Politics and Religion in Central and Eastern Europe: Traditions and Transitions

By William H. Swatos Jr | Go to book overview

4
The New Europe and the Value Orientations of Young People: East-West Comparisons

Luigi Tomasi

Despite the extensive research carried out in the last few years, in diverse contexts in terms of the instruments used and the interpretations made, the problem of the position of young people is a topical and many-sided issue, some of whose aspects are new.

The availability of a large crop of research and reflections would seem to constitute sufficient, as well as necessary, material for an attempt to understand the complex and changing phenomenon that makes up this empirical referent, "young people." Yet the numerous surveys of the world of young people carried out in the 1960s do not have much in common with contemporary experience. This is probably attributable as much to the variability of the theories and methodologies used as to the changes over time in the structure of the subjects analyzed.

A fairly well-established tendency in these years shows the decline of the social factor; variables up until now considered explanatory and conditioning (social composition and extraction, family structure) have been partly reduced by the new necessity to pay attention to subjectivity. This is an unforeseen aspect that is based both on the decline of integrated paradigms and on the evidence of behavior and orientations that can no longer be explained by structural and macro models.

Today, reference is increasingly made to the micro aspect of daily life as a basis on which to express personal relations and as a filter that

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