons for completing lyceum, the majority explains that they
want or wanted to move on to academic studies and that they had set this
goal from childhood. They believe that graduating from lyceum is necessary
in our days and that it is a precondition for a better life and for achieving
various goals in life. Academic studies are considered to be a prerequisite for
ensuring employment and are looked upon by the girls, especially by those
who come from less well-to-do cattle-raising and farming families, as the
sole outlet. Furthering their studies is seen as being their only ‘escape’ route
from the village in the hopes of finding a more independent life. This reason
is more often given by the girls than by the boys. For some, the very value of
education itself is also important, while for a small number, the lyceum diploma is the least one must acquire if they hope to be employed today.
Most consider/considered their graduation a given, and academic studies
to be their first priority. They mention characteristically: “My parents are
educated people; they do not own cattle. Studies are my outlet. I could not
imagine myself doing anything else other than studying at the university” a
young Anogian boy said, while a boy from Archanes mentions: “My parents
are both dentists and I want to become a dentist too”. Some girls said: “Ever
since I was a little girl, my aim was to complete my schooling and go to university. It never even crossed my mind to think otherwise”, “I’ve always
wanted to finish school and go to university, there’s no doubt about it”, “I’m
tired of school and studying, but I want to go to university... it’s also what
my family hopes for. After all, if a girl doesn’t further her studies, she’s left
with very few options... not like boys who can work in farming or learn a
skill if they choose not to further their studies. If a girl chooses not to study,
the best thing that can happen to her is that she will be confined to her
house”. It seems that most of the young, with the girls outnumbering the
boys, show a positive attitude towards school and education and have either
graduated or will graduate from lyceum. This tendency is more obvious in
the Anogia community.
The parents’ attitude concerning their children’s choices is quite clear.
They almost all wanted their children to graduate from lyceum and, through
education, gain all the necessary tools for their occupational future and life
in general. Most of them considered it a given that their children would
graduate from lyceum and further their academic studies or that they would
at least attend vocational training programs. Their children feel that they offered great moral and financial support in that direction. For those parents
who are cattle raisers or farmers, further studies constituted the only alternative for their children. In the cases where there was failure to enter university, the parents insisted on their children trying again, and it was difficult
for them when they had to accept their children’s decision to enroll at a
school for vocational- professional training.
The parents clearly support their children becoming educated, the main
reason for this being their hope that their children will secure a future for
themselves and go further than they themselves ever did in life. The cattle
raisers and the farmers in particular, desperately want their children to get an
education so that they might avoid having to lead the harsh and difficult life
of a cattle raiser or a farmer. Those cattle raisers or farmers whose children
are girls express this with even greater concern, as they feel that this is not
an occupation for women. Nevertheless, the poorer families also insist on
their children furthering their education because they feel that they will not
be able to support them in the future.The parents want their children to have
a steady job, a steady income and good working conditions and they feel that
it is their duty to support them in their efforts to secure all this.
The youth gives various interpretations for their parents’ attitudes. In the
cases where there is agreement surrounding the choices, young people from
Anogia mention characteristically: “I will be the only child in the family to
graduate from lyceum”. “They wanted me to have a better life although it
meant being away from them”. “My father has always liked education”.
“They let me continue my studies because they trust that my behavior away
from the village will be the proper one”. “My father knows that the family
assets are not enough for all my brothers. So I had to do something else”.
Finally, one girl mentions that “my parents consider studies to be the only
outlet for a girl”. Accordingly, young girls from Archanes say: “My parents
considered it a given that I would study. They would say, OK, do what you
want in Theatre but see that you get a diploma that will ensure a steady job
for you... now I’ve convinced them that the Theatre is what I want”. “I’m not
all that keen on studying dentistry but my parents have convinced me that it
will be good for my occupational future”, “My parents really want me to
study something that I feel will offer me a comfortable life without the problems that they themselves have had to face”, “My parents know that life today is very demanding and that one must be well equipped to deal with it...
since we were little girls they’ve urged us to be good students and one day
go to university because a diploma ensures security for the future…”.
For many, motivation came from the changes they saw in the lives of their
siblings when they left the villages to study. And so they too state that they
want/wanted to change their own lives, leave the villages, live independently, live in the city and finally, meet other people. Most of the siblings who
have a positive attitude towards school and education have graduated from
lyceum and many have pursued or are pursuing academic studies. Respectively, the education level of these young people’s parents is the highest in
the sample.
The school itself, although criticized as being monotonous and having a
completely uninteresting curriculum, does not seem to affect their effort. On
the contrary, during the last two years of lyceum, they are/were forced to
give up any extra-curricular activities they may have taken up and devote all
their time and effort to preparing for the university entrance exams. The
leavers are those who work/worked hard and persevered, are highly motivated and are deeply aware of how important these years and their choices
are/were for the future. Perhaps what strengthens their resolve to succeed in
their aim is the fact that, as students, they live in the villages but would like
to leave so as to experience life elsewhere.
When judging the attitude of their peers, those with a positive attitude
towards school believe that many of the young people in the village of
Anogia and most in Archanes with the girls outnumbering the boys, aim at
doing academic studies. They claim that some of them really try to pursue
the best possible studies but that there are also quite a few who just want to
gain entrance somewhere without really caring about the occupational future
their studies can provide. They say that many find school to be very difficult
and do not comprehend the value of being educated. They all agree that the
girls try harder than the boys do and are better students. They do not agree
with those who choose to drop out of school to become cattle-raisers or
farmers without at least trying to get a diploma from a technical lyceum.
Finally, none of the lyceum graduates have regretted their choice. Those
in school feel that they will have achieved their aim if they succeed in getting into the field of study they have chosen and they state that they are very
confident about the choices they have made. Those doing academic studies
are satisfied because their first goal has already been achieved.
At the very least, the situation is indicative of the young people’s intention to have their own future place of residence. About half the young people
will leave the village to pursue further studies. They do not know whether
they will return. However, it is an option some of them have kept open for
the future.
6.7. Summing up
On completing this unit which deals with the transition of the young people
from the school structure to the job market, we could say that there are many
different main strategies which, in the course of time, undergo changes and
are formed depending on the outcome of events.
To sum up, we could say the following:
In these small societies, the traditional roles have been overturned as regards
the youth and their professional perspectives, and to a great degree these are
accepted by the local society. The majority of young people follow new
practices in seeking employment. These characterise the following three
types of youth: the stayers, the ambivalent and the leavers. These types can
be characterized as ‘ideal types’. According to Max Weber, the ideal type is
an intellectual construction based on rationalism. It is formed through
emphasis on or exaggeration of one or more characteristics or views
observed in reality. It is a limiting concept used as a precedent for comparing
real situations and actions during the research process (Timasheff, 1964).
In order to link the previously presented types of stayers, ambivalent and
leavers, I have added the concepts of tradition and modernity in this summary. I will return to this theoretical construction in the final discussion:
The traditional type: the stayers
Boys who adopt traditional roles and pursue traditional professions.
There is a high school dropout rate among these boys. Traditional values and practices are dominant. The stayers consist of the majority of
boys in Anogia and the minority as regards Archanes. These are the
boys who remain in the village.
Girls who adopt traditional roles and are almost completely reconciled
with them. Here, we see unemployment and a high school dropout rate.
Traditional values and practices are dominant. The stayers consist of a
minority of girls. These are the girls who remain in the village.
The ambivalent type: the ambivalent
Boys who either have not rejected traditional roles or do not identify
with them to a great degree but nevertheless, were forced to pursue new
vocational practices. This is accompanied by completion of compulsory
education or secondary education and often enrolment in technical ly115
ceum or technical schools for vocational studies. Traditional values
seem to prevail or to be present, but modernistic practices are followed
as well. The ambivalent type consists of a minority of boys. These are
the boys who remain in the village.
Girls who feel ambivalence as regards the traditional roles without being completely able to escape them. The dropout rate is rather high.
Here, we can see alternative solutions in career studies such as vocational training and salary-paying jobs, part time jobs as well as unemployment. Traditional values do not seem to prevail, and the followed
practices are both traditional and non-traditional ones. The ambivalent
type consists of a minority of girls as well. These are the girls who remain in the village.
The modern type: the leavers
Boys who have rejected traditional roles and have chosen new vocational practices. This is always accompanied by completion of secondary education and by either enrolment in a technical institute or vocational training institute in the case of Anogia, and studies at an academic level which is more obvious in the case of Archanes. Traditional
values seem to be rejected and modernistic practices are followed. The
leavers consist of the minority of boys in Anogia and the majority of
boys in Archanes. These are the boys who usually leave the village.
Girls who have rejected traditional roles and have chosen new vocational practices. This is always accompanied by completion of secondary education and either a degree from an institute for professional
training or the pursuit of academic studies as regards both the case of
Anogia and the case of Archanes. Traditional values seem to be rejected
and modernistic practices are followed. The leavers consist of the majority of girls. These are the girls who usually leave the village.
It is clear that education constitutes a means of transition from the rural area
to the urban center. In general, the secondary-school graduates greatly outnumber the student dropouts who are more frequently boys than girls. In total, traditional values seem to be adopted much more by the boys than by the
girls, while the girls are those who seem to reject them. This observation
may be considered remarkable – although very reasonable – if we take into
consideration that Anogia and Archanes seem to be traditional and maledominant societies and as such, the social emancipation of women is limited.
The steady tendency of the girls to gain the right to employment, with what116
ever this entails, reflects the diffusion of modernity into the life of these societies. It is this fact that has led this study to shed light on gender differentiation as regards occupational perspectives.
In closing, this presentation came about as a result of analysing the various strategies followed by the youth of the two communities in their quest
for integration into the job market and has therefore offered a clearer understanding of the existing differentiation among them as regards their attitudes,
perceptions and followed practices. As a result, we now have answers to the
first research question of our study regarding the occupational orientations
and choice of occupation of the young people within the communities of
Anogia and Archanes. The lack of homogeneity presented reveals the fluidity within the social status quo that the youth are called upon to face and
associate with before they can fulfil their aims. We will move on to take a
more detailed look at how the youth interpret this reality. This will help us
gain a better understanding of the main contextual factors that contribute to
the young people’s occupational orientations and choice of occupation.
The following chapter 7 describes the general ideas young people have
regarding occupation and the work opportunities offered in their villages.
Chapter 7: Youth’s general ideas about occupation – the
job market
7.1. Introduction
In the previous chapter, we ascertained that there are three different paths
followed by the youth during the transition process from school to the job
market. As a result, some village youth are characterized as ‘stayers’, some
as ‘ambivalent’ and some as ’leavers’. By extension, these three different
types of youth also express different life values. In continuing the analysis,
the study will seek to gain further insight into the factors that contribute to
the young people’s occupational orientations and choice of occupation, thus
providing answers to the second question posed in the study.
By using the paradigm model (Strauss & Corbin, 1990) as the basis for
the structure and content of the analysis, this chapter will present the views
expressed by the youth concerning the local job market (i.e. causal conditions according to the paradigm model). The prospects the job market offers
for job placement and permanent employment constitute a basic factor which
is taken into serious consideration by the youth when deciding on and planning their occupational future.
At this point, I would like to mention that, owing to the credibility of the
analysis, in particular to that of the Grounded theory analysis (Strauss &
Corbin, 1990), many quotations taken from the interviews with the young
people have been used in the texts that follow. Additionally, the present
chapter, as well as chapters seven and eight, attempt to present a comparative analysis that derives from the data gathered from the two settings, starting with that obtained in Anogia and continuing with that obtained in Archanes.
Let us now take a more analytical look at how the young people who live
or used to live in either of these two villages deal with their lives and their
future in relation to their job placement.
7.2. The young peoples’ general ideas about occupational conditions in the villages
When planning or outlining their future, the young people of the villages
seem to take into consideration the more general conditions that exist in their
communities, while those concerning occupation prevail. Their attitude towards them and their awareness of the outcomes varies. These determine
each one’s final choice regarding his/her plans for occupational placement.
The case of Anogia
When expressing their opinion as regards the occupational sector, the young
people of Anogia feel there is a high rate of unemployment among young
people as well as a lack of opportunities for occupation in the village unless
one wants to work in cattle-raising, as it constitutes the only option available
to them. Unemployment among the young population as a more general
phenomenon does not seem to worry them. Not that they are not aware of it.
However, when considering the tremendous lack of employment prospects
in the village, the opportunities outside the village seem endless. They take
advantage of the possibilities and opportunities the nearest urban centres can
offer to those seeking them. Being “so close and yet so far” from the urban
centres has enabled them to interact with broader social surroundings while
maintaining their physiognomy and identity.
The case of Archanes
Most of the young people of Archanes believe that their village “isn’t a poor
place”, on the contrary “the majority of the inhabitants enjoy a good standard of living” and their village “has developed greatly in recent years”.
But they feel that farming is no longer as profitable as it used to be. This is
accompanied by a general feeling of dissatisfaction and worry. The vast majority of young people believe that their village has been undergoing a process of development and that this has also helped create new services in the
private sector, a new job market and new growth prospects but that, despite
all this, the problem of unemployment still has n#t been solved. Farming no
longer constitutes the sole sector of economic activity but it still remains the
chief determining factor of economic and social life in the village.
7.3. Occupation sectors
When discussing sectors young people can be occupied with in the Anogia
and Archanes villages, they mention cattle-raising and farming, correspondingly, as the main sectors of economic activities. In both villages, a few
young people have the opportunity to work in small family businesses such
as taverns, restaurants, cafes, stores and so on, usually on a part time basis.
The work positions in certain small industries and in the public sector are
limited and are already saturated. Many young men have become technicians
and work independently in the free market. In Archanes, a primary aim of
many young men is to succeed in combining farm work with another occupation.
It is on the basis of this economic setting and job market that the young people make their assessments concerning their employment prospects in the
villages. The majority believes that their possibilities for employment in the
villages are limited, unless they wish to work in cattle-raising or farming,
which constitutes the only guaranteed alternative for the boys. “If someone
wants to work in the village, there is work in farming and construction.... a
lot of work, that is, work we all do here in the village. On the other hand,
those who do not feel like working and would rather live off their father’s
money... well, that’s a different story. We’re talking about those kids who,
like me and many others here in the village, aren't furthering their studies.
They just don’t want to work in farming” says one young farmer, a stayer,
from Archanes.
The perspectives for occupation in the villages do not seem to be the
same for the two sexes.
7.3.1. The boys
The case of Anogia
The overwhelming majority of the young men in Anogia become herdsmen,
taking after their fathers and their brothers, while only some of the farmers’
sons became farmers too. “Ever since I was a little boy I had decided to become a herdsman, like the majority of young men here” a young herdsman, a
stayer, said, while a farmer’s son, an ambivalent, said characteristically:
“There is no money in farming any more. Whatever my father can do, let him
do it alone. He himself does not want me to be occupied in farming. The income is not enough even for one person. He is disappointed. He’s encouraging us to leave the village”. A few young men work in salary based jobs in
different sectors. Having cattle-raising as an alternative, the majority of
young men stay in Anogia. A young man, an ambivalent one, although a
herdsman’s son, did not follow in his father’s footsteps: “As I said before, I
am an only son and this job requires the work of at least two persons. It is
usually handed down from father to sons. For me, it was difficult since I
don’t have a brother. In a few years, my father will be unable to practice this
job. How could I look after the cattle alone? Cattle stealing is a fact that has
discouraged single sons from entering this job. So, since I’ve graduated Lyceum I could not become a herdsman. I decided to follow vocational training
and become a technician”. Some, but explicitly few, follow academic studies: “My parents and my grandparents were educated people. So I guess I’ve
taken after them in their thirst for knowledge. Working with my hands would
not satisfy me. I intend to take part in the national exams for entering University or TEI and I will persist until I succeed in pursuing academic stud120
ies” a young man, a leaver, said. Both his parents work in the public sector
although they own and cultivate land.
The case of Archanes
The situation is slightly different in Archanes. Many boys drop out of
school. Some of them become farmers. Although farming may not constitute
a satisfactory sector for work, it still is an important alternative for the young
boys. Some others attend schools for vocational training to become technicians. They can easily get seasonal or temporary jobs, do a day’s wage or
find employment in the city. Nevertheless, many boys complete Lyceum and
pursue further academic studies.
7.3.2. The girls
The case of Anogia
On the other hand, they all agree that girls in Anogia cannot find work in the
village or at least they all agree that in Archanes, occupational choices and
work positions for unskilled girls are limited. “If there was work here it
would be paradise” a young Anogian girl, a stayer, said. “The majority of
the young people have left. Only those who became involved in cattle-raising
at a young age stayed here. The girls of course have all left. Only the married ones have remained here. Very few…”. “In the village one is ruined”
another girl who lives in Anogia, an ambivalent, said. “There is nothing one
can do. What can a young girl be occupied with in Anogia? Weaving?
Housekeeping? You are completely ruined. If you can not find a job, the only
prospect left is marriage”. Young girls have changed perceptions and do not
seem to be willing to follow the clearly defined traditional role women used
to have, at least not to its entire extent. This is the main reason for which the
vast majority of the girls completes lyceum and pursues academic studies.
Thus, more girls than boys leave the villages to study. Those who fail to enter university or TEI, attend professional or, to a lesser degree, vocational
training. In this way, they endeavour to become professionally well equipped
to competitively enter the public or private job sectors of either the village or
the city.
The case of Archanes
In Archanes, female employment in farming as a main job is a rare exception: “The girls are not occupied in farming. They all turn their noses up to
it... most of them at least. There are exceptions to the rule, of course....... it
doesn’t make them less long as their parents teach them the
value of work…” comments a young student, while a young farmer, a stayer,
is more caustic, he says: “there are young girls who work hard in the vineyards, they drive tractors and do the ploughing........ but they are few. The
others are afraid they may ruin their manicure”. However, there are girls
who have dropped out of school and abandoned any attempt at gaining some
professional training and who, as a result, remain unemployed or semiemployed in the village. Lack of professional training has not enabled them
to be competitive in the job market of the village, let alone the city. This, and
not so much their parents’ refusal to let them work in the city, is the main
reason for which they are forced to stay at home. “In this day and age of the
21st century we still have cases, not many but a noteworthy percentage,
where girls get married at the age of 16 or 17. This saddens me... some become hairdressing assistants, others salesgirls…” comments a young man
about the girls who abandon school. Similarly to Anogia, the majority of the
girls complete lyceum and pursue academic studies. They became leavers.
