Ämnade för restaurangarbete? : Om politisk styrning och lågutbildade ungdomars väg fram till arbetsmarknadens tröskel

Sammanfattning: A significant part of the labour market debate is devoted to issues concerning problematic youth. Expressions like “the lost generation” is coined to address the very core of the matter. It captures the difficulties for low-skilled young people to gain a sustainable work life in an education-oriented society. A strategy to increase employment opportunities specifically suited for the latter group was introduced in Sweden on 1 January in 2012. The VAT for restaurant and catering services was lowered from 25% to 12%. The aim is to support an increase in demand for restaurant and catering services and, through that, increase the number of employment opportunities for for the less educated labour market groups.In this study I have investigated how young people themselves describe the path from unemployment to an ambition to work in the restaurant industry. Empirical data were collected from two main sources. Firstly, material was gathered through in-depth interviews with 17 young men and women who, a few years after the implementation of the new VAT strategy for restaurant services, participates in a vocational training program in restaurant work. Secondly, material consisting of government policy documents published between the years 1981 and 2011 was collected.I used a theoretical frame inspired by Michel Foucault. The analysis takes place at an intersection where personal ambitions to improve problematic work lives meet political strategies that amount into an ambition to lead unqualified job seekers into suitable employment opportunities.I have veiwed the relation between the two materials as a game of truth. It is a game between, on one side, the political ability to govern society and anchor important truths about the economy and, on the other side, a group of people who have ability to create resistance, motivated by their own interests and claims on the results the truth creates.How the essence of the political truth becomes relevant among the interviewees has been detected through the identification of truth practices. These truth practices also become essential to how the path to the restaurant industry takes form. Findings indicate that the process of occupational choice among the interviewees is predominately positive. The image of restaurant work as a representation of low-skilled work is characterised by possibilities to achieve success that have not previously been available. It is against the backdrop of the interviewees' problematic relations to the labour market that the image is argued to become relevant. Perhaps the relevance is even of a particular importance in a time when labour market opportunities are considered to be fewer for disadvantaged groups, while the importance of acting responsibly to create a sustainable work life is argued to be greater than ever.