The meanings of work literature has shown that in recent decades there have been significant changes in youth’s orientations towards work, that is on the one hand a loss of centrality of work and on the other a pluralization of the meanings young people give it. Based on the analysis of 50 autobiographical narrative interviews with young people gathered in Naples, the article analyzes the importance and the meaning of work, in order to understand whether the crisis has led to a reversal of the trends identified in the recent past. The author points out that, in general, the crisis has led neither to a renewed centrality of work nor to a strengthening of the instrumental aspects. Nevertheless, the effects of the crisis on the orientations towards work prove to be very differentiated in relation to the social position. It is also shown that the crisis fostered the emergence of both a new vision and new meanings of work, that radically question its traditional vision, and that these signs of innovation are currently the prerogative of a generational elite.
Keywords: Work, young people, meanings of work, innovation