7.3.3. The parents
According to the young participants, it seems that the parents consider their
children’s work placement to be of vital importance. It is of less importance
to them where their children will relocate in their search of employment.
They would of course, prefer that place to be the village. Heraklion, offers
the required solution, while seeking employment outside Crete is by no
means desired. “Crossing the sea is like emigrating”, they say characteristically.
The case of Anogia
In Anogia, cattle-raising is widely perceived as being a solution which however, refers exclusively to the boys of the family. There are many who believe that the girls have no choice but to study and then seek employment.
Many other parents believe that marriage is the best future prospect for the
girls. They would rather the girls remained in the village. In some cases,
there are disagreements within the family and it is usually the fathers who
disagree with the girls’ departure. “Our mother wanted us to leave so that
we could become educated and pursue careers. Our father was completely
opposed. He wanted us to stay close by. He doesn’t understand that by doing
that he is closing our doors to opportunity”, said a young girl, an ambivalent, who lives in the village. In any case, the departure of their children is an
event that causes sadness within the family. “Our parents would prefer that
we stay on here, but work opportunities do not and can not possibly exist in
Anogia”, mentions one young man, while a young woman, a leaver, tells us:
“My mother is very sad. My sisters have gone and I’ll be leaving too. Only
my brother will stay on. I’m trying very hard to make her understand me.
She’s always tried to do what’s best for us. She says that she wants me to at
least go to Heraklion, where I’d be closer to the village”.
The case of Archanes
In Archanes this is a more characteristic trend. It seems that the parents encourage their children to further their studies or to at least remain in school.
Most do not wish for their children to become farmers although this is usually inevitable. Today, all the basic needs of livelihood are covered and are a
given for the vast majority of the inhabitants. This gives the young inhabitants and their parents, the ‘luxury’ of ‘choice’. At the same time, new values,
ideas and perceptions have seeped into this otherwise closed environment
and have brought about changes in the traditional roles and particularly in
the traditional role of women.
7.4. Outlets in traditional occupational sectors
Correspondingly, since cattle-raising and farming in Anogia and Archanes
constitute the main sectors of economic activity, it is important to examine
the views the young people hold as regards these sectors of production. Do
they constitute economic sectors with an absorption capacity to accommodate their youth? Are they seen as attractive prospects? The answers to these
questions will greatly determine whether these young people become stayers, ambivalent or leavers.
The case of Anogia
When commenting on the ‘traditional occupation’ the young present the
given situation as follows: Cattle-raising is the main occupation, which is of
course true. Thus, the majority and not only those belonging to cattle-raising
families believe that the future of the village is dependent upon the future of
cattle-raising. “Anogia is a village that has always been supported by and
depends on its cattle raisers. They are what keep the village on its feet. When
cattle-raising ceases to exist in Anogia, everyone will leave. There are others
who do other jobs but the village economy is controlled by the cattle raisers”, says one young man, a stayer, characteristically.
One can easily sense a general feeling of insecurity regarding the future
of cattle-raising. If subsidization one day stops, they believe cattle-raising
will no longer be a financially viable sector. Only few believe that the way in
which subsidization was handled was not conducive to their field. They do
however admit that their profits are far from good and that their bank debts
are very high. Furthermore, they mention the parameter that has to do with
the dangers and risks of the job, this for example being diseases and weather
conditions that affect productivity. However, the most threatening factor is
cattle stealing and the constant need to protect one’s cattle. This is why families with many boys are seen as being strong. There are no days off for special holidays or celebrations, nor are there days for rest and relaxation.
Commuting during winter and the separation of the family are also mentioned as negative factors. Where farming is concerned, they believe that the
job is a strenuous one and that their income is constantly shrinking. They can
continue to help their parents but, as far as they are concerned, this occupation can only offer them a supplementary income.
A traditional field of occupation for women within the context of the
household economy used to be weaving. Weaving, as a sector of economic
activity, does not seem to be an attractive option among the young women.
They believe that its future depends upon the development of tourism in the
village, which has experienced a decline in recent years. It is a difficult craft
for one to learn and the existing incentives are not adequate enough to motivate young women’s serious involvement in it.
All the young people in Anogia talk about the need for modernization of
the village as well as for the creation of new job posts. The funded support
of the cattle-raising sector, the improvement of the road network to urban
centres and the centres offering job training programs are all regarded as being important steps in that direction. They want the Youth Centre of the village to resume its previous functions as a cultural meeting place and job
training area. The solutions, as many feel, must come from the government,
the mayor, and politicians originating from Anogia, while the idea that the
inhabitants themselves must do something is very rarely expressed. Although they appreciate the efforts made by politicians, the mayor, village
unions and services, they feel that they have failed to solve the problem regarding the development of the region.
The case of Archanes
When commenting on the village’s main occupation of farming, the young
believe that indeed the village economy is based on the cultivation of vineyards and olive groves and that this has enabled and still enables many families to have a very good life. From this perspective, it is an occupation that is
highly respected in the village. From another perspective, it is not considered
an occupation that holds any prestige since it does not require any special
knowledge and is common in the village as everyone has farmland of their
own. However, it is unanimously considered a difficult and hard occupation,
especially in the area of grape cultivation. It requires daily attendance and
work on the part of the cultivator (this often constitutes a hindering factor for
the young) and depending on the size of the land, extra work hands are often
needed. Produce prices are considered to be very low and do not satisfy farmers. As a result, the unsteady income and strenuous work required are two
factors that discourage the young from becoming involved in farming.
Nevertheless, there are also young people who assess the situation from a
different perspective: “All occupations involve risk and if you don’t take
risks, you’ll never get anywhere in life. The weather conditions and the other
difficulties don’t mean anything to me” states a young farmer, a stayer, who
goes on to say: “…if you handle and work on your crop properly, you’re
sure to profit”. Many young farmers are beginning to deal with crop cultivation not simply as empirical work settling for whatever it may yield but rather, as a business activity, which requires knowledge, organization, the
know-how of specialists, updating, insight and economic management. They
claim that farming is not as difficult as it once was because today, farmers
rely greatly on mechanical means. There are quite a few who trust the opinions of specialists concerning their fathers’ empirical cultivation: “… we
need the knowledge and assistance of specialists. This is what I’m trying to
do and my father trusts me because he sees that things are getting better
now” states a young farmer, an ambivalent, while, on the contrary, another
young farmer, a stayer, states: “I myself am the agriculturalist of my own
vineyard”. It is clear that traditional and modern views co-exist among the
young farmers.
However, despite the positive attitude of these young people toward
farming, many of them support that a second job ensures a better life or at
least allows one to make ends meet. This is common practice for young farmers who, in this case however, usually end up neglecting their crops while
settling for “what will be, will be”. However, these young people ultimately
support that, if they had to settle for any occupation, they would be much
better off turning to farming as it would certainly earn them a better income
than any other salary-paying job.
The improved working conditions in this occupation do not seem to convince the young, most of whom want to escape from the accompanying way
of life. Comparing themselves with their parents' generation, they acknowledge that “times have changed”. They believe that previous generations
were content with fewer things, they made fewer demands, their standard of
living was lower and, generally speaking, life was easier. “They didn’t expect much” mentions a young-working man, an ambivalent, “yes, that’s for
sure. …for example in those days they weren’t well off and the whole neigh125
bourhood would gather, I experienced this myself as a child, and we’d eat
sunflower seeds, watch a movie on TV and that was basically our entertainment …”. Furthermore, this is a generation that cannot imagine itself
working according to set hours or a strict time schedule or under management hierarchy. “The people here are accustomed to their way of life in the
vineyards and they could not tolerate having a boss over them”. Nowadays,
things are completely different. The young demand a good quality of life,
thus their needs have extended beyond the realms of mere survival as they
have more expenses to cover because they want more material goods for the
home, work and for their personal needs. “Yes, demands are greater today ...
for example each family owns 5 or 6 cars. Just considering the servicing
needed for each car ... well, you get the picture...”. They are not exclusively
devoted to their work but rather, they also want to enjoy themselves, live
comfortably, be educated and see the world. These expectations are completely legitimate. “I’ve never left Crete, only when I served in the army.
I’ve no idea how people live in other places. I’d like to know more” states a
young farmer characteristically. The young want to savour the achievements
and material goods of the modern world ‘on equal footing’ and escape from
rural life.
As regards tourism, the young believe that it has helped their village as
many families have alternatively begun their own small tourist businesses:
“Here in Archanes, certain occupations have developed over the last few
years such as, let’s say, that of my parents. The taverns, the restaurants...
have all acquired a favorable reputation and many people come here on
Sundays. Many have named Archanes the eatery of Heraklion”. Another
example of this is this quotation: “Tourism is a reliable source of income
and, because of the type of tourism involved here, it is not only limited to the
summer season but rather, exists all year round. Quite a few citizens of Archanes make a living from this and the town’s municipality makes money
from the reasonable taxes it collects. In my opinion, tourism is a very smart
move because it is based on a sturdy foundation and continues to grow”. It
is considered an activity that will not stop, although the potential for further
development is not limitless. However, venturing into the sector of tourism
is no easy matter for the young as they feel that this has already become a
highly competitive sector requiring a large amount of capital.
The majority of the youth feel that the town’s municipality has been the
driving force for development. “The people here really work hard” a young
man mentioned, “but the village has developed due to the Mayor’s efforts,
due to action taken in general over the last few years, due to the regeneration it has undergone…”. They also look to federal agricultural policy for
greater support, while some believe that farmers themselves need to change
their mentality which holds that hands-on experience is better than scientific
or school knowledge and know-how. Generally speaking however, they believe that the village itself cannot solve issues regarding unemployment and
farming policies and that these constitute matters that only the federal government can successfully deal with. There are also those who feel utterly
disheartened by the existing situation in the sectors of employment and farming policy.
As regards the new program for the ‘certification of the quality of vine
cultivation and produce’35, very few young people are aware of this and the
potential benefits it may bring to farmers in the future. As one young farmer,
an ambivalent, explains, the aim of the program is: “with the assistance of
experts, to urge us to cultivate our vineyards with fewer pesticides so that
our produce is more ecologically friendly than what we’ve been producing
up to now. This will make us more competitive on the market and our grapes
will have better prices. Imagine how good it would be for our region if
everyone participated”. As with all innovative ventures, this one too is
looked upon with scepticism by some young farmers, the stayers, who, as
someone stated, do not want to lose their “independence”. For some, mutual
ventures are better while for others, they are not. The same scepticism exists
as regards the “young farmers’ program”36 which assists young farmers
through funding, seminars and know-how. An insufficient diffusion of information, the red tape involved in the program and possibly, the abovementioned scepticism were reasons for some farmers not participating in the
program. “I found out about this program at the shop where I purchase fertilizer. I’m very pleased” states a young man who has been integrated in the
program. “I’ll apply but I don’t know exactly what it’s about” states a young
girl, while another young man says characteristically: “…most of those who
apply, do so for the funding… so they can buy a better car”, “now that I’ve
been informed, I’m going to apply” mentions a young driver, “ as I will be
better able to tend to my vineyard.”
With the constant support of the municipal authorities, a civil non-profit organization was
set up in 2005 for the benefit of producers, its principle objective being the certification of
quality for the edible ‘soultanina’ grape, both on the national market as well as on the markets
of Western Europe, where the product is mainly sold. The aim of the organization is to intervene in the cultivation technique applied by producers for the sake of meeting product safety
standards and protecting cultivators.
A program partly financed by the EU aiming at supporting young farmers.
7.5. Strategies for entering the job market
The range of assessments and strategies on behalf of young people has specific consequences and thus, enables us to make specific evaluations.
The case of Anogia
The efforts made for the development of the village have not brought the
desired results. Consequently, as regards job placement, they say that this
village is currently experiencing a high rate of unemployment and consequently, there has been a strong sense of uncertainty for the future among the
young inhabitants. Job prospects exist, in most part, for cattle raisers – with
whatever problems this entails. The youngsters in Anogia deal with this
situation by adopting their own personal strategies and tactics that will hopefully lead to their entering the job market. Collective strategies have not been
The situation is not the same for both sexes. There is clear differentiation.
The boys must work at all costs. They have the alternative of becoming
herdsmen and many of them do. Eventually, the majority stays on in the village and goes into cattle-raising. They follow the traditional path (see chapter 5).
Additionally, the boys are free to leave the village and seek employment
at the nearest urban centres. Many would rather not have to leave, although
they do. They have low school progress reports and show very little interest
in learning, while the dropout rate is high. Some attend public or private institutes that specialise in job training programmes and many boys attend
$.D.W.F.37 schools which offer job training for technical professions. There
are quite a few who complete lyceum and turn to relatives and fellow villagers to help them find a job in the city while those who stay on in the village
go into the family business. They follow the ambivalent path.
A few pursue academic studies. These boys are often looked down on by
the previously mentioned majority, for being good students and setting high
academic goals. They follow the modern path.
For the girls, work placement is not seen as equally vital. The village offers them no job prospects. If a girl desires to be employed, she must leave
the village. And this is what most of them desire. However, they must first
graduate from lyceum. They can leave only if they have already secured a
job either after attending a job-training institute or after completing further
Organization for Development of Work Force.
academic studies, which is not easy. Thus, they study harder and do better in
school. Many of the girls who end up staying in the village would rather
have left. Some do not have their family’s permission to leave while others
did not meet the necessary requirements that would enable them to do so. In
both cases, their stay in the village means that eventually, they will see marriage as a possible solution to the bleak reality of certain unemployment. The
majority graduates from lyceum and leaves the village to pursue academic
In their pursuit of better job prospects or academic studies, the majority
of young people choose Heraklion as their re-location setting due to its close
proximity to the village and the fact that many of their relatives already live
there and can offer any necessary assistance or support. Relocation outside
of Crete is not looked upon as being a desired prospect and such a possibility
is not pursued unless it has to do with academic studies. In general, such relocation is considered a kind of emigrating from Crete. This of course, does
not mean that it does not exist at all.
The case of Archanes
It seems that the young people of Archanes find themselves in a less difficult
position, as their village is less isolated and less attached to traditional values
as opposed to Anogia, and because they can maintain farming as an additional source of income. Respectively, they have developed various strategies and tactics so as to set the boundaries of their own future the way they
feel suits them better.
On a general and vague level, they recommend further development of
the village, greater support in farming and measures that will fight unemployment. This, we may say, is the framework within which they are aware
of the problems afflicting their social environment. In practice, this transforms into individual strategies which each one of them develops on his/her
As time progresses, there are fewer and fewer young people who see
farming in a positive light. For those who still do, a lucrative piece of farming property, along with hard work, ensures a good life. They cannot understand how anyone would prefer a salary-paying job to farming and they acknowledge that one’s vineyards are worth abandoning only if someone is
pursuing an academic career. Anyway, the young farmers themselves,
though still maintaining traditional ways of thinking, have also adopted a
more modern mentality. Though the former is dominant, the latter, that being
modernization, has indeed entered their lives. These are the young people
who follow the traditional way, the stayers.
The majority of the young people have developed a negative attitude towards
their involvement in farming. Farming tends to constitute a second job for
this new generation. There are objective and subjective reasons for this. The
former has to do with the size of the farming property, although those with
small properties are indeed few. The latter has to do with the change in attitude and lifestyle sought after by the young, this also including a change in
social models, principles and values. They point out that: they do not want to
have to work hard, they would like to earn a higher and more steady income
than that of their parents because they believe they have greater demands
and, consequently, greater needs compared to their parents and, finally, they
want to have enough free time to make use of all of the above.
The youths’ refusal to take on farming as a main occupation has brought
this age-old occupation to a critical point. There are also some young people
who do nothing at all: “They have their daddy’s money. They pocket 20-30
Euros a day and just sit around. They’re lazy. I have no idea how their fathers can afford this”. For an ever-increasing number of young people crop
cultivation constitutes and will continue to constitute a secondary occupation. When their parents inevitably retire from crop farming, no one knows
what will follow and what the consequences of this will be for the village.
Most of the young people seek employment in larger job markets than that of
their village. Nevertheless, there are quite a few who prefer the idea of finding a job in their village. The follow an ambivalent path and are the ambivalent.
And so, most of the young pursue and finally do academic studies. They
believe that an academic degree will help them find a job but, at the same
time, some feel that it will improve their social image. They follow the modern path and are the leavers.
The existing difficulties surrounding female employment have led more
girls than boys in the direction of further studies. Dropping out of school
leads to unemployment, lack of steady work and unstable employment.
Farming as a main occupation constitutes a rare exception. Enrolment in
schools for vocational and professional training constitutes a final option for
those who failed to enter academic schools as this later helps them to find
salary-paying work, while technical training is better than nothing. The majority of the girls pursue academic studies as the ideal means for securing
future employment. And in this case as well, the girls outnumber the boys in
pursuing such studies.
Here as well, the urban centre chosen by most of the young people as a
workplace is Heraklion. The fact that it is only a short distance from their
village increases their range of choices and the strategies they develop for
entering the job market. For many, it is a choice made out of preference
while for others, it is a choice made out of need. However, the mere fact that
this urban centre is only a stone’s throw away from their village, is definitely
something the young have taken into consideration or have looked upon as a
given. This fact has also spared them and their families the otherwise huge
dilemma of whether to remain in the village or leave. Other urban centres are
chosen only as places of study and the young usually return to the island on
completion of their studies unless of course they get married or begin a
promising career elsewhere.
