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Generational Identity Construction by Modern Youth

Student: Daria Petrunina

Supervisor: Elena L. Omelchenko

Faculty: Saint-Petersburg School of Social Sciences and Area Studies

Educational Programme: Modern Social Analysis (Master)

Year of Graduation: 2021

Generational identity construction in the modern world is a complex process that includes global and national aspects. The logic of the formation of generations and generational identity is associated with the experience of the formative years of individuals and can change depending on social changes and conditions. The research question of the dissertation research was a conceptualization of the process of constructing generational identity by the modern youth of St. Petersburg. The aim of the study was to analyze and conceptualize the process of constructing generational identity by young people. The empirical base of the work consisted of 30 semi-structured interviews with informants aged 18 to 43 years, living in St. Petersburg. The analysis of qualitative data was carried out using the categorization analysis method. The analysis of theoretical aspects made it possible to single out approaches to the study and understanding of the phenomenon of generations, as a social community with a common consciousness and attitude, formed through the experience of collective experiences and upheavals. The specificity of generational identity, reflected in the sociological debate, reflects the duality of the national and global worlds in relation to the construction of generational identity, which in turn is comprehended through the discursive articulation of experience by individuals. As a result of the analysis of the construction of generational identity, the following aspects of the specificity of generations were identified. First, the formative period should be considered not only from the point of view of the period of late (conscious) growing up in youth, but also take into account childhood as a key period in the formation of a common generational consciousness, reproduced in the future. Secondly, the past and formative years of life are the basis for constructing the identity of generations, which is reproduced by individuals in the present and the future through the implementation of life courses, worldview, as well as through everyday practices. Thirdly, self-determination of oneself as a generation can occur to varying degrees depending on the rate of social change, the presence of strong cultural and social upheavals, as well as daily interactions with different age groups, both in the formative period and in the current time. Also, during the analysis, the boundaries of the millennial generation were determined. The central age group of this generation was identified - 25-35 years old, and also the buffer generations in relation to millennials were identified, the boundaries of which represent a conditional spread of 10 years to younger individuals and also to older ones. The results obtained in this dissertation research can become an impetus for rethinking and expanding methodological and theoretical approaches to the study of generational specifics.

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