Keywords: NEET, social representations, press analysis, interviews, identity.
The acronym NEET indicates young people (15-29 years old) who are not engaged in education,employment or training. This research has investigated this issue as a social representation, conducting two convergent studies aimed at the analysis of five newspapers along
ten years and episodic interviews with twenty protagonists. The results show that the press presents the issue in terms of absence of work and with emotionally negative aspects; the references to training and lifelong learning are less evident. According to the protagonists, these aspects are partly balanced by references to the possibility of having time for themselves and the opportunity to get involved. However, the perspective of the Other reverberates in personal experiences, fuelling a negative spiral in the mechanisms of self-definition.