Based on the accounts and views imparted to me by the young, this is
how things stand regarding the general employment conditions that exist in
the village.
The following table summarises the content of the chapter:
Table 2: Job placement and the educational level of the stayers, the ambivalent and the leavers.
Job placeCattle risers
Unemployed Farmers
Occasional work
Educational Low
Job placeTechnicians
Salary paying Salary paySalary paySalary paying
ing job
ing job
Job placement
Farming as a
second job
Farming as a
source of income
Salary paying
Salary paying job
Salary paying job
Farming as a
source of
Salary paying
Farming as a
source of income
Academic studies
In chapter 8, the youths’ own occupational orientations and desires are discussed together with what they represent for them.
Chapter 8: Youth occupational orientations and choices
The previous chapter presented the general conditions that exist in the villages regarding the occupational perspectives of the young. These conditions
are taken into consideration by young people when planning for their occupational future. Within this general outline, we may now look into the more
particular and specific attitudes and prospects that they have set for themselves. These are defined by the way they experience and interpret the overall conditions, but also, by each one’s personal conditions that intervene,
exist or arise and are taken into consideration when creating strategies for
succeeding in their aims. In terms of the “paradigm model”, this part of the
study describes: the context or, in other words, what the young participants’
job orientations or job placements are, their main reasons for choosing the
specific job, other intervening factors that influence their decisions, the strategies and efforts they make/made for accomplishing their aims and finally,
the consequences of the above-described process.
We can start by looking at some of the evidence derived from the study
on the personal work orientations or professional status of the young people
who took part in the interviews. As we will notice, the job orientations or the
professional status of the participants will further verify gender differentiation as regards job placement and attitude/practice towards education.
8.1. Job orientations or the professional status of young people
participating in the study.
The case of Anogia
In total, 15 young people originating from Anogia took part in the interviews.
Of those who have already dropped out of school (1 boy and 4 girls), the
boy is a herdsman while the 4 girls are unemployed. One is married to a cattle raiser and has 2 children. Since they are unemployed, they occupy themselves with the household duties while, during the winter quarters offer a
great amount of help with the cattle. One young girl attended a hair dressing
school but was unable to set up a viable business in the village. In total, the
five youngsters who dropped out of the school will continue to live in the
The three young people who will graduate from lyceum this year (2 girls
and 1 boy) are planning to leave for further studies.
Of those who have already graduated from lyceum (3 boys and 4 girls), two
girls are currently working, one in journalism, a profession she had studied
at a private institute in Heraklion, while the other is working at her elderly
parent’s shop in the village. Although she is a university graduate, she has
not been able to find employment in her field of study. Of the others, (3 boys
and 2 girls), one boy is now studying to become a technician. Another is going to pursue similar studies. And the other, after having worked in his family’s cattle-raising business, will now do his military service and pursue a
career in the tourism sector because their cattle-raising business will not be
able to support all the brothers. Of the girls, one succeeded in pursuing academic studies and the second, after failing twice in the Pan-Hellenic University entrance exams, has applied for entrance at a public institution for professional training in marketing and is very worried about whether or not she
will be accepted. She does not have the financial means to attend a private
institute. In total, 9 of them are planning their professional future in such a
way that, if they succeed, employment will be feasible only in an urban center.
What about their siblings? If we look closely at the siblings of the interviewees, we will find certain facts to be quite revealing. In total, we are talking about 44 siblings of which 8 are pupils and lyceum students. Of the 36
remaining, 17 siblings live in the village. Of the male siblings, ten are
herdsmen, while all five female siblings are unemployed. The remaining 19
have left. These are 2 male and 17 female siblings. Two female siblings have
gotten married and moved to other villages and 17 siblings have relocated to
urban centres. One male and five female siblings are away studying while
the others are employed in Heraklion or outside Crete.
It seems that the participants and their siblings constitute part of the general conditions which have already been described.
The case of Archanes
As far as Archanes is concerned, a total of 14 young people took part in the
Seven of them work. Of the 3 boys, the first is a full-time farmer, the second has farming as his main occupation while doing seasonal work as an
electrical assistant, and the third works as a driver for various companies in
Heraklion while maintaining his own medium sized farmland. Of the three,
only two have completed compulsory education. None of the above occupations are characterized by permanency. That which offers some relative certainty is the income derived from farming.
Of the four girls, the first two work under temporary contract in public service departments located in the village, the third one works as a private clerk
in Heraklion while the forth is a farmer who, along with her family, runs a
small convenience shop in the village. Correspondingly, the studies they
have completed are at accounting institutions for professional training and at
the technical lyceum.
Seven have not entered the job market yet. Five are students in their final
year of lyceum (2 boys and 3 girls) and intend to pursue academic studies.
The other two are already pursuing academic studies and are doing seasonal
work in cafes or on the farm. Most of the chosen fields of study lead to a
dependence in salary paid work.
If we look closely at the siblings of the young people from Archanes who
took part in the study, we will discover quite a few revealing findings. In
total, we are talking about 17 siblings of whom 8 are high school and lyceum
students who intend to do vocational or academic studies and live, at least
for a while, away from the village.
None of the siblings have farming as a sole job. Of the male siblings, one
has become a plumber while the other works as a farmer and winemaker in
the family business. Of the female siblings, three are employed in the private
sector, in Archanes and in Heraklion, and two others are unemployed and
One male sibling is attending an institute for professional training to become an accountant, two others are studying at TEI of Athens and one female sibling is studying at the University of Crete.
The girls, more than the boys, complete lyceum and pursue further studies. Similarly to Anogia, it seems that the participants of the study and their
siblings make up part of the general conditions.
However, apart from the young people’s present or future main occupations, we can clearly see some involvement, to a greater or lesser degree, in
the family business or in farming or in cattle-raising, regardless of whether
this constitutes a primary or secondary family occupation. Many of them
have long been helping their families with cattle-raising, farming or any
temporary wage-earning jobs they could find. Assisting the family is typical
of most young people and is something that really concerns them. This is
also the case with all the young people who intend to further their studies or
who are already studying, as they, more or less, continue to offer their assistance in the family business. The secondary students mainly help over the
summer, during holidays and harvest periods. The university students help
on a more permanent level. “Every weekend, I help my father with the gardening and in the vineyard” mentions a young female university student,
while a male student states: “I often accompany my father to the fields… we
harvest the olives and grapes by ourselves… after all, they are few... just
enough for family consumption…”
This practice is more obvious in Archanes than in Anogia: “I actively
help in farming” a young girl says, “and I like it as opposed to my brother
who does not even know where our property lies”, while another says: “I
rarely help but I like farming. I will never sell the family fields and in the
future I will take over their cultivation with my future husband”. As is often
the case, one of the siblings takes over the farm cultivation and pays the others their respective shares of the crop yield earnings: “I have worked in
farming since I was a little girl and I run our farming property with my father. My sisters are not interested” or “I run the family farmland… my
brother will not be a farmer. Thus, the vast majority of young people is,
more or less, closely and personally involved in farming. It seems that this
connection will follow most of them regardless of the occupation they
choose to practice or are already practicing. The available potential of making profitable use of the family farmland is indeed a huge advantage these
young people have over their Anogian counterparts.
In summarising the content of this chapter, it would be safe to say that the
occupational status or the occupational orientations of the participants are
easily classified into the three diverging types – stayers, ambivalent and
leavers – which the young people of both villages seem to follow.
8.2. Main arguments for occupational choices
After taking into consideration how the young people assess the economic
environment of their villages (see chapter 6), let us now see some main arguments the young participants put forward. In evaluating the whole situation, they interject their reasons for choosing the occupation they are already
doing or are planning to do. Cattle-raisers and farmers have their own reasons: “A cattle-raiser is his own boss”, “As a farmer I earn more than a
clerk who works in the private sector”, “I’ve liked farming since I was a
little girl…Combining farming with the small shop I own seems good to me”.
These are some of the reasons given by “stayers”. However, there are others
who are forced to do the work they do, these being the “ambivalent” ones:
“Work in the private sector is all I have been able to find up to now. I’d prefer to be employed in the public sector where your future is more secure and
one has better working conditions…” a girl said. “After repeatedly failing to
set up my own business, I followed in my father’s footsteps. I became a
driver and a farmer too. By being a driver I can earn enough money to get
by” said one boy.
As regards the young who are working, the majority seems to be practicing the occupation they desired. “Getting a work position in the greater public sector, although temporary, is a lucky strike”, a girl says, while another
underlines that “By being an office clerk, I have a steady income, a pleasant
work environment and spare time to tend to the vineyard”.
As regards those young people who are studying or plan to study, these
being the “leavers”, we can see differentiation. There are ideological reasons such as, “I’ve liked theatre since I was very young”, materialistic reasons like “Although I don’t like it very much, being a dentist offers me security for the future”, realistic approaches such as, “The economic sector
offers many opportunities for getting a steady work position”, scientifically
oriented reasons, “Biology is very interesting”, personal interest reasons, “I
like constrictions” or survival reasons “I just want to have a job, earn some
money and live independently”.
It seems that for the majority of the young people, there are basic reasons
for which they have chosen to practice their respective occupations, while
those forced to practice occupations other than their chosen one are fewer
and mainly originate from Anogia.
8.3. Intervening conditions which affect the occupational choices
In their effort to arrive at specific choices, the young participants do not only
take the general conditions into consideration. A series of intervening conditions play an important role in the choices and available options. Following
the “paradigm model” in terms of structure and content, I will now examine
the additional conditions that effect the decisions of the participants
8.3.1. The financial situation of their families
The family’s financial situation constitutes an ‘objective’ starting point apart
from the desire shared by both the young and their parents for their successful transition from school to the workplace. The situation in the two villages
is not exactly the same.
The case of Anogia
Regarding the financial situation of the families in Anogia, we can say that
the majority have the basic necessities to eke out a humble living. The minority live a good or even comfortable life. The family assets have to do with
ownership of their family home, car ownership for most, land which is not
worth much and cattle herd which varies in size. In general, there do not appear to be great deviations concerning the financial status of the families,
while none of them can be considered wealthy. The farming families of the
village are among the poorest. In general, they do not consider their financial
status good. Most say that they face financial difficulties, that their families
support them as much as they can although their financial predicament is not
any better than theirs. All the unemployed girls and boys alike do not feel
comfortable with their families supporting them. The fact that families still
support them is a problem for most young people: “You can not keep saying
‘give me money’. My father doesn’t say anything but I feel bad just the same.
I am 20 years old and I can’t still be asking my father for money. You go out
and find any job available to you and you do it” says a young man with no
fixed job. They feel that they are too old not to be able to support themselves. Furthermore, many of them have financial problems. For example,
while they would like to attend some kind of training school, they are not
able to afford the school fees of a private institute. If their applications to
public institutes are turned down, they will not be able to further their studies. It is clear that not all youngsters have the opportunities they would like
in order to invest in their future.
This bleak financial situation is further verified by their parents’ job status. The majority of the fathers are cattle raisers, while two are farmers, one
is a builder, one is an employee and two are in business for themselves. The
mothers are housewives while two are farmers, one weaves, one is a public
servant and two are employees in the public sector.
The case of Archanes
In Archanes, the majority of these families seem to live comfortably. Some
feel that they can afford only the bare necessities but none of them can be
characterized as poor. The family property includes ownership of the family
house, which has all the modern amenities and remains the place of residence of the young people until they marry, while the family also takes on
the expenses of a new house for those of their children who are about to get
married. The purchase value of homes has risen significantly over the last
few years due to the village’s revitalization. Their property also includes
ownership of a family car or pick-up truck and, in many cases, farming machinery. It is noteworthy to mention that all the young working people in the
sample own their own car while 2 young students own motorbikes. The
farming assets of the families range from being small for some, or quite
sizeable for others. This is also the case with land value, while there are
quite a few young farmers who have even purchased new farming land for
The job status of the parents varies. The majority of the fathers are farmers, one also owns a small winery, three are drivers, one owns a tavern,
one is dentist and one is builder. Almost all of those who are not farmers,
own farming property. Respectively, the mothers' main occupations are: a
public servant, a dentist, a farmer, a tavern owner, an employee in the private
sector, a kindergarten teacher, and the majority, 7 to be exact, are housewives. The remaining 9 work on the family-owned farmland, and one is a
wage earner (she does not have farming property).
In conclusion, the family’s economic status and assets constitute significant factors for both those young people who choose to further their studies
and those who choose to become cattle-raisers or farmers. For the former, it
means that the family can support them during their studies but it may also
mean that, in cases where the family has managed to move from a life of
indigence to a life of relative comfort, they are now in a position to offer
their children a better future. It may also mean the complete opposite. Families who work hard just to make ends meet and be able to offer their children
the necessities of the modern world, want to give them the opportunity to
escape from their own life of indigence. A young female student characteristically states: “my father would go without bread and water if it meant our
being able to study”. Sizeable farming assets or sizeable cattle constitute a
tempting prospect for the boys of the family as they ensure a satisfactory
income which cannot be compared with that of a clerk. In any case, the
young assess the situation and determine their future.
Generally, most feel that their parents have supported them any way they
could and made sacrifices for them in the hopes that they would have a better life. However, there are also some cases where harsh and bitter opinions
are expressed such as, “my father ruined my life”. This was expressed by
one young girl in Anogia who was not able to fulfil her plans due to her father’s insistence that she return to the village.
8.3.2. Expectations from their present or future job
The case of Anogia
When discussing the expectations they have from a job regardless of whether
they are working or not, the young Anogians express the following: it should
ensure steady work and financial independence, it should improve their present standard of living. Whether it provides personal independence seems to
be of lesser importance to them. Furthermore, doing a job that they do not
like does not seem to bother them. This is the order with which they plan and
decide which route they will follow regarding their future. For the majority,
the deciding factor for choosing a school or occupation is that it should ensure a job position. Few are those who insist that they should both like what
they are doing and get paid highly for it or that it should ensure a career. The
expectations mainly concern their simply having a job. The urgent need for
employment will urge most of them to leave the village. However much it
may be desired, it cannot be done without some amount of sadness. No one
desires to leave Crete other than perhaps a few who only plan to do so temporarily due to their studies. They wish to remain close to the village and
their families and this is achieved with their relocation to nearby Heraklion.
The case of Archanes
The young people of Archanes seem to be in a rather better predicament.
What concerns them is not simply succeeding in getting a job, but having a
job of their own choice. Let us look at what the young consider to be some
of the pros and cons of their future or present jobs. Those who plan to study,
feel that the studies they have chosen to pursue create the requirements
needed for a working career that is desired by each individual for his/her
own different reasons: challenge, security, scientific interest, easy job
placement etc. At the same time, they are fully aware that nothing comes
easy and that they must struggle to succeed. The advantages put forward by
those working vary. Opinions range from “I’m just glad I’m not unemployed” (private-sector clerk) to “I earn a very good income” (farmer).
Anyway, earning a steady income, working in the village and having crop
yield earnings are the most important advantages mentioned. The disadvantages include insecurity about the future, since none of the wage earners occupy permanent posts, the need to move to Heraklion, the fluctuating and
often unreliable size of the farming income, the hard work, long hours, the
hazards of being a driver, the lack of prospects and career opportunities.
In short, local attachment, career prospects, a steady job and a good income constitute the basic elements taken into consideration by the young
who, depending on the priorities they set for themselves, try to pursue the
career that will ensure all or, at least one of these elements.
8.4. Strategies followed for fulfilling their aims
The occupational status or the occupational orientations of the young participants is also determined by their own personal efforts and developed
strategies, to obtain the necessary requirements and qualifications needed for
the occupation of their choice.
8.4.1. The efforts made by the young people to fulfil their aims
Each young person, depending on the degree to which he\she realizes the
efforts that need to be made so as to fulfil his\her goals, makes strategy choices and develops the respective tactics which will lead to the desired results.
We may observe that most of the young people taking part in the interviews,
their siblings included, use their schooling and education as the means by
which they will succeed in entering the job market. However, not all make
the necessary effort.
All the young boys and girls who abandoned compulsory education or
simply completed it and went no further, remain, and will continue to remain, in the village. Most of the girls believe that they would not have any
prospects in the city since they have no special training or qualifications that
would enable them to seek employment. For most, their course has already
been pre-defined and their commitments have been determined: marriage,
the husband’s occupation, helping in cattle-raising, farming or perhaps parttime jobs. Only half of them declare that they like life in the village, it is
likely that some would leave if they found permanent employment in the
city. There are also those girls who would definitely prefer to live in the city
but possess no such prospects, and end up feeling trapped in the village and
in a role they do not desire: that of an unemployed housewife. These young
people are stayers and ambivalent.
There is a clear differentiation between the two genders with the girls,
more than the boys, insisting on using education as a means for entering the
job market. Dropping out of school or completion only of basic education is
a frequent phenomenon as regards the boys. Nevertheless, graduation from
lyceum, the pursuit of academic studies and a foreign language are goals set
by at least half of the boys. The vast majority of the boys look to the free
market for placement, while farming often constitutes the main or parallel
occupation. At the same time, we can see that the majority of the girls
graduate from lyceum, pursue academic studies and, in the event of failure,
opt for vocational-professional training (IEK, Technical lyceum) as an alternative solution. Completion of basic education is not the exception, but the
rule, while the technical lyceum training courses offer an equivalent diploma
with that of lyceum. Learning a foreign language is considered to be of great
importance and is therefore pursued. The studies chosen by the majority of
the girls, at any given level, lead to salary paying jobs while there are only
very few who are not dismayed by the free market. For the majority, farming
constitutes a supplementary source of income rather than a second occupation. These young people are ambivalent or leavers.
