Regrounding Youth Cultural Theory (in Post-Socialist Youth Cultural Practice)
This article considers how the study of youth cultural practice in Eastern Europe informs theoretical and empirical debate about youth culture. It charts the trajectory of academic writing on East
European youth cultures and suggests the region’s state socialist past (which made social inequalities relatively insigniﬁcant at a time when, elsewhere, youth cultural studies were dominated by
class-based readings) combined with the explosion of inequality in the post-socialist period (by which time class-resistant post-subcultural theories led anglophone academic discussion), makes it
an interesting vantage point from which to reconsider academic paradigms. Drawing on empirical examples of youth cultural practice in (post)-socialist Eastern Europe, it argues for a perspective that integrates structural and cultural factors shaping young people’s lives. It suggests moving forward western theoretical debates – often stymied in arguments over nomenclature (‘subculture’, ‘postsubculture’, ‘neo-tribe’) – by shifting the focus of study from ‘form’ (‘subculture’ etc.) to ‘substance’ (concrete cultural practices) and attending to everyday communicative, musical, sporting, educational, informal economy, and territorial practices. Since such practices are embedded in the ‘whole’ rather than ‘subcultural’ lives of young people, this renders visible how cultural practices are enabled and constrained by the same social divisions and inequalities that structure society at large.
In this article we are going to discuss the methodological challenges and perspectives of empirical research of citizenship conducted by the Centre for Youth Studies. The study was implemented in the framework of the Basic Research Program at the National Research University Higher School of Economics (HSE) in 2013. In the contemporary societies citizenship becomes a contested issue, which is an uneasy subject to capture with traditional methodological instruments. However, looking for diverse ways in which modern young people interpret and practice citizenship can help researchers to understand how patterns of participation, being active, and belonging have transformed in the global societies. Therefore, citizenship can itself become a methodological instrument for exploring the social processes. Our recent studies of patriotism (2008-2010) have demonstrated that place of birth, identity and citizenship are disconnectedfor modern young people. Therefore, new indicators and study methods are needed to measure these things in the changing world. In the studies of youth solidarities implemented at the Center for Youth Studies since 2009a composite methodology was developed to address such complex and dynamic phenomena as citizenship. A mixed-method approach including quantitative research, in-depth interviews, ethnography, as well as popular culture analysis allows analyzing different contexts and media in which citizenship is manifested. We approach citizenship not as a formal status, but as a deeper and socially embedded concept, a position, a strategy of planning own biographies and everyday life. Citizenship includes identities, actions, plans, attitudes, and values, requiring specific methods of study. Therefore we refused asking about citizenship directly, but combined quantitative survey focusing on mobility strategies with ethnographies helping to reveal the inclusion of young people in diverse communities, and analysis of music and videos to discover the ideas and notions of citizenship communicated within the sphere of popular culture. However, the methods are connected and build a coherent research structure: mobility, music, and lifestyles are the topics bringing the methodological parts in connection with each other. Juxtaposing the sometimes contradictory results on these topics received with different methods allows revealing the contextualized character of citizenship.
This article presents the results of analysis of representations of young people constructed in newspapers and academic journals concerned Russian higher education. The main focus is the specificity of representation of young people in central Russian newspapers
This edited collection will be focusing on the new methods in the field of youth research. Today’s transnational and online environments, where young people spend an increasing amount of their time, affect the research methodologies, ethics and data. With the rise of new contexts and advanced methods for gathering and analysing empirical material, contemporary research needs to combine various approaches and methods and pose new research problems. This collection of peer-reviewed chapters gives an overview of the new challenges, approaches and advanced methods when investigating young people. The first part of the book - In search of Crossings - is about combining different angles and techniques and stressing the benefits of interdisciplinary and/or multi-methods research. Second part of the book – In search of Participation - focuses on the questions of how youth can be better involved in research and which means and techniques contribute to quality of ethnography. Third part of the book - In search of Stories - concentrates on ways of incorporating various (textual, visual) narratives into our analyses.
This paper deals with Petersburg feminist initiatives, analyzed in the frame of solidarity approach to identify the main lines of value-cultural attractions and conflicts. The research is based on twenty-eight interviews with Petersburg feminists aged between seventeen and thirty-nine years old. The interviews are complemented by thirty-two days of participant ethnographic observation. The empirical material was collected from 2015 to 2017. The study is built in the frame of a qualitative paradigm of social analysis, and is based on reconstructions of the informants’ experience. Particular attention is paid to personal field reflections, including those related to the development of my own feminist identity. Despite the fact that women-related questions have been active in Russia since the mid-nineteenth century, the current conservative domestic context is not favourable for the development of feminism. At the same time, grassroots feminist initiatives are growing, the participants of which not only define the goals of their struggle in different ways, but also follow different criteria in determining 'us' and 'them' in the feminist field. The analysis here shows that, despite the existence of an active agenda that unites feminists, informants have varying views on its interpretation. On the one hand, an emphasis is placed upon protecting women’s rights; on the other hand, there is also a focus on counteracting all types of discrimination. Particular attention is paid to the gender regime in the activist communities, which is most often defined as blocking joint resistance to the dominant conservative discourse. Moreover, defining 'safe space', as well as the perception of commercial sex, are important lines of feminist discussions. At the same time, the acceptance or denial of certain values is not built on a binary opposition of 'for' or 'against', but in heterogeneous continuums of solidarities.
Several approaches to the concept of fatherhood present in Western sociological tradition are analyzed and compared: biological determinism, social constructivism and biosocial theory. The problematics of fatherhood and men’s parental practices is marginalized in modern Russian social research devoted to family and this fact makes the traditional inequality in family relations, when the father’s role is considered secondary compared to that of mother, even stronger. However, in Western critical men’s studies several stages can be outlined: the development of “sex roles” paradigm (biological determinism), the emergence of the hegemonic masculinity concept, inter-disciplinary stage (biosocial theory). According to the approach of biological determinism, the role of a father is that of the patriarch, he continues the family line and serves as a model for his ascendants. Social constructivism looks into man’s functions in the family from the point of view of masculine pressure and establishing hegemony over a woman and children. Biosocial theory aims to unite the biological determinacy of fatherhood with social, cultural and personal context. It is shown that these approaches are directly connected with the level of the society development, marriage and family perceptions, the level of egality of gender order.