The object of this research is youth communities and activities
The aim of the research is a complex study of youth solidarities (groups, communities, movements)in the economical, political and cultural context from both global (international) and local (Russian) perspectives.
Methodology and empirical base of the study
1. Contemporary academic discourse on the emergence and spread of youth solidarities (activities, identities, groups, communities) as well as new approaches towards the understanding of the whole range of youth solidarities.
2. The study of youth solidarities represention in mass media. The subject of the analysis is the references and assessments of young people’s activities in mainstream print media and TV programs during a six month period. The research base was made with the help of the search system “Integrum” that selected the print publications.
3. The supplement and development of the youth solidarities mapping database that was launched in a previous project. The main methods comprise observation (partly standardized) and interview. As additional tools, mapping (the place scheme creation where important spots and interaction situations will be marked) and visual information analysis were used. An analysis of a Saint-Petersburg based young people’s discussion platform called “Politgramota” was carried out, as well of youth solidarities in two city localities – the suburb community Kupchino (in the Park of Internationalists) and in the central district – Obvodnoy channel that is becoming one of the most popular places for young people’s cultural projects (galleries, clubs, workshops etc.)
4. A case-study of the distinct youth communities that highlight the new economical, political and cultural tendencies of youth solidarities. As examples of these communities the following groups were chosen: anime-communities, rockers, the “Nashi” movement, an orthodox club, Reiki self-development groups, anti-fascism communities and state sports clubs. Overall, more than 70 in-depth interviews were made.
5. An analysis of the questionnaire study database of young people was evolved. Sampling of 1200 pupils, college and university students of Saint-Petersburg and Ulyanovsk that took place in 2010 within the framework of Program of fundamental studies “New young people’s social movements” project.
Contemporary public protests are becoming more complex forms of symbolic (ritual) and real resistance. Combining elements of theatrical and eccentric play with symbols, culture codes and mixed forms of subculture identities, new youth movements and solidarities are becoming the main actors of the development of new forms of network interactions and communication. All this formulates new political platforms, the languages of the network mobilizations and broadens the horizons of consumption practices defending new meanings of justice, sincerity and trust.
The terms of social justice, intergroup and intergeneration trust are being updated. The range of young people’s groups aimed exclusively at post-material values is being broadened. The growing popularity of exotic self-presentations and global references lead solidarities beyond the borders of the national institutions. Besides, it is not only about the positive achievements in the counter-cultural protest activities but also having fun (civil, aesthetic).
The role and value of discursive power is changing as well. It has become more diverse, and more agents participate in the set of critical agenda. For example, active Internet actors – popular bloggers, creators of videos broadcast on YouTube, alternative writers and non-professional newsmakers. An informal economy is being developed that accompanies new youth solidarities. In some segments commercialization is taking place, in others, on the contrary, – de-commercialization (DIY ) that follows the growth of anti-capitalism ideas, for example, in anarchic youth communities.
By the end of the first decade of the new millennium the key vectors of some youth solidarities radicalization had been highlighted. Their main values are pro- and antipatriotic, pro- and anti-migration ideas, the attitude towards traditional and alternative gender regimes, acceptance and rejection of mono party systems, the understanding of ideas of justice and human rights.
The results of the work implementation
The materials of this study were presented in 37 reports at the public seminars of the Higher School of Economics in Saint-Petersburg, conferences and seminars in Saint-Petersburg and Moscow as well as foreign ones. After considering the results of this and other projects made within the framework of the Program of Fundamental Studies HSE, about 19 works were published by the members of the Centre for Youth Studies including foreign editions.
Within the framework of this project a research film called “As they are. Young people” was made (95 minutes, 10 parts, the authors – Dmitry Omelchenko, Sergey Senatov).
The area of the results implementation
The results of this research provides important and interesting material for the elaboration of youth policy programs in the following areas: the civil inclusion of young people, the development of political awareness, the prevention of protest ideas, and the support of creative young people’s initiatives.
A reasonable youth policy requires consideration of the changing ideas in the sphere of youth, a more qualified understanding of the political sphere, a reduction of panic in official documents appealing to young people, consideration of the fact that the innovative potential that presents the agenda of modern Russian politics is created not only through formal but also via protest and sub-cultural joint groups. Creative personalities that are ready for active civil participation appear in these very groups. The study of solidarities that help to see these trends are becoming more and more relevant and in demand..
Foreign partners of the project
Professor Hilary Pilkington (University of Warwick) H.Pilkington@warwick.ac.uk
Doctor John Schoeberlein (Harvard University)email@example.com
Professor Rebecca Kay (University of Glasgow) Rebecca.Kay@glasgow.ac.uk