How do the young people planning to study or already studying think
they are going to find work? They do not all have something specific in
mind. They basically believe that their diploma will constitute the means for
this. Friends and acquaintances may play a part. We may observe that the
clearest form of strategy was followed by one young man who chose to
study his parents’ profession for no other reason than that it meant his having
a ready clientele. The young people already earning salaries in the job market were fully aware of the fact that job posts within the village, whether in
the public or private sector, usually go to young people from the village instead of out-of-towners who might be interested. The EU funded programs
for the integration of young people in the job market, proved to be of great
importance. Their specialization also played a role. During their period of
unemployment, some young people did not just sit around waiting. On the
contrary, they did odd jobs and whatever day’s wage they could find. For
those whose main occupation is cattle-raising or farming, their decision regarding this was made early on, which explains their decision to drop out of
8.4.2. The family’s strategy
Since the choice of occupation is considered a matter of great importance,
the young people discuss their plans and options with their parents and the
whole family and, for almost all of them, their choices are the result of a mutual decision. The family’s approval is something they want and strive to
achieve. Those who decide on their own and then discuss their decisions
with the families are indeed few and far between. This indicates that the
family members maintain strong ties and show concern for one another.
Some discuss their plans with friends, relatives or professionals in their field
of interest. They feel that talking about this helps to expand their ideas and
strengthen their resolve. Mutual decisions are necessary in cases where there
is joint management of the farming property, or when the parent is financially dependent on his offspring.
8.5. Consequences
In continuing with the “paradigm model”, we should now look into the consequences that come as a result of the occupational orientations and choices
of the young participants.
This whole process of transition from school to work translates into certain
consequences for themselves, their families and the social surroundings. The
majority of the young people who are studying, or plan to study, wish to do
so in a city other than Heraklion, or even away from Crete. The reasons
given for this are, on the one hand objective, that their chosen field of study
does not exist in Crete and on the other subjective, that they feel the need to
experience a life free of social confinement. Economic reasons often cause
them to reconsider and choose Heraklion as their place of study. In any case,
their main priority is gaining entrance into university, wherever that may be
“…even if it is here in the village” as one female student says.
As regards their place of residence following completion of their studies,
the young people express contradicting opinions and feelings. The majority
expresses the desire to live in a bigger city, to gain experiences away from
the village and “…live without social control” as a young girl characteristically mentioned. For some occupations, such as the one in theatre, finding a
decent job even in Heraklion is a problem, while for the young man who
wishes to become a dentist, his parents’ clientele will cause him to return to
the village. Despite their initial and intense desire to flee, a second thought is
that their villages are nice places to live in and ideal places to raise a family.
“I would like to live here when I start my own family, but not before then” a
boy said, “I could live here, I am not negative, but at the moment I thirst for
experiences” another boy adds. But generally, the chances of future repatriation are few for two very different reasons. The majority feels that even the
future looks bleak in terms of job positions in the villages and secondly,
some of them prefer living in Heraklion regardless of any future occupational prospects their villages have to offer, because they do not like the way
of life in the village.
Following in their parent’s footsteps is not very popular among the youth
nor could it possibly be in all cases. We observe that the majority of the
young do not follow in their father’s footsteps, especially the girls, most of
whose parents are cattle raisers or farmers, as this is something they themselves could not be or do not desire to be. But there are still some young men
who do or would like to follow in their fathers’ footsteps. “I have never
thought of being anything else other than a herdsman” a young Anogian
boy, a stayer, said, while a young Archanian man said that “I’ve wanted to
be a farmer for as long as I can remember”. Being a woman and cattle raiser
is extremely rare. In some cases, young boys do not want to become herdsmen. “I don’t wish to practise such a profession because I do not like it and
I have other expectations from life”, a young boy said. In some other cases,
the young boys would like to become herdsmen or farmers but the family
property is not big enough to support all the siblings. Thus, they are forced
to do something else to ensure their livelihood. If they have completed lyceum, they have other options. As regards the young people in Anogia, they
have left or will leave for the city to get a job at their families’ urging. Here,
there is definitely a clear trend towards relocation to Heraklion. Young people from Archanes will do the same, but they can continue to live at home in
the village. Relocation is not necessary.
The following table will assist us in summarising the content of this chapter:
Table 3: Job placement and place
and the leavers
Traditional type
Job placement
Cattle raisers
Place of resiThe village
Ambivalent type
Job placement
Salary paying job
Place of residence
Modern type
Job placement
Place of residence
of residence of the stayers, the ambivalent
The village
The village
Occasional work
The village
Salary paying job
Salary paying
Salary paying
Farming as a
second job
The village
The city
The village
The city
The village
The city
Farming as a
source of income
The village
The city
Salary paying job
Salary paying job
Salary paying
Salary paying
Farming as a
source of income
The village
The city
Farming as a
source of income
The village
The city
The city
The city
Chapter 9: Aspects of social life as intervening factors in
the decision-making process as regards occupational
In searching for the main contextual factors that contribute to the young
people’s occupational orientations and choice of occupation, we now come
to the final part of the data analysis in an attempt to find any further intervening factors the young people may take into consideration as they go
through the process of occupational choice.
The choice of occupation, which extends to a choice in the way of life,
place of residence and place of work, are not determined solely on the basis
of job prospects that are or are not available in the villages. A variety of
conditions influence the expectations young people form regarding their future. New values, new ideals for life, new roles for both sexes are all factors
which affect the youth and the goals they set, regardless of whether or not
they adopt them. Life in the village, their involvement in it, and their day-today life in these social settings all constitute important factors for their being
content or not. They are issues the youth take under serious consideration.
Certain aspects of the social life that are mentioned by the participants as
being important to them, as well as their own assessments of them, are factors that may either have a positive or negative affect on their feelings and
disposition towards their village. As a result, some prefer to remain in their
village, some have mixed feelings about their place of residence and some
others wish to live far from their village. Whether or not they fulfil their desire depends a great deal on either their current or future occupation.
9.1. Evaluation of the social setting
Young people feel that the natural and structured environment of their villages is beautiful and, under different circumstances, could be good places to
live in. The young people believe that both villages have many wellorganized services for its inhabitants, and that many cultural activities are
organized during the summer months thus, for that period, they all characterize the villages as vibrant and full of life, as places of great interest and
they are all aware of the positive impression their villages make on visitors.
They also feel that life there is calm and stress-free and, in the case of Archanes, that its people are peace loving and come from a village that can
cater for both leisure-time activities and entertainment.
On a deeper level, they try to describe the mentality that exists within their
local communities. A wide-spread belief among the youth of Anogia is that
the society is not open to change. They feel that it is mainly the older inhabitants who resist change and in some cases, behave as though change is
not occurring around them. Despite the inflow of new ideas, it is the traditional way of thinking that prevails. “It is a society that wants to take a step
forward but instead takes two steps backward. They want to try to do something but they don’t. Just when the village is about to adopt new ideas, it
returns to the old ones” says a young female student, a leaver. It is even said
that some of these old ideas “will never change” since there are even many
young people who accept them. The young people consider their society to
be very strict and closed to the outside world. They also feel that it is stricter
as regards the moral principles that must be adhered to by the inhabitants,
especially by the females.
Accordingly, the young people of Archanes describe their community as
being one of strict principles, one that does not live in isolation from the rest
of the world but instead, is influenced and affected by it thus rendering the
village more tolerant and open to change. Nevertheless, they all insist that it
still remains a closed community that engages in strict social control of its
members, especially of the young. Most of the young experience this control
intensely and negatively, at the same time trying to adhere to the ‘social
rules’. However, there are some young people who feel that not all the people share the same mentality but rather, that there are those who are more
liberal-minded. They feel that the village combines “the negative aspects of
village life as well as those of city life”. Although interest in common issues
does exist, in practice however, individualism overrides collective efforts.
Women have greatly improved their position in the community as many of
them have their own occupations aside from helping with the farm cultivation. All in all, they feel that the community they live in is a good one.
The families of these young people also take the prevailing social mentality into account. As the young participants in Anogia mention, the majority of the families adopt the strict social principles that exist. The exceptions
are few and do not leave room for their members to differentiate themselves
too strongly in the various social settings. According to the data derived
from Archanes, despite the fact that the young feel that relations with their
families are becoming more open and honest, here too, there are quite a few
parents who oppress their children for fear they might otherwise become the
object of social criticism. And so, we can see that social conditioning does
not only concern the young people but their families as well.
Generally speaking, we may say that there is community respect for the elders and compliance to certain rules having to do with “proper social behaviour” that does not provoke “public sentiment”. When this is not the case,
they become the objects of gossip and criticism while there is less tolerance
for the girls who are forced to be more wary and self-conscious of their behaviour. This is how they sum up some of the negative aspects of the society
in which they live. However, at the same time, young people feel that living
in small, close-knit communities also has its positive points: “It is easy to
trust people, to make friends and feel safe”. The fact that everyone knows
one another allows parents to put their trust in the society and in their children. Despite some rare cases of rivalry and hostility, they also feel that there
is a strong sense of community solidarity among the relatives and fellowvillagers.
With this general notion in mind, the young people present their assessment of the community in which they live.
For the young people, social life that takes place in public places is dominated by the “rules of proper and non defiant behaviour”. Although these
rules may seem vague to an outsider, they are very real for the young themselves who believe that they have been preserved through a series of principles and values originating in the tradition and way of life of previous generations, by the elderly in the villages and by a need to maintain social cohesion within the local communities.
However, the young people feel that their villages have undergone some
socially accepted changes, with the degree of change being different for
either village. The village of Anogia still remains more conservative. It is
now acceptable for the school girls to go to the village cafes. Ten years ago,
this was only considered acceptable if the girl was a university student.
School parties have also come to be tolerated. They generally believe that
things have improved for women since more and more women are allowed
to work outside the home. The average marrying age for males has risen, the
reasons being the desire for more freedom, financial insecurity and a shortage of girls living in the village. However, relationships out of wedlock between the two sexes are still considered to be a “crime”. Flirtation, dates in
public, pre-marital relationships are pointed out as key issues. This reflects
the existing moral ethics regarding relationships, but it also depicts the
socially accepted role of the girls. This mentality prevails not only among
the boys but among the girls as well, despite the fact that their behaviour
regarding the above mentioned issues is put under the social microscope.
Some girls feel that this is a male dominated society and most agree that, at
least in public, a girl’s opinion is never given consideration. One could sur148
mise that this appears to be a society where the only changes that occur are
those which take place before the society is consciously aware of them thus
rendering these changes beyond their control, or those which the inhabitants
are forced to tolerate because life itself has imposed them.
The situation is more liberal in Archanes. They consider life in the village
to be very ‘vibrant’ and feel that the youth is an active part of this life. In
explaining what they mean, they say that there are many cafes and bars
mostly frequented by the local boys and those from small neighbouring villages, that many social functions are organized with the help of the municipality and in which many of the residents take part, as well as two festivals
during the summer in which the entire village participates. There are also
functions organized by the school, amateur musical groups and the town’s
theatre group. Friendships are easily formed and groups of friends have a
good time together. Of course, there are also those who feel that life in the
village is monotonous and offers very little for one to do. There are also
many traditional coffee houses which are always full of men, pensioners or
farmers and which are not frequented by the youth or by the women, a fact
that is indicative of the traditional roles of the two sexes. The meeting places
of the young are the schools, cafes, bars, taverns, the cinema, local festivals,
the public gym and each other’s homes etc. Finally, we may generally say
that the young are bothered by the fact that their communities are closed and
many, in Anogia mostly, insist that the villages do not offer them the employment or entertainment opportunities of a big city.
As regards their social behaviour, the young take into consideration the
way in which the social mentality intervenes and becomes a specific practice
directed at them. Therefore, they know that “remarks are made about everything” and that these remarks are usually negative. “Where you go, what you
do, who you are with, what you wear, what time you came home last night
are all remarked upon…” mentions one girl. “How you dress, how you cut
your hair, if you’re wearing an earring, if you’re having coffee with a girl...
it all interests them” mentions one boy, a leaver. But what interests them
more than anything else are the courtships, the relationships and the behaviour that develops between the girls and the boys. It is not acceptable for a
girl and a boy to be seen walking around the village together or having coffee alone unless they are accompanied by a large group of friends. This is
because, to a certain extent, the attitude and behaviour, especially of the girls
towards the boys, constitutes an indicator of the girl’s and, by extension, her
family’s honour and morality.
The girls come under greater social scrutiny than the boys do. There are
stricter limits to what is considered ‘good behaviour’ for a girl. This forces
them to be more wary. Generally, they must draw attention to themselves
with their behaviour or the clothes they wear. Many of the boys feel that the
social control they are experiencing does not differ from that of the girls.
The boy is mainly expected to be very careful not to put the girl in a socially
compromising position. If, however, he does, he is obliged to “do the right
thing” by making their relationship official and marrying the girl. Nevertheless, there is definitely more tolerance towards the boys than the girls.
A final intervening factor that plays an important role in how the young
evaluate their social surroundings is their relationship with their families.
In Anogia, a common characteristic of the families seems to be that they
are closely-knit amongst each other. In most of the families, there is a great
amount of verbal communication and in many families it is said that the
woman’s presence is strongly felt. Understanding among siblings has more
to do with their being of the same sex. “I especially love my sisters. I love my
brother too, but we don’t get along well. He has the village mentality. I try to
understand him even though I don’t agree with him most of the time”, says
one young girl while another mentions: “My brothers are more liberalminded than my father, but if I had a boyfriend I wouldn’t tell them about it.
I’d be afraid of what they’d say, how they’d take it...” The boys, who always
know the exact whereabouts of their sisters during the entire day, enforce a
kind of control over them, although everyone says that all family members
are well aware of what they should and should not do. “My brothers always
know where I am and what I’m doing’’, a girl says. The roles, the place and
the expected behavior seem to be well defined and each member is well
aware of them. A young boy expresses this characteristically: “I don’t say
anything to my sister. Each of us knows how we must behave and what is or
isn’t allowed. We learn this from a very young age”. Many young people say
that these rules are or were useful because they set limits which are necessary when someone is in the process of socialization. The family, just like
society, puts more pressure on the girls.
In Archanes, it seems that the understanding and communication that exists between the family members helps young people to feel freer in their
social behaviour. The majority does not feel that they are under any pressure
from their parents but rather that they share an open rapport with them and
that their parents trust them and try to do the best they can for their children.
Family ties are very strong as well, and the young feel that their parents expect them to be responsible and display proper social behaviour. It seems
that the parents are more tolerant towards their children than the greater
social unit which imposes compliance to the ‘social rules’.
What kind of attitude do they acquire towards this mentality in the local
community? When the young ‘translate’ and evaluate the general context,
they find social scrutiny and gossip to be very annoying because they care
about their social standing and do not wish to be the objects of social scrutiny. Generally speaking, the young people seem to be well aware of what is
allowed and what is not and even if they disagree, they still respect the social
values and principles. They learn to keep their opinions to themselves or
share them strictly with those who understand them. “We have learned to be
respectful of our elders”’, mentions one girl. “We know that our elders will
judge us by their standards and so we behave accordingly...This doesn’t oppress us. It comes naturally to us because that is how we were brought up”.
Therefore, most young people adopt the same attitude when dealing with
these conditions. They want to be socially accepted and this is why they respect and follow the rules. “It is the only way for me to survive”, says one
girl, a stayer. They all do their best not to provoke social scrutiny. Instead,
they respect and uphold the social dictates of their community so as not to
become the objects of village gossip, as this would indeed be very insulting
for their families. Nevertheless, some admit that they too engage in gossip
and concern themselves with what others do. Most feel that they have compromised and accepted the prevailing social mentality while others, who are
fewer in number, say that they do not place much importance on to their customs. One girl who has recently moved to the city and is employed there
says “I can not believe that I too once had such views”. Others claim, “I can
not be bothered. My family trusts me and this is more important” or “I usually don’t care any more although I should…”. However, some identify
completely with what their society dictates: “this is how we found it and this
is how we must continue it’’, “I like it, we live according to our customs”.
These are views of both girls and boys who have so far adopted the traditional roles of both sexes. Nevertheless, most of the young people are careful
and often compromise their wants or beliefs. A frequent tactic for dealing
with this, more often used by the girls, is finding a legitimate reason to leave
the village, this usually being to pursue studies or a career. Moreover, the
young avoid becoming involved in relationships within the village and prefer
to do so with young people who are from Heraklion or other neighbouring
villages as they are fully aware that relationships are seen in their village as
being “serious from the very onset, even if this is something nobody can
know right away…”. “I want to be with someone because I love them and
not because of a sense of commitment to society” mentions a young girl who
is involved with someone in Heraklion.
We may generally say that the young try to lead a socially accepted way of
life and avoid directly challenging mentalities that often oppress them.
Finally, let us look into the effects resulting from their evaluations of the
social life and mentality in the village. There are values and principles that
the young accept and adopt and others that they reject. The majority respects
the institution of family and believes that one must respect the prevailing
views within it. Many believe that they must respect the local community
and the opinions of their elders, while there are many who believe that it is
just as well that young people of either sex are not allowed to have premarital relationships and that setting limits is useful when one is young.
Some also feel that the values they experience in their local community are
important because they include such admirable traits as honesty, sensitivity
within relationships, the value of friendship, solidarity, and a strong sense of
humor. Only a few fully reject and are completely negative towards the
strictness which they experience as oppression. “I am doing forced labor’’
says one young girl. And few are those who take a stand concerning the restrictions on dating. “It really bothers me that they don’t accept dating
among young people. That is one of the basic reasons for my not wanting –
even if I could – to return and work in the village’’, says one young man.
Almost all of them try to display proper behaviour. Most feel inhibited
and do not enter into relationships with the opposite sex, or they try to do so
either covertly or away from the village. Very few go against social dictates.
Those who do, as regards Archanes, defend their natural right to be in love
and have a relationship. The majority suppresses such needs and tries not to
upset anyone. As a result, some do not go out very often but prefer to get
together with friends at home or if they can, go out for a night on the town in
Heraklion. Very few feel that they are doing the things they really want to
without creating problems.
Ultimately, it is the social mentality of control and gossip that bothers all
the young people of the villages. What they do like however, is the tranquillity and peaceful way of life, the security and trust they feel, the close human
relations, the natural environment and, in the case of Archanes, the fact that
their village is only a short distance from Heraklion.
To sum up, it is clear that contradictory feelings prevail since not all the
young people experience the situation in the same way. The majority tries to
keep things on equal level and is resigned to the idea that they will not be
able to live the life they had imagined for themselves. Some are quite satisfied even though there are those among them who will be forced to leave due
to job shortages. Life is more difficult for the girls and there are even a few
who say that they live under complete tyranny and cannot relate to village
life. For the most part however, almost all love their villages. Many express
the possibility of eventually returning to their villages following the completion of their studies or at some point in the future. Some express sorrow at
the prospect of never returning and others are sorry they have to leave.
9.2. Evaluation of leisure time
In addition to all the above, the everyday social life in the village contributes
as an intervening factor and determines the choices the young people make.
The everyday life of the young is determined by many factors such as
those involving the possibilities and opportunities provided to them by the
local community and their families, the ensuing goals and responsibilities
that arise from these but also, the free time, interests and hobbies that the
young people have. Of these factors, I will now discuss the last one as the
others have been discussed in various parts of the story.
We can say that the young have many different interests. Some are interested in music and play a musical instrument and some exercise or are involved in traditional dance. A handful of them are interested in theatre, cars
and motorcycles, politics and in surfing the internet. However, there are
many who do not have a specific interest and simply wander around the villages or spend time at the local hangouts frequented by the village youth.
Despite these diverging preferences, they all share one common interest and
that is, going out for entertainment and flirting. Those involved in cattleraising and farm production do not seem to have special hobbies or interests.
The working girls, along with those who are studying or preparing to do so
have far more interests.
In describing their everyday life, young people seem to agree that it is
simple, relatively stress-free, very uneventful in winter but much more vibrant and pleasant during the summer.
Entertainment is important to all the young people. There is not much to
do in winter other than attending a few school functions and going out to
cafes. For many, mainly girls, entertainment means staying at home to watch
TV or listen to music or drop in on friends or relatives. Things are quite different in summer. The villages are livelier. In Anogia, all the inhabitants
gather as the weather allows for a more intense social life. Many weddings
and baptisms are held during that time, which means that many celebrations
take place. They are seen as an opportunity for entertainment and the coming
together of the whole village. As for Archanes, the university students are
back and the village is inundated with visitors and tourists alike. They all
agree that life is vibrant and pleasant. They go out on a daily basis; they at153
tend social functions, go to the beach and meet with friends. For the farmers
however, free time is limited as many of their farming activities take place
during the summer. Furthermore, each summer, the local communities organize various cultural events which are attended by the vast majority of the
young people.
Heraklion offers itself as an alternative. The city constitutes a point of
reference for the young, although they do not all visit it with the same frequency or for the same reasons. Nevertheless, there is an on-going communication and contact that has expanded their range of options and enabled
them to take a break from their daily life. As regards Anogia’s youth, almost
all the boys pay frequent visits to the city of Heraklion while the girls do so
rarely. Heraklion is a far more familiar setting for the young people of Archanes, while visits outside Crete are very rare. Many of them have not been
to any other urban center other than Heraklion. Some only go if they have
something specific they need to do, while others go simply because they
need a change of scenery. So, when in Heraklion, the young visit the marketplace and shops, they go to taverns, cafes, bars and nightclubs or, on rare
occasions, they go to the cinema. The girls do not go to the city for the sole
purpose of seeking entertainment. Their visits are combined with a certain
errand they need to run and they are usually accompanied by a relative.
Young people from Archanes are in a more privileged position. The fact that
their village is only a short distance from the city is important to all of them.
They feel that this keeps them from feeling socially isolated and enables
them to take advantage of the amenities the city has to offer.
Everyday life is more intense in Archanes than it is in Anogia. In general,
the boys who are employed and, respectively, the girls who are engaged
seem to have greater freedom to do as they please. The high school students
spend most of their time studying for school. Additionally, the young people
of Archanes have the opportunity to attend private lessons in a foreign language and preparatory courses for their upcoming exams. They pay frequent
visits to Heraklion. In the case of Anogia this occurs only once or twice a
year while in the case of Archanes, it could even be once a week. Of those
who are employed in the village, some feel that all their needs are met there
and do not feel the need to go to the city very often, while others try to go as
often as possible. There are a few who can not stand being confined to the
village for more than three or four days in a row. We can clearly see that, for
most of the young people, Heraklion constitutes an important outlet that
changes their day-to-day life. The daily life of these young people is greatly
determined by the options they are given and how they themselves deal with
To sum up, the youth in Anogia spend their free time in the village, and the
majority spends most of the time in the village cafes. This everyday life is
usually negatively described as being the same thing day in day out: they
stay at home, go to the cafe, visit friends, and go for walks in the village or
in the mountains with friends. They talk with friends, go to Heraklion, and
do their homework. The village youth have a lot of free time on their hands.
Life in the village is very simple, often making it monotonous for most.
Respectively, in Archanes, the available choices in the village are the cafes, the bars, the open-air cinema, homes and summer homes and the various
community events that take place. In evaluating their day-to-day life, the
young from Archanes arrive at some conclusions. Most of them like their
way of life. Almost all of them like life in the village and the ways in which
they are entertained during the summer. They feel that there is a lot for them
to do and that they can visit many other places from their village. As citizens
of Archanes, their quality of life is good and is combined with the tranquility
they cherish. They feel that, on a smaller scale, they lead a similar life to that
of a young person in Heraklion. They seem pleased with the outlets available
to them. Very few youngsters, girls mostly, find life in the village so monotonous that they cannot stand it.
In gaining experiences from both the village and the city, with their experiences in the village being far more, the young people are in a position to
assess what they like and do not like about the city. In general, they like the
fact that they can visit many places in the city and satisfy their various needs.
The fact that they are ‘anonymous’ and the sense of freedom that comes
from this is important to them, as are the impressions and stimuli they
gather. They like the vivacity of the city as well as being entertained in surroundings that are quite different from what they are used to. What they dislike about the city is the fact that they “run into half the fellow-villagers
there”, the noise, the big buildings and, in some cases, the feeling of anonymity. One young herdsman mentions characteristically: “I do not like life
in the city. It is much better here. A thousand times better... First of all I do
not know anyone there...” When comparing life in the village with life in the
city, they feel that, generally speaking, Heraklion has more to offer. It has a
big market place, a variety of entertainment to choose from, a fast pace of
life, cinemas, cultural events, libraries and finally, a sense of freedom. Of
course, they also acknowledge that all this is accompanied by daily stress
and a constant rat race. In this sense, they feel that the village environment is
much better, that human relations are more intimate as they have friends and
relatives there on whom they can rely. They never feel alone and it pleases
them to know that they will see friendly and familiar faces whenever they go
out. Life is calm and all their basic needs are met there. When comparing
themselves with the young people of Heraklion, some feel that the Heraklion
youth are offered more ways to make better use of their time. Respectively,
they feel that the young people in their village are not exposed to social hazards, they contribute more to their families and enjoy a better quality of life.
When it comes down to it, the majority prefers life in the village to that of
Heraklion, which is preferred by some solely on the basis of entertainment.
Despite all this, all the young people of Archanes like the fact that Heraklion
is such a short distance from their village. This is also the case with the
youth in Anogia, although the distance is definitely greater.
To sum up, this chapter attempted to find any further intervening factors
the young participants take into consideration when going through the process of occupational choice. The choice of occupation, which extends to the
choice in the way of life and the place of residence, is also determined by a
variety of conditions that influence these young people’s expectations regarding their future. Regardless of whether they are positive or negative,
dominant values, dominant ideals for life, dominant roles for both sexes are
all factors which are evaluated by the young people. They affect their feelings and disposition towards their village and are all taken under serious
consideration. As a result, some prefer to remain in their village, these being
the stayers, some have mixed feelings about their place of residence, these
being the ambivalent, and some others wish to live far from their village,
these being the leavers.
At this point, the data analysis has been completed following the full content of the “paradigm model”. The main phenomenon derived form the data
was the transition of the young people from school to work. The analysis of
data, offered insight into the views the young participants as regards the
prospects of the local and greater job market (the causal conditions), their
occupational choices (the context), aspects of the social conditions that influence their decisions regarding the occupational choices (the intervening
conditions) and finally, the different strategies they develop so as to see their
decisions through, that is, those regarding occupational choice with the one
towards education being the most important. The stayers, the ambivalent and
the leavers, seem to constitute the three different types of young people as
concerns their job placement, who, in the course of time, will undergo
changes and will be shaped depending on the outcome of events.
Chapter 10: Conclusions and discussion
In this final chapter, I would like to draw conclusions and further discuss the
main findings of the study.
Initially, conclusions will be drawn and a discussion will be made surrounding the occupational choices of young people in relation to the two
communities in transition. Thus, I will initially present the distinguishing
characteristics of the two rural communities in transition, in a more abstract
way and I will try to relate these characteristics using a more general theoretical frame: the concepts of tradition and modernity. Then I will continue
by drawing conclusions on the occupational choices made by the rural youth
in terms of gender differences, and I will end with the three different types of
young people as regards the choice of occupation in the two communities in
transition. I will also discuss the different career development theories pertaining to the three youth types that have emerged from the present study,
the determining role of education in this differentiation and the consequences for the two communities resulting from the career choices made.
In the second part, I will present the conclusions of the study and the final
discussion in relation to basic theoretical references. In this way, I will draw
attention to the characteristics surrounding the transition from school to the
job market in the era of modernity, the role of the welfare state during this
transition period, as well as the influence of the ‘local’ and ‘rural’ upon the
young peoples’ occupational choices.
Following this, the main findings will be discussed, these being the three
different ideal types, the stayers, the ambivalent and the leavers, with relevant findings from previous research.
The chapter will end with implications for policy, practice and further research.
10.1. Rural communities between tradition and modernity
The communities of Anogia and Archanes experience the transition from
tradition to modernity and are demonstrative of the course followed by ‘traditional’ local communities in Greece. In describing the two communities in
a more abstract way, one could say that they experience a complex and dynamic course which includes the development of a continuous, but not unhindered dialogue between the local and de-localized socio-economic environment. The changes taking place in Anogia and Archanes do not constitute
a simple linear progress but rather, suggest complex structural social change.
The overturning of these traditional societies entails re-adjustments, inner
conflicts and the lengthy process of social re-defining and change. Social
elements of the past begin to wane or disappear altogether, while others resist or even adapt to the new social setting. At the same time, elements of
modernity may be rejected but they may also bring rapid and decisive
change to already formed social customs. Resistance, contradictions, inconsistencies, relapses and conflicts are all elements that generally define the
entire process of change. Social structures may change within the two communities while perceptions, mentalities and codes of ethics may remain
staunchly intact, thus influencing the behavior of individuals within the two
As one can clearly see, this fluid state of change does not affect all the
inhabitants in the same way. Between the two poles of tradition and modernity, there are a variety of attitudes, behaviors and mentalities that render the
whole social situation anything but static.
Our historical knowledge of the Greek social setting shows that traditional farming societies gradually gravitated towards assimilating small
communities into big ones, local communities into national ones, as well as
traditional communities into modern ones. Of course, this assimilation has
varied in degree and intensity depending on the historical circumstances of
each period. To better understand the features of the traditional Greek community as well as the changes it has undergone through time, we could make
mention of a bi-pole as regards productive relations, with the ‘traditional’
society on the one end and the modern society on the other (Nitsiakos,
1991). On the one hand, we have the embedded economy of selfpreservation and benefiting values of production, in which there is no commercialization of production rules or free market relations. This economy
gradually leads to the opposite pole of a free economy in gain and consumption, in which the production of exchangeable values dominate, with complete commercialization in the rules of production as well as the dominance
in free-market relations. Social and moral values which once governed economic behavior in ‘traditional’ societies are slowly disappearing and economic activity presents itself as non-committed and dominant. While the
production process was once organized on a domestic and family-oriented
level and had to do with small entities of groups in ‘closed’ communities, it
is now heading in the opposite direction. In modern society, production relies on the ‘free individual’ and is directed at large groups in open societies.
The allocation of work turns from being rudimentary and based on gender
and age, to becoming advanced and based on knowledge, training and spe158
cialization. The social layering turns from being based on kinship relations
to being ruled by economic criteria (the class system).
This new course however, has not led to the complete and ultimate prevalence of the free market, despite the fact that all ‘traditional’ social elements
are constantly marginalized, that is, pushed aside. The course taken by the
communities of Anogia and Archanes is, in most part, equivalent to that of
the Greek farming society. This course could be described as being a departure from the local community to a de-localized one, from a local economy
based on self-preservation to the national and international economy of a
free market.
10.1.1. Occupational choices for rural youth
One may say that the life-courses of the boys and girls in both Anogia and
Archanes have similar origins and different destinations. Young people seem
to form an idea of their near future as well as of the years to come, by anticipating either a traditional or a modernistic framework within which they will
live. Youngsters evaluate these two social representations in a different way.
The respective community’s culture and lifestyle is what they are familiar
with and some of them identify themselves almost fully with the given situation. Some express contradictory feelings and only partly identify with the
community’s culture and lifestyle. The modern way of life that stands just
outside their village attracts many of the young people. But the means to approach it are very few. In effect, their future job and their level of education
as a precondition are the main means by which access can be gained.
10.1.2. Occupational choices made by boys
The traditional occupation of cattle-raising still attracts a large number of
boys, though it no longer constitutes their sole occupational outlet. A certain
number of young boys who have become accustomed to the new patterns of
life seek better job prospects in urban centers as they feel that the future of
this occupational sector is fraught with uncertainty. Relocation to nearby
urban centers is a forgone conclusion for a large number of boys who nevertheless, still constitute a minority.
The young boys from farming families seem to follow the same course of
action. The ever-shrinking and unsteady income of a farmer, as well as the
hard work required have led young people to go in search of a better occupation which will ensure a different quality of life. It has now become a foregone conclusion that farming will be limited to being a secondary occupation
and a supplementary source of income. Only a minority of boys work exclusively as farmers.
10.1.3. Occupational choices made by girls
One would expect that in communities which are reluctant toward change
given their patriarchal family structure, the young girls would not be allowed
access to the greater social changes taking place. On the contrary, the
changes they bring to the local communities seem to be more drastic. There
is a clear and constant trend on the part of the girls to become part of an economically active population and to completely abandon the traditional role in
the household economy which women, including their mothers, held for centuries. As the majority of girls are not usually able to find a salary paying job
in the village, they either relocate to urban centers after obtaining employment, or simply commute to and from work if their village is only a short
distance from the city. The minority remains inactive and does not even
learn the traditional skills involved in the household sector, like weaving. As
a result, some of the age-old techniques and handicrafts are in danger of dying out. Marriage is the only outlet for them.
Despite their emotional ties to the village, it appears that the girls experience the social realities differently from the boys. They feel more oppressed
by and alienated from social life. They experience the antithesis between
tradition and modernity more intensely and the majority chooses to reject
traditional roles.
Indeed, it would be quite interesting if we could further look into the
woman’s role as regards the changes brought to the local society, as well as
the consequences of their own choices on the future of this community. In
Greece, studies on the role of women in social change remain insufficient. In
general, however we know that: only 42 per cent of the female population is
economically active (Eurostat 2001), that women excel when entering university, most of them choose fields that do not lead to the private enterprise
sector of free-lancers, they mainly work in the public sector and they do not
participate in any top-level decision-making schemes. However, in a relevant
study conducted by Georgas (1990) on university students and how social
changes affect changes in values, in comparison with their male counterparts, the females more staunchly rejected the traditional hierarchical roles
which dictate that the man is the head of the family and the woman is a
housewife and mother. Males, mainly those originating from rural regions,
do not seem to reject such values. They seem to psychologically identify
with the traditional role of the father and adopt it.
10.1.4. The three different ideal types of young people as regards the
choice of occupation.
In general, when looking at the practices young people in Anogia and in Archanes follow in seeking employment, we may identify different ideal types
of young people, as presented in chapter 6:
• The traditional type: the stayers
They are the young people whose schooling is of short duration and whose
education level is basic. The occupational practices of the boys are traditional, while the girls do not officially enter the job market. Marriage and
family constitute their ‘destiny’ in life. They do seem to adopt traditional
values and practices. They do not question the traditional gender roles, nor
are they interested in escaping from them. This type is mainly made up of
boys, while the girls make up the minority. In fact, it is made up of the majority of boys from Anogia where traditional values and practices are more
staunchly adhered to than they are in Archanes. These young people remain
in their villages. They are the ‘stayers’.
It seems that the young people of this type, the boys in particular, attempt
to follow a short path in their transition from school to the job market. This
is usually achieved by entering the job market of their villages and the traditional occupations offered there. Their professional self image seems to be in
accordance with other images of self and they feel confident about the
course their life has taken for the future.
• The ambivalent type: the ambivalent
They are the young people who do not seem to be sure of what they want to
do. They are caught between tradition and modernity and find themselves at
a distance from both.
Of those, certain individuals are rather forced or desire to pursue new vocational practices. The fulfillment of secondary education and often the enrolment in technical institutes-schools are the means by which new job
placement is acquired. However, they maintain a rather positive commitment
to the local community and they do not seem to reject traditional gender
roles. This type is made up mainly of boys. Relocation or seeking employment in the urban center is rather unavoidable.
Within the same type are those individuals who display a high dropout
rate, poor vocational training, unemployment and temporary salary-paying
jobs. Their commitment to the local community is rather negative but they
usually adopt traditional roles and comply with traditional gender identity
without fully relating to it. Girls make up the majority in this type of young
people. Finding work in an urban center constitutes their main outlet but relocation is rather impossible due to their low qualifications.
Both groups are rather trapped, because none of them can accomplish
their real desires. These young people are the ‘ambivalent’.
In general, we may say that the young people of this type seem to be less
prepared to deal with the social developments unfolding before them. In order to earn a decent living, some of them, particularly the boys, are forced to
change their professional practices while others, particularly the girls, would
like to rid themselves of the traditional roles their predicament has forced
them to adopt. Unfortunately, the existing patriarchal structures and perceptions have prevented them from becoming properly equipped to do so.
Finally, the last type can be identified as:
• The modern type: the leavers
They are the young people who pursue and try to gain a high level of education, and have chosen new vocational practices through completion of secondary education by either enrolling in a technical or vocational training institute or, by continuing studies at an academic level, as a means of entering
a broader, ‘non-farming’ job market. They do not seem to adopt traditional
values and practices and they seem to reject traditional gender roles. Their
practices may be characterized as being modern and up-to-date. This type is
mainly made up of girls. The boys are clearly fewer in number. In fact, they
constitute the minority of boys from Anogia. This trend clearly indicates
how determined the young girls are to claim a different future for themselves
and gain a position from which they can better determine the course of their
own lives. This suggests that traditional societies are not as oppressive for
their male members as they are for their female members. These are the
young people who leave the village and relocate to an urban center. They are
the ‘leavers’.
Young people of this type are more likely to follow a prolonged preparation period before their entrance into the de-localized and competitive job
market. Similarly to the stayers, their professional self image seems to be in
accordance with other images of self and they feel confident about the
course their life has taken for the future.
These three types and their characteristics, will be further discussed in the
following sections.
10.1.5. Reflecting on Career Development Theories
If we attempt to associate these three different types of youth with the existing theories on occupational choice, we should then first mention that the
above could coincide with Super’s development theory according to which,
‘career’ is seen as the sum total of all the roles people play in their lives and,
in expressing an occupational preference, the individual translates the idea
he has of himself in terms of occupation and in making this choice, seeks
real expression of this self-image (Krumboltz, 1994; Stitt-Gohdes, 1997).
Indeed, for these young participants, the choice of occupation constitutes a
means of expression as well as a confirmation of how they see themselves
and the way of life they wish to lead. This self-image comes into play long
before they make their choice of occupation. This is more evident among the
stayers and the leavers.
At the same time however, Robert’s sociological theory (Roberts, 1975)
is also verified, since the process of occupational choice seems to have a realistic basis as regards the perspectives made available and the limitations
imposed by the social, economic, academic and cultural environment. Initially, this becomes clear when comparing the occupational choices of the
young people in the two different communities of the present study. The
young people of Anogia, in comparison with the young people of Archanes,
live in a community whose endogenous opportunities for employment are
few and offer limited alternative solutions, family incomes are lower, the
education level of the general population is also lower and the local culture
is more “traditional”. School abandonment is greater and the occupations
chosen require fewer years of schooling. This difference can also be seen in
the number of young people who complete the various levels of education.
In Anogia, the stayers, mainly boys, are greater in number than in Archanes,
the ambivalent in Archanes have more alternative solutions, while the leavers in Archanes have greater academic expectations. Secondly, when looking
at the specific characteristics of the participants as presented in chapters 6
and 7, one may notice that the young people from families with a higher
education level are steadfast and clearly orientated towards becoming leavers.
Statements from Ginzberg’s theory is also partly verified here since, in
many cases, we observe that the occupational choice was a process that began at an early age and in some cases, has not yet been completed and also
has to do with the interests, the abilities, the values and occupational opportunities given (Savickas & Lent 1994). This theory applies more to the stayers and the leavers who have determined their life course early on, as op-
posed to the ambivalents, whose attitudes leave them with far fewer choices
at their disposal.
Holland’s theory on occupational choice also applies here since we observe that there are young people, the stayers as well as the leavers, who
choose occupational environments which will correspond to their abilities
and potential, that will give them the space to express their attitudes and values and will enable them to take on satisfactory roles (Savickas & Lent,
1994; Stitt-Gohdes, 1997). Mention could also be made of Herbert’s theory
(1994) since there are quite a few young people mainly among the stayers
and the leavers who consciously develop a professional self image that coincides with the other ‘images of self’ they have created for themselves, as for
example images of living in the city or in the village, images of overturning
or maintaining traditional gender roles, or images of parenthood.
The first thing I would like to observe here is that according to the career
development theories, the choice of occupation is the result of a series of
compromises made by the youth as regards their desires, the potential and
limitations imposed by the social environment. The choices are not unlimited. This in fact, is more evident among the youth in rural areas who have
different and rather fewer opportunities, means and prospects of “choosing”
an occupation than the youth in urban areas. A second note-worthy point
could be that the above-mentioned theories apply very little to the type
known in this study as the ambivalent. For these young people, occupational
choice seems to be based more on off-handed “choices” rather than on well
thought out choices.
A third point which could be commented on and which is not mentioned
clearly in the afore-mentioned career development theories is the difference
in career choices due to gender. Generally speaking, “women’s career development is affected in specific ways by a variety of structural factors, such as
discrimination and sexual harassment, as well as by such cultural constraints
as occupational gender stereotypes, gender-role socialization, and the dictates of the motherhood mandate” (Fitzgerald & Betz, 1994). The present
study could add that the young girls of rural areas have to make an even
greater effort and are called upon to undergo a more lengthy preparatory period if they are to secure placement in the job market. Otherwise, they are
left with occasional and temporary employment or with the traditional role
of housewife which, in contemporary economies, equals unemployment.
10.1.6. Education as a means of finding employment
Education seems to be a crucial issue for the young population in the communities of Anogia and Archanes. It is commonly known that in most EU
countries, more education means less risk of unemployment (Hasan, 1994;
Eurostat, 2000, 2004). The direct association between the education level
and unemployment is characteristic of the last decades where economies require a work force with a wide range of qualifications (Rifkin, 1995). It is
also clear that education constitutes a means of transition from the rural
farming area to the urban center. Tsoukalas (1992) claims that the rural
population which abandons the land and moves to urban centers requires at
least a minimum of education, while school provides them with the technical
preparatory tools for such a new classification. Additionally, Kassimati
(1991) concludes that the level of one’s education is directly related to career
School abandonment or completion and the education level in general,
seem to be directly related to the type of jobs young people of Anogia and
Archanes hold, and consequently, to the course of their lives.
Despite the fact that the alternatives are very few for those young people
who do not complete their compulsory education and despite the ongoing
decline in the occupations that require man power with a relatively low level
of education, it is still possible in Greece, for them to find work in the farming industry, as well as in family or other non-specialized businesses
(IRDAC, 1991; NSSG, census 1991, 2001). This is the case for the stayers.
The boys stay in the villages practicing the traditional jobs, while the girls
stay in the villages, remaining unemployed for the most part.
Jobs in non-traditional sectors require the completion of at least a secondary education, attendance of vocational or technical schools or studies at an
academic level. The lyceum-leaving diploma constitutes the minimum
means required before moving from a rural area to an urban center in search
of work in new sectors, and this is so particularly for the girls. Academic
studies are considered to be the means which determine a career and enable
young people to have a steady income, security and independence. This is
the case for the leavers.
Generally speaking, school completion in Anogia and Archanes is greater
than student dropouts, with the boys outnumbering the girls in school abandonment. However, many aspects of Bourdieu’s theory are confirmed since,
the lower the parents’ education is, the lower the prestige of the field of studies is as well as the education level of the young people. In conclusion, the
young people gain social experiences which lead to their making choices
according to the way they take in, interpret and communicate with their mi165
cro and macro environment. They acquire a practical sense of what must be
done in a given situation and is what Bourdieu terms as “habitus” (Bourdieu
& Passeron, 1996).
From all the above, we may conclude that a person’s education plays a
decisive role in the career prospects provided to him, and in the choices he is
allowed to make.
10.1.7. Consequences for the two settings due to the occupational
choices made by the rural youth
The future of Anogia and its young people is unpredictable if the social gap
and the monolithic economy continue to exist. Relocation will be the most
likely outcome for the great majority if ‘outside’ support such as EU subsidies or other programs for peripheral development38 stops or if no further
attempts are made for greater social progress in the near future. For the
young, the expectations that come with their departure are summed up as
being the search for a better life, this meaning a life including vocational
stability, a steady income and relative personal independence.
It seems that the future of Archanes and its young people will follow a
more predictable course. Its ongoing effort for endogenous growth, its young
people’s increased interest in further studies, and its close proximity to the
city of Heraklion have paved the way for smoother development. Here,
abandoning the village is not a prerequisite for practicing another occupation. After all, despite the fact that farming is tending to become a secondary
occupation, it still remains an important source of income which has not nor
will be abandoned in the foreseeable future.
10.2. Traditional, modern or ambivalent: reflections on theory
The findings of the present study could be linked to many theoretical references and analytical frames that have functioned as guides for the study.
10.2.1. The transition from youth to adulthood and from school to the
job market
The young people of the two communities face a complex world which they
understand and interpret in different ways. The socio-economic conditions
they live in are dealt with in different ways and, as the study clearly shows,
Programs, similar to the Leader Program or to the Program for Young Farmers etc.
they choose different life plans and lifestyle models. Indeed, as Walther
states, transitions “are structured by a complex system of socio-economic
structures, institutional arrangements and cultural patterns” (Walther,
2006:124) that are constantly changing and have to do with how this complex social structure is perceived and interpreted by young individuals. The
word ‘choice’ is relative, however. It is either a personal choice or derives
from limitations or opportunities dictated according to social background,
education, gender and region. Could the increasing complexity of society
and the transition to adulthood within a context of vulnerability, risk and
uncertainty (Furlong, 2003) imply ‘no choice’ for some young people, as
stated by Furlong and Cartmel, (1997)? The answer to this remains complex
because it greatly depends on their desires, how they are formed and on how
determined young people are to fulfil their plans at any given moment in
their lives. So, although the young people of the two communities share
common origins, they follow different destinations. I am of the opinion that
people make choices within a set context of given conditions. Some young
people find themselves unable to overcome obstacles and limitations, others
expand or even create opportunities, shape their own lives, use strategies and
choices and some may even be lucky or unlucky (du Bois-Reymond, 1995),
while others have an ambivalent attitude between the known and the new,
trying to combine the two in the course of their lives.
In this age of modernity, the transition from youth to adulthood and, more
specifically, from school to the job market are characterised by Giddens
(1997), Walther (2006), du Bois-Reymond, (1995) etc. as a non-linear transition in which de-standardization, individualization and fragmentation prevail, as opposed to a smooth transition to the job market, since young people
have to deal with these inequalities and make their own very important decisions. However, according to Merino and Garcia (2006), despite increasing
social complexity, linear transition has not disappeared. On the contrary,
empirical data show that most youth transitions still follow the traditional
path to adulthood (Bendit and Hein, 2004) in almost every European country. Waara (1996) too, points out that many young people seem to seek a
linear transition process, but this route is often paved with impediments due
to the complexities of life situations within the context of their transition to
adulthood. What effect do these theories have on the present study? In offering a more complete and rounded answer to this question, I will first introduce another dimension of ‘transition’, that of prolongation (Giddens, 1997;
Merino & Garcia 2006; Chtouris 2006; de Bois-Reymond, 1998; Plug, 2003;
Walther, 2002; Westberg, 2004; Cavalli & Galland, 1993). Researchers and
politicians alike agree (OECD 1998:8) that the transition period has become
more prolonged due to extended studies and the extended passage from
school to work, the complexity of lifestyle models, the increase of female
employment, the flexibility of the labor market, a general tendency towards
individualization (Walther, 2006), and a delay in acquiring independence
from the family (Merino & Garcia 2006). As regards Greece, this prolongation is also due to long military service duties, reduced female employment
and the absence of training opportunities (Chtouris, 2006). The present study
indicates that the transition from school to the job market is for most of the
young people, (the ambivalent and the leavers), a long and complex process
which, in practice, varies among young people depending on their life plan.
All the young people in the study endeavour to achieve linear transition,
this being smooth integration and secure placement in the job market following the completion of their chosen studies. In other words, they choose the
education-employment format. However, in practice, this route proves to be
quite difficult and may even involuntarily be disrupted.
Indeed, the transition period between adolescence and adulthood has become longer, this being even more so the case for the rural youth. Due to the
changes in the social structures of traditional society, the family is becoming
less and less the natural training ground for acquiring skills and adopting
roles from which, in past years, the young used to move on to primary production and gain integration into local society. Furthermore, these young
people are given different and probably fewer opportunities of gaining access to means and structures that would encourage their transition to the job
market. They deal with inequalities such as fewer alternative solutions in
education, training and a smaller job market, as opposed to the young people
in urban centres. The above serve to prolong this transitional period for the
urban youth.
The young people of either community who pursue a shorter route in
education in the hope of gaining direct integration in the traditional economy
of their village seem to succeed in achieving this, especially the boys. From
this standpoint, we could say that they follow a linear path leading to easy
integration into traditional occupations. However, this does not ensure autonomous social and economic integration. As Walther (2006) states, entering the job market does not automatically mean the beginning of a new life.
These young people continue to live with their families, thus maintaining
close economic and social ties. For the boys, starting a family of their own is
not in their immediate plans. The young girls in this category remain unemployed, underemployed or assist in the household economy. While they
strive for linear transition, this is only accelerated in the case of job market
integration and does not apply to their emancipation from their families. As a
matter of fact, late emancipation was a very common phenomenon in preindustrial societies (Merino and Garcia 2006) and it seems that it will continue to exist. Young people are integrated into local society and quite possibly, go on to reproduce it (Waara, 1996).
This view is further borne out by the fact that the young people in the
study who decided to pursue the traditional occupations of their villages are
employed. Furthermore, at this point, let us be reminded that in Greece, unlike the other EU countries, unemployment for those who at best have completed compulsory education is lower than it is for those who have completed all secondary education levels, one reason for this being their early
integration into primary production or unskilled labor (NSSG: 2001; Kassimati, 1991; Rouseas & Vretakou, 2006; Palaiokrasas, 1996b). Nevertheless,
it has been observed that some young people who follow a shorter education
route with the intention of entering primary production, find that this alone is
not enough for their survival. They seek additional means, usually empirical
or vocational training so as to be employed in other occupational sectors,
they do odd jobs or are underemployed. The difficulties of integration into
the job market are obvious, clearly bringing the phenomenon of non-linear
transition into play.
At any rate, the majority of young people strive to achieve transition
through the education-job market format. To achieve this, they pursue all
levels of education and strive for academic studies at a university level. They
feel that the qualifications gained from this are important assets for the
greater job market and for their personal emancipation from their families.
Today however, this format is not necessarily capable of leading to rapid and
successful job market integration. Unemployment among young people and
especially those first entering the job market is high, female integration is
even more difficult, while job market demands for specialized training prevent smooth integration. Nevertheless, these young people are unwilling to
reproduce traditional roles and local social structures. They clearly differentiate themselves and perhaps become vehicles of change (Waara, 1996).
The young people who complete secondary schooling have come to find
themselves in dire circumstances. On the one hand, they have rejected traditional occupations and on the other, they have not acquired specialized skills.
They then pursue vocational training and enter an even bumpier road fraught
with job insecurity, cut-throat competition, low paying work etc. while being
called upon to deal with constant readjustments. There is no doubt that nonlinear transition prevails.
These young people could be characterised as being “young adults” not
only due to their prolonged studies as stated by Giddens (1997) and Walther
(2006), but also because of their slow social emancipation. They strive for
traditional transition but reality forces them to experience a complex and
difficult one.
10.2.2. Transition welfare policy
With regard to the issue of government policies and support aimed at the
young during this difficult period in their lives, it is clear that in Greece, the
sub-protective social-policy model prevails, as Gallie and Paugam (2000)
have presented for Mediterranean countries. It is characterized as being incomplete and very weak with regard to coverage towards education, training,
employment, unemployment and social security. Walther’s analysis (2006)
on the sub-protective welfare model completely applies to Greece and is evident in both communities. The characteristics of this model are the high rate
of school drop-outs, non-selective schooling until the end of compulsory
education, inadequately developed vocational training programs provided by
vocational schools of low credibility. Tertiary education plays a significant
role in providing young people with a social and personal status during the
long waiting period of transition. Indeed, education is one of the highest priorities for young people in the two communities and indicates that young
people increasingly acknowledge education and training qualifications to be
the most important means for a well-paid and relatively regular job. Furthermore, Walther (2006) points out young women’s difficulty in entering
the labor market, the unsteady jobs, the informal labour market and the
short-term contracts, all of which are very often the case in the two communities. Social security benefits for young unemployed people are meagre.
Although the overall aim of welfare policy is to provide youth with education, training and employment, the sub-protective model does not present
flexibility, choices or security (Walther, 2006). Welfare policy offers very
little support during this phase of young peoples’ lives.
Instead, the family is forced to carry some of this weight. That is why the
family is very important in supporting young people during this extended
transition phase. Kronauer (1996) argues that this is, among others, a reason
for which young unemployed people in both Greece and Italy, both belonging to the sub-protective transition regime, face low risks of social exclusion.
This is also ascertained in the present study. In both communities, the family
institution is strong, there is solidarity amongst its members and, in most
cases, the young are given emotional and practical support. Young people
are financially dependent on their parents not only during their studies but
also long after their adolescent years. The young people coming from poor
families set their expectations for further education according to the family’s
financial situation. Furthermore, the study findings also corroborate Kassimati’s theory (1991) on the role of the Greek family in protecting its members and its active role in strategies for seeking employment. Family strategies are more evident in farming families who decide the course to be taken
by its members according to the size of the family assets. In any event, even
when there is disagreement, the family continues to support its young members.
Within this same context, further corroboration can be found in the opinion of Merino and Garcia (2006) which holds that many changes have taken
place within families where one can see improved understanding between
the parents and their offspring, as opposed to previous generations, although
this has not happened without tensions and without having to accept controversial situations. Nowadays, one can see that the young are becoming increasingly more autonomous. However, the more traditional the family
structure, the less evident this is. Nevertheless, even here, in these two ‘traditional’ villages, women’s right to employment and to adopting less traditional role has been acknowledged. Communication among the members
takes place on a more equal level and this may explain the positive evaluation young people make as regards their relationship with their family. This
positive evaluation contributes to their remaining in the family home. But
still, as regards the distinction between boys and girls, the more traditional
the society, the stricter it is for the girls. Merino and Garcia (2006) argue that
the degree of choice regarding expenditures, studies, leisure time is not similar for both sexes in Catalonia, Spain. The freedom girls have nowadays is
definitely greater compared to previous generations. Nevertheless, they still
undergo greater time restrictions, greater control of resources, social activities and personal relationships.
Another parameter that the present study relates to is that of Chtouris,
(2006) this being the continuous decline in both the active and employed
population in the 15-30 age groups, due mainly to the greater social, demographic and cultural transformation of contemporary Greek society. Indeed,
statistical data pertaining to the two communities indicate the poor representation of the young people within the economically active population as a
result of their desire to further their studies. This phenomenon applies even
more to the girls who display a far smaller drop-out rate than the boys.
10.2.3. Gender differences as regards the transition phase
Walther (2006) claims that there are gender differences in young people’s
perceptions and views as regards the transition phase. When compared with
young women, young men seem to be less capable of managing differences
between their own aspirations and external demands and possibilities. Furthermore, young women hold on to and maintain their motivation over a
longer period while accepting deviations during the transition phase. Indeed,
it is clear that in both communities the girls are determined to gain professional qualifications through education. They strive to pursue studies at a
tertiary level and they achieve it to a greater degree than the boys do. Their
performance rate at school is better and in the event of failure to enter a chosen field of study, they set lower educational goals. They are aware of the
fact that their integration into the job market can be achieved only through
education and that this will offer them individual and social emancipation.
All existing studies converge to the difficulty of integration for young
women and the high unemployment rates as opposed to those pertaining to
young men. Nevertheless, they are more persistent in their desire to escape
from traditional roles, the male dominated society they live in and the social
control they endure. They want to be able to freely make their own choices.
Furthermore, traditional societies allow little room for female employment.
Of course, there are also those young women who, like the young men,
never thought that their lives could follow any other route other than the traditional one. Their strong ties to local society and its way of life lead to their
integration and reproduction of it.
Once more, we may ascertain that the girls from both villages are part of
a greater trend for female integration into the job market and for the eradication of gender discrimination, this being clearly evident in international research.
10.2.4. The importance of locality
How important is one’s hometown to young people and how do they define
their relationship with the global world? Giddens (1991) has argued that in
modernity, the importance of the local area has diminished, while others
(Furlong & Cartmel, 1997; Toney, 2002) have argued that the importance of
location has become greater. Tönnies (1887/1961) argues that the smaller
groups such as the family and the local community have a greater impact on
the behavior/attitudes of the individual than that of abstract, impersonal, delocalized social structures. Bourke (1997) believes that the majority of rural
young people in Australia have a strong sense of connectedness to community. Toney and Share (2000) suggest that community as a relationship, as
well as a place, carries great weight in Irish society and this pattern has
emerged very clearly amongst the young. O’Connor (2005) supports that,
although many aspects of young people’s lives draw on global products, the
young people remain deeply embedded within local contexts and that young
boys are more likely than the girls to refer to their own locality. However, as
the young grow older, their local area is not their sole geographical point of
reference. For the most part, however, they would like to move away to university or look forward to traveling and working abroad. Such findings are
supported by other studies as well (Paulgaard, 2002; Rygaards, 2003). Nevertheless, the girls appear to be less than enthusiastic about the informal social control exerted through gossip, which is a part of small community ties.
Indeed, the young speak favorably of their hometowns, of the natural beauty,
the friendly relations among the people, the security they feel and the values
and principles with which they were raised. They point out the positive aspects as opposed to city life. Not all of them identify with their hometowns
to the same degree. A feeling of ambivalence is predominant. They love
their hometowns but they also desire change that includes more freedom of
expression and choice. They wish to go away to study and get to know the
world outside their villages. They do not reject the possibility of returning to
their villages and residing there, provided this can be combined with their
work. At any rate, none of them express a desire to cut off ties with their
community. After all, as one young man mentions, “I carry the community
with me wherever I go”. The value system often appears to be more influential than the material one and determines social life. As stated in Waara’s
study (1996), community constitutes the starting point of reference for individuals. "hey all have some kind of connection to the local community.
Young peoples’ life-plans are structured in accordance with their degree of
commitment to the local culture. We may also add that the local ‘system’ has
a regulating effect on them as it expects compliance to dominant social customs for the purpose of reproducing society.
In closing this part of the study, we can say that there is obvious agreement with Waara’s (1996) contextual and theoretical points. In his study, he
underlines that there is a sense of ambivalence and uncertainty as regards
young peoples’ future life. Despite the dominant effect of modernity and its
global character, certain residual cultural formations have not died out. On
the contrary, they stand the test of time because they constitute socialising
conditions which provide a sense of security in an otherwise insecure world.
The predominance of tradition or modernity depends on the degree to which
either of these two social representations is accepted by each individual.
10.3. The main findings and how they reflect previous research
In completing this study, let us as determine the degree to which the major
findings reflect previous research.
Although these findings arise from case studies, they allow a comparison
with Waara’s respective study of the young population in the Tornedalica
area on the borders of Sweden and Finland (1996). The researcher found that
there were four ideal types of youngsters and named them the traditionalist,
the entrepreneur, the conventionalist and the avant-guardist. The first one is
described as being committed to the local community, polarized to genderidentity and orientated towards locally accepted gender-roles. Waara’s traditionalist type completely coincides with the traditional stayer type in the present study. The entrepreneur type is strongly committed to the local community but rejects the locally developed gender–roles, while the conventionalist type has a weak relationship with the local community, high preparedness for mobility, and acceptance of traditional gender-roles. These two
types share strong similarities with the young people in Anogia and Archanes who are characterized as the ambivalent type. In both cases, we have
a strong, as well as a weak commitment to the local community, acceptance
or compliancy to gender roles but no rejection of these roles to its full extent.
Finally, Waara’s last type seems to be quite the same as the modern type in
the present study, the leavers.
As regards the four different ‘modalities of transition’ resulting from Merino and Garcia’s (2006) survey on family emancipation and the transition
from school to work in the context of transition to adulthood in Catalonia,
we should note that they refer to the general population and not exclusively
to young people in rural areas. Nevertheless, there are comparisons to be
made. The first modality of early success includes young people who were
emancipated from the family before the age of 28, have successfully followed long education pursuits and demonstrate ascending professional mobility with both sexes almost equally represented, (slightly more so by young
women).The successive approach modality describes those young people
whose university studies or vocational training pursuits delay emancipation
but who demonstrate professional mobility, with the young women outnumbering the young men. Both modalities can be compared with the present
study’s modern type, the leavers. In this type, the young people and the girls
in particular, intend to pursue higher academic studies that will lead them to
independence and emancipation from the family while the likelihood of
achieving professional aims are greater. The working trajectory modality
includes the young people who were emancipated from the family before the
age of 28 and follow a professional course based on occupational options
that do not require higher education, while most of them have low qualified
jobs. There are some similarities to the ambivalent type as regards the kind
of education and job positions that do not include those of primary production and will therefore eventually lead to emancipation from the family. Finally the precarious trajectory modality describes the non-emancipated
young people, those who became emancipated late and those who have either undergone job status decline or remain in the unskilled labor market,
have a low level of education as well as school failure, with the boys outnumbering the girls. This modality can only be compared with the traditional
stayer in that this type is made up of young unskilled people with a low education level who are occupied in traditional professions with the boys outnumbering the girls.
Apart from these two cases, comparison could also be made with Australia’s agricultural youth. The phenomenon of youth movement from agricultural regions to large urban centres is a given situation due to structural
changes in all aspects of rural society. The findings reveal that, although
many young people see the benefits of small town living, the lack of satisfying work, school cutbacks in vocational training, a destabilisation of traditional career paths and the need for higher education leads many of them to
move to the nearest cities in search of employment and further education.
According to this survey, young people in urban towns fall into six identifiable groups: Those attending school; those leaving for university or vocational training schools or other training; those leaving for employment reasons; those staying for employment reasons; those staying and going to vocational training schools; those who stay and are unemployed, while a high
percentage of young people, this being between 75 and 90 per cent, plan to
leave small towns. It is important to note that more girls than boys intend to
leave and that more girls are motivated to go on to university. Girls consider
the available jobs to be mostly for boys. This appears to reflect the gender
opportunities in the rural employment sector. Nevertheless, there are few
full-time positions available for young school leavers. Despite the vast differences that exist between the two study fields, the similarities in the choices of Australia’s agricultural youth with those of the Cretan youth are indeed characteristic. The limited number of jobs available in the agricultural
sector, the lack of jobs for young women, the desire for education and
employment, and the young girls’ firm position regarding education and job
placement, are only a few of the points the two studies have in common.
Although somewhat brief, these comparisons do show that many similarities may occur among young people during the transition period even if the
social settings, the methodological or the theoretical approaches differ a
great deal. This is a challenge for further investigation.
10.4. Implications for policy, practice and further research
The rural youth’s choice of occupation and the possibilities of achieving this
constitute a complex social issue requiring the implementation of combined
policies that will aim at doing away with the inequalities that exist among
the young and between the two sexes and at creating opportunities for selffulfillment. In this regard, it is indeed difficult to suggest policies that would
ensure all the above. After all, policies and legislation are only of value
when they are capable of dealing with citizens’ problems, respecting democracy, diversity and separate cultures. On a practical level, one could agree
with measures that aim at: the qualitative improvement of education, the removal of the obstacles preventing access to it, the improvement of youth
counseling services, greater backing for vocational training programs and
life-long learning, the safeguarding of the autonomous role education must
maintain as a valuable asset in itself.
As regards Social Community Work (Popple, 1995; Zaimakis, 2002;
Stathopoulos, 2000, 2001; Ross, 1955; Alinski, 1971; Rothman, 1970; Warf,
1979, et al.) I consider that the present study may enrich the way local communities in transition are studied (see chapter 3, 3.4.1). The approach used in
the present study places emphasis on connecting the phenomena to the historic time of their origin and their progress, in relation to the wider “whole”
(Nitsiakos, 1991). It is from this perspective that I feel it may enrich existing
community study approaches, some of which usually refer us to static studies, leaving only a “momentary” imprint of the community (Seippel, 1974;
Stathopoulos, 2000).
Furthermore, I believe that through this particular study, Community Social Work as well as other Social Sciences could work together with social
agencies and structures in contributing to the planning of micro and macro
programs for local, social and economic development aimed at seeing to the
needs of the youth population, raising community self awareness and offering the incentives needed for improving their quality of life.
Moreover, it enables Community Social Work to contribute: to career
orientation activities and programs, to job market research and its needs, to
the creation of strategy programs for occupational training at a local level
within the structure and capacity of local government, to youth counseling
within schools and finally, to the development of recreational programs and
Generally speaking, we could say that this study could enable the creation of
local development programs and actions that encourage youth involvement
as well as programs for social planning aimed at the youth, always in cooperation with professionals, local authorities and local government. Additionally, it offers the incentive for social action allowing all those involved to
contribute to bringing the changes needed (Rothman, 1970).
In closing, I staunchly believe that there will always be a subjective reading and interpretation of an ‘objective’ situation, ‘structure and agency’, and
of people’s different life plans as they continue their perpetual journey
within the community of man. Knowledge and research constitute the most
powerful ally for understanding the phenomenon as a presupposition for
practical intervention. Future studies could focus on comparative studies on
the transition from school to work among rural, semi-rural and urban youth
as regards their aims, motivations, means, efforts and the ultimate achievements of these objectives, life courses as regards gender, schooling and life
courses pursued by young rural girls, the social capital of the “stayers”, the
“ambivalent”, the “leavers”, how social and educational capital relate to the
family, and the education choices of its members. Finally, comparative studies between different countries challenge us to corroborate and enrich theory.
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Semi-structured interviews with young people of the community
Facts regarding family
Family’s members
Place of residence
B. School life
• Tell me about school
B.1.If he/she has quit school:
• When he/she decided to quit school
• The reasons for that choice
• The family’s opinion regarding this choice
• What he/she has done since then
B.2. If he/she has graduated school
• Why he/she decided to graduate school
• The aims he/she put, what he/she aspired to.
• The family’s opinion as regards the aims he/she put
• What did he/she did since then
B.3. If he/she continues studies
• When did he/she decided that he/she want to do further studies
• Why? What aims did he/she had
• Why did he/she choose the specific study field
• The family’s opinion regarding this
To sum up,
• The personal aims (for graduating school or not) was… and sought after
to fulfill them by…
• How important was the family’s opinion as regards the aims that he/she
had posed
• The family’s expectations as regards the school and the future aims for
“professional rehabilitation”
C. Professional section.
• His/her professional status today
C.1. If he/she is unemployed
• Is it his/her choice? Why
• If he/she intends to search for a job
• What would he/she like to do
• If this is possible or not. Why
• If he/she thinks of leaving the village to find a job
• If not, which factors prevent him/her
• The family’s opinion as regards the situation of unemployment
C.2. If he/she is working
• How did he/she choose the job
• Which factors played a part in the choice of the job
• How did he/she find the job
• The professional perspectives
• The main problems he/she face with the job
• Degree of satisfaction
• The family’s opinion as regards the work position
C.3. If he/she studies now
• What does it mean for him/her
• How satisfied he/she is form the studies and the profession these studies
leads to
• In what place he/she will practice the job
• The family’s opinion as regards his/her studies
C.4.If he/she intends to do further studies
• How important is this for him/her
• What he/she would like to study and why
• Professional perspectives
• The family’s opinion as regards his/her further studies
To sum up
• With whom he/she discuss/ed his/her professional plans
• Which factors play/ed a part in the choice of profession/job
• To which degree the family has affected his/her choice
• Which aims have been satisfied so far
• The main future aims regarding occupation
• How they will be satisfied
The most important needs he/she satisfies / is going to satisfy from
his/her job.
D. Work opportunities in the village
• What work opportunities and perspectives exists for a young person in
the village today
• How satisfied are these perspectives for the interviewee
• What work opportunities he/she would like to find in the village
• What he/she thinks as regards work perspectives away from the village
• If he/she would like to leave the village in order to get a job. Yes / No,
• Which is his/her opinion regarding the “traditional jobs” ( Cattle-raisingfarming)
• Which is his/her opinion for the jobs developed due to tourism
The social setting
Description of the social life at the village
Description of his/her everyday life in the village/ city
What he/she likes about living in the village
What he/she dislikes about living in the village
Implementation of social and personal life in the village
Social and family conditioning. How he/she deals with this
Acceptance of community and family moral codes
How he/she spends the free time
Connections with urban centers
What they think are, the advantages and disadvantages of living in an
urban center
What are the main problems young people face in the village today
His/her main problems
How he/she thinks these problems can be solved
Who can do something about them
How he/she imagines him/herself after 2-3 years
Basic demographic/background elements are indicated here. The interviewees’ original names are not mentioned, so as to protect their anonymity. The
interviewees are presented in order of age.
A) Sample from Anogia
1. Dimitris, male, 17 years old, herdsman, single.
Education level: Graduate of the 2nd class of gymnasium (junior high
school). He did not complete compulsory education. He did not want to go
to school.
Description of his family: Dimitris is the only male in his family. His father
is a herdsman raising his own cattle. His mother is a householder. His two
sisters are older than he is. They have both graduated lyceum (senior high
school). One of them has already graduated a public Institute for Professional Training (I.P.T), the computer department and is working as a secretary in Heraklion. The other is now studying at the same school in Heraklion. Neither is married.
2. Nicos, male, 17 years old, pupil, single. In his free time he helps with the
family farming, single.
Education level: Pupil at the 3rd class of lyceum. He strongly wants to pursue academic studies.
Description of his family: Nicos is the eldest of seven siblings. His father is
a priest and he also runs some farming property. His mother works on the
administrative staff at the health center. Both his parents have graduated
3. Efsevia, female, 17 years old, pupil, single.
Education level: Pupil at the 3rd class of lyceum. She wants to attend farther
Description of her family: Efsevia is the youngest member in her family.
Her father is a herdsman and together with her three brothers (27, 26, 24
years old) they raise cattle. Her mother is a householder. She also has two
sisters 23, 22 years old. One has married a herdsman in another village and
the other lives in Anogia, and is unemployed. Efsevia will be the first person
in her family to graduate lyceum. Four of her siblings have graduated elementary school and one gymnasium.
4. Valia, female, 17 years old, pupil, single.
Education level: Pupil at the 3rd class of lyceum. She will pursue academic
Description of her family: Valia is the youngest member in her family. Her
father owns a “cafenion” and he is also a tailor. Her mother is a householder. Both her siblings have graduated lyceum. Her sister is 19 years old
she attends the department of Agriculture studies at the Technological Education Institute (T.E.I.) in Heraklion. Her brother is 18 years old and he
works at a small industry in Heraklion. They both live together. Her sister
spends her vacation in Heraklion taking care of her brother. They visit
Anogia every weekend.
5. Maria, female, 19 years old, student, single.
Education level: Graduate of lyceum. Student at the department of Agriculture studies at the Technological Education Institute (T.E.I.) in Heraklion.
Description of her family: Maria is Valias’ sister.
6. Marina, female, 19 years old, single.
Education level: Graduate of lyceum. She failed twice in entering university
or TEI. Now she has applied to a public Institute for Professional Training
(I.P.T.) in Heraklion and Thessaloniki.
Description of her family: Marina has four siblings. Her father is a herdsman
and her mother is a householder. Her two older sisters are students at the
University of Crete and Thessaloniki. Her younger sister is a pupil at lyceum. On graduating from gymnasium, her brother followed in his father’s
footsteps and became a herdsman.
7. Vassilis, male, 20 years old, student, waiter and he also helps in cattle
raising, single.
Education level: Graduate of lyceum. Student at an IPT (technician for refrigerating equipment).
Description of his family: Vassilis has three sisters. His father is a herdsman
and his mother is a householder. His older sister, after graduation from
gymnasium got married at 16, she has now three children and lives in
Anogia. Both his two other sisters have graduated lyceum. One of them has
also graduated from a public IPT and works in Athens as a baby nurse and
the other is now a student at a public IPT in Heraklion. They are not married.
8. Babis, male, 20 years old, herdsman at the moment, singe.
Education level: Graduate of lyceum.
Occupation: He has been working as a herdsman for one year. Now he will
do his military service and then he will search for a job in Heraklion.
Description of his family: Babis is the youngest member in the family. He
has three brothers. His father is a herdsman and his mother a householder.
All his brothers have graduated gymnasium and they all became herdsmen.
They are single and live in Anogia.
9. Costas, male, 20 years old, unemployed, singe.
Education level: Graduate of lyceum. He has applied at a public I.P.T. and
at the schools for vocational training of the National Work- Force Organization to study and become a technician.
Occupation: He has been working with his father for one year in farming as
well as a small “cafenion” they own. He characterizes himself unemployed.
Description of his family: Costas has three older siblings. His father is a
farmer and owner of a small “cafenion”. His mother is a householder. His
older sister has graduated gymnasium, got married and lives in Anogia. The
two other siblings have graduate lyceum. His brother works in the labor
market in Heraklion and her sister is a student at a public I.P.T. in Heraklion
10. Maria, female, 21 years old, unemployed, single.
Education level: Graduate of gymnasium.
Description of her family: Maria is the youngest member of her family. Her
father is a retired builder and farmer and her mother is a weaver. Maria has
three siblings 33, 31 and 28 years old each. They have all graduated lyceum
and they are all unmarried. Her older sister is unemployed and her brother is
a builder. Her other sister has graduate a public I.P.T. and she is now working in Athens as an assistant in a microbiology laboratory.
11. Rena, female, 22 years old, unemployed, she provides help to her family
in the winter quarters, single.
Education level: Graduate of gymnasium.
Description of her family: Renas’ father is a herdsman and her mother is a
cleaner at a public organization. She has three siblings. Her older brother, 25
years old is a herdsman as well as a musician. Her 16-year-old brother is a
pupil at gymnasium, and her younger sister who is 15 years old, has been
helping at home ever since she graduated from elementary school.
12. Agapi, female, 23 years old, journalist, single, she now lives in Heraklion.
Education level: Graduate of lyceum. Graduate of a private I.P.T., the journalism department.
Description of her family: Her parents are farmers. She has two siblings. Her
older sister has graduated from university, the Philosophy department and
she got married in Carditsa, a city in the mainland. Her younger brother,
graduated lyceum, and is unemployed in Anogia.
13. Rena, female, 24 years old, unemployed, single.
Education level: Graduate of gymnasium.
Description of her family: Her father is a herdsman and her mother is a
householder. She has three older siblings. Her two brothers are herdsmen
and her sister is married and is a householder, in a nearby village.
14. Eleni, female, 25 years old, sociologists, she runs her parents’ super
market, single.
Education level: Graduate of the university (the Sociology department).
Description of her family: Eleni has four siblings. Her father is a retired
trader and her mother is a householder. All her siblings have graduated lyceum and have pursued further studies. Her older sister is a graduate of the
Philosophy department of the university, got married and lives in Anogia but
is unemployed. Her brother has graduated the Accounting department of the
university and works in a bank in Heraklion. Her younger sister is studying
now at the school of Agronomy at the Technological Educational Institute of
Heraklion and her younger brother is studying at the Computer’ department
at the University in Athens.
15. Litsa, female, 25 years old, unemployed, householder, married.
Education level: Graduate of gymnasium. She attended a school for vocational training, the hairdresser department in Heraklion.
Description of her family: Litsas’ husband is a herdsman. She has two small
children. They live in the same house with her parents and her younger sister. Her father is a builder and her mother is a cleaner at a public organization. Her sister is a graduate of gymnasium and is unemployed.
B) Sample from Archanes
1. Emmanouella, Female, 17 years old, pupil, in her free time she helps with
the family farming, single.
Education level: Pupil in the 3rd grade of lyceum. She wants to pursue academic studies in the field of economics.
Description of her family: Emmanouella has a younger brother, 13 years old
who attends the 2nd grade of gymnasium. Her father, 53 years old, is a
farmer. He cultivates olive trees and grapes. His property is characterized as
small. Her mother, 40 years old, is a housekeeper, and occasionally she
helps with the farming.
2. Dimitris, male, 17 years old, pupil, he helps with the family business and
with farming, single.
Education level: Pupil in the 3rd grade of lyceum. He strongly wants to pursue academic studies. He is not sure yet if he wants to study biology or
Description of his family: Dimitris has an elder brother 21 years old who
studies civil engineering at the TEI of Athens. His family own farming property, grapes and olive trees, and at the same time they run a café-restaurant
in the village. Both his parents have graduated from lyceum. His father is 45
years old and his mother 44.
3. Nikos, male, 18 years old, pupil, he helps his family in farming during the
harvest periods, single.
Education level: Pupil in the 3rd grade of lyceum. He will attend academic
Description of his family: Nikos has a younger sister, 13 years old, who attends the 3rd grade of gymnasium. Both his parents are dentists and have
their own practices, his father in a nearby village and his mother in Arhanes.
His father originates from Cyprus. Apart from their main job, both his parents and his grandparents are involved in farming, cultivating grapes and
olive trees.
4. Dimitra, female, 18 years old, pupil, single.
Education level: Pupil in the 3rd grade of lyceum. She wants to pursue academic studies in the field of economics.
Description of her family: Dimitra has two sisters. The elder is 20 years old.
She studies biology at the university while she has a part-time job in Heraklion and the younger one is 17 years old, a pupil in the 2nd grade of lyceum.
Her parents own a bus and also have farming property. Her father is about 50
years old. Her mother, 42 years old is a housekeeper and at the same time
she helps with farming.
5. Maria, female, 18 years old, pupil, single.
Place of residence: Arhanes
Education level: Pupil at the 3rd class of lyceum. She strongly wants to pursue academic studies in drama and do postgraduate studies at the same field.
Description of her family: Maria has an elder brother, 25 years old, who has
graduated lyceum. Her father, 50 years old, although he is a political engineer, he occupy him self in winery. Together with Maria's brother they have
set up a small enterprise. On their land, they organically cultivate grapes,
produce their own wine, which is bottled and exported in the USA and Paris.
Her mother, 42 years old, is a public servant.
6. Michalis, male, 19 years old, student, at times he works in the farming
sector, at cafes and in construction, single.
Education level: He is student at the TEI of Crete.
Description of his/her family: Michalis has two younger sisters, 16 and 14
years old, both pupils at the lyceum and gymnasium respectively. His father,
51 years old works in construction and his mother 41 years old is a kindergarten teacher. The family owns a small farming property.
7. Chrissoula, female, 20 years old, student, at times she works at cafés, she
helps with the farming, single.
Education level: Student at the University of Crete, the Biology department
Description of her family: Chrissoula has two younger sisters both pupils in
the 3rd and 2nd grade of lyceum. They both want to pursue academic studies.
Her parents own a bus and also have farming property. Her father is about 50
years old. Her mother, 42 years old, is a housekeeper and at the same time
she helps with farming.
8. Irini, Female, 21 years old, Local Authorities’ servant under a 24-month
contract, single.
Education level: She attended the lyceum up to the 2nd grade, but then she
quit it to study physiotherapist's assistant at the Technical Professional Education (TPE). She has the 1st certificate in English language, the ‘Kleines
Sprach Diplom’ in German language and she attends a private school in order to get the ‘Grosses Sprach Diplom’. She wants to be a German language
Description of her family: Irini has younger a brother, 19 years old. After he
completed gymnasium, he attended the technical school of the National
Workforce Organization (OAED) and he became a plumber. He works on
his own in the village. Her father works as a driver for the Local Authorities
and her mother is a housekeeper, while she does wage work from time to
time. They own a small farming property. Her father originates from Athens,
and her family settled in Arhanes when Irini was 5 years old.
9. Evagelia, female, 21 years old, farmer, single.
Education level: She completed lyceum and then she continued at the Technical Professional School (TPE), in the agriculture department. After that,
she attended a two years public School for Training in Tourist Services.
Description of her family: Evagelia has two sisters. The eldest one has
graduated from lyceum as well as the School of Business Administration of
TEI of Crete. She is now working for a private business in the city of Heraklion. Her younger sister completed gymnasium and then she continued at the
Technical Professional School (TPE), in the Microbiology department. She
has no job. Her father, 51 years old, is a farmer. Her mother was a housekeeper and used to help with the family farming. They own a good farming
property of grapes and olive trees and they run small haberdashery.
10. Dimitris, male, 21 years old, farmer, single.
Education level: He quit high school after completing the 1st grade.
Description of his family: Dimitris has an elder sister who graduated from
lyceum and then attended a private school for computers (Free Education
Centers - CFS). She is now working in a private sector in the city of Heraklion, and since she is engaged, she lives in a nearby small village, from
which her fiancé originates. Both his parents are farmers. They own a good
farming property of grapes and olive trees
11. Maria, female, 22 years old, clerk at farming co-operation of Arhanes
under an 18-month contract, engaged.
Education level: She has graduates lyceum. After falling to enter to a university school, she attended the 2 years Institute of Professional Training (IPT)
of the National Workforce Organization (OAED) to become an accountant
assistant. She also has the 1st certificate in English language
Description of her family: Maria has a younger brother who is 20 years old.
Her brother followed the same route as Maria did. He is now doing his practice at a local bank. Her fiancé works for a construction company in the city
of Heraklion. Her father is deceased. He was a farmer, and her mother, 37
years old is a farmer too. The family owns grapes and olive trees. Maria
helps with the family farming on a regular basis
12. Nicos, male, 24 years old, farmer and electrician too, single.
Education level: He completed the gymnasium.
Description of his/her family: Nicos has an elder brother who is now doing
his military service. He completed lyceum and he attended the Marketing
School of TEI of Athens. His father is a farmer and his mother, a housekeeper, helps with the farming. They own a good property of grapes and
olive trees.
13. Constadinos, male, 24 years old, driver and a farmer too, engaged.
Education level: He completed lyceum.
Description of his family: Constadinos has an elder sister, 26 years old, who
is marred and has a small child. She completed lyceum and she attended a 2year private school (CFS). She does not work. His father was a driver and
his mother, 46 years old, is a housekeeper and farmer too. They own grapes
and olive trees.
14. Aggela, female, 24 years old, accountant at a small private business in
the city of Heraklion, engaged.
Education level: Aggela has graduated from lyceum. Then she attended the
public IPT, the school of computers. She now attends a private school for
English language learning.
Description of his/her family: Aggela has a younger sister who, after graduating from lyceum is attending the public TPE and in the meantime works at
a small private business in the village. Her father, 50 years old, is a farmer
and her mother, 42 years old, has a part time job at a small business in the
village. The whole family seasonally helps with farming.
Grounded Theory is a scientific methodological approach in qualitative research aiming at building theory out of data elaboration, by
using a systematic set of procedures to develop an inductively derived grounded theory about a phenomenon (see more in Chapter
5). In the present study, I tried to ensure that emerging concepts were grounded in data and did not were simply the result of preconceived ideas. My data was analysis inductively and all the phenomena were derived from the three different analytic steps, the open,
the axial and the selective coding process. Nowadays this position has been softened, and at least theoretical pre-understanding (from
scientific literature) is often mentioned as an advantage in Grounded Theory (Dahlgren et al. 2004).
From this perspective, an additional dimension in discovering the core category derived from my data could be added. In the following table I will illustrate a pedagogic example that includes a part form the inductive approach, an abductive approach as well. The
data used is from the main category Attitude towards school.
Discover from the interviews
"I couldn’t wait for the school
bell to ring so that I could go
to our vineyard where my father was and avoid having to
sit down and study"
A few codes derived from the
axial coding analysis
Reasons that led me to my
quitting gymnasium or lyceum
After I start Lyceum I quit
reading, so I was not a good
I didn't find school interested, I
Theoretical pre-understanding
The construction of the core
Tsoukalas (1992) develops the
view that rural masses that
The transition from school to
leave the land and turn from
physical work to a social cate- work
gory which requires at least a
minimum of education, found
at school the technical prepara- The term “transition” from
"My father kept telling me to
go back to school, that there
was no future in the vineyards,
that I would have a hard life,
that my earnings would be
meager, that school or learning a craft was a far better
choice... but I didn’t compromise, I wanted to become a
"My parents wanted the best
for me, they wanted me to go
to university and when I failed
the entrance exams, they offered to send me abroad for
studies, they didn’t want me to
go into farming”
“It would have been better if I
had not dropped out of techni-
had many things that I liked to
If one would like to enter the
University has to work relay
hard, and I didn't want to do
I did not like school
I was not good pupil
I did not like studying
I preferred to work on with
I undertake our property after
my fathers death
Reasons that led me to my
finishing lyceum
I wanted to graduate Lyceum
since I was a child
I wanted to do academic studies
tory tools for such a new clas- education/initial training to
sification (see more in chapter employment refers to the pe3, 3.5.1).
riod during which young people move from a state whose
main activity is school attenEducation seems to play a dance (general education or
catalytic role in the course of vocational training) to a state
journey that stars with where work is dominant
school and ends to the job (OECD1998:8).
market. Existing data (Euro
stat, 2004) indicates that popu- The passage from school to
lations with a higher level of work, as every other passage,
education are more easily inte- may “entail movement into a
grated into the formal job mar- different part of a social strucket (see more in chapter 2, 2.1) ture; or loss or gain of privilege, influence, or power, and a
According to Walter (2006), changed identity and a sense of
the transition from youth to self, as well as changed behavadulthood and especially from ior” (Glaser & Strauss, 2010:2).
school to the job market con- According to the “status passtitutes a critical period for sage” theory (Glaser & Strauss,
young people. Giddens (1997) 2010), status is regarded as a
cal school”.
. ”I was very frivolous. I have
no chances of getting a job
without the lyceum diploma”.
"When I failed my exams I
didn’t have the stamina to try
again. I opted for the easy solution of enrolling at a career
training institute because of
course, I had to do something"
"I had decided that I wouldn’t
continue my studies at lyceum,
I didn’t want to study very
much, and enrolled at a technical lyceum so that I could
learn more about agriculturalism"
I wanted to do academic studies although I failed
Knowledge is indispensable
and valuable
Academic studies was the only
outlet for me
Academic studies are-was a
means for getting a job
I just wanted to have the Lyceum diploma
considers this to be a specific
stage in personal development
in the modern world, and that
the importance of this ‘moratorium’ is likely to grow due to
the extended period of education which many young people
now undergo. Additionally,
Walther (2002) claims, that
youth transition is also destandardized. This long period
between youth and adulthood
is characterized as a “yo-yo”
transition. It is argued that this
phenomenon is either a personal choice or derives from
limitations or opportunities
imposed by social background,
education, gender, region or
ethnicity (Furlong & Cartmel,
1997). We may conclude that
the process of the young peo-
resting place for individuals
while, the transitional phase is
a period of constant movement
over time and keeps a person in
passage between two statuses
for a period of time, depending
on how scheduled or unscheduled this passage is for each
"I stopped studying the moment I entered lyceum. I just
didn’t find it interesting. So, I
dropped out and enrolled at a
technical lyceum to get a diploma. I like reading, but not
for school”.
“My parents are educated
people; they do not own a cattle. Studies are my outlet. I
could not imagine myself doing anything else but to study
at the university”
“My parents are both dentists
and I want to become a dentist
ples’ integration into the job
market no longer takes place
automatically, nor are there
clearly defined boundaries for
it. The road from education to
employment is no longer a
small bridge to be crossed but
rather, part of a long journey
which begins long before
young people leave school and
by no means ends with their
entering the job market for the
first time (see more in chapter
2, 2.4).
According to Herbert (1999:
157), the basic process involved in choosing one’s occupation has to do with the
development and conscious
awareness of a professional-
"Ever since I was a little girl
my aim was to complete my
schooling and go to university.
It never even crossed my mind
to think otherwise”, "I’ve always wanted to finish school
and go to university, there’s
no doubt about it”, "I’m tired
of school and studying, but I
want to go to university... it’s
also what my family hopes for.
After all, if a girl doesn’t further her studies, she’s left with
very few options... not like
boys who can work in farming
or learn a skill if they choose
not to further their studies. If a
girl chooses not to study, the
best thing that can happen to
her is that she will be confined
to her house
self image that coincides with
the other “images of self” that
individuals create for themselves (see more in chapter 2,
Kassimati’s (1991) Model of
Occupational Choice process,
who states that the level of
one’s education is directly related to career choices (see
more in chapters 2, 2.3 and 3,
“I will be the only child in the
family to graduate from lyceum. “They wanted me to
have a better life although it
meant being away from them”.
“My father has always liked
education. They let me continue my studies because they
trust that my behavior away
from the village will be the
proper one”.
“My parents consider studies
to be the only outlet for a
"My parents considered it a
given that I would study. They
would tell me, OK do what you
want in Theatre but see that
you get a diploma that will
ensure a steady job for you...
now I’ve convinced them that
the Theatre is what I want”.
"My parents really want me to
study something that I feel will
offer me a comfortable life
without the problems that they
themselves have had to face".
"My parents know that life
today is very demanding and
that one must be well equipped
to deal with it... since we were
little girls they’ve urged us to
be good students and one day
go to university because a diploma ensures security for the
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