Youth as an emerging problem and the new political power

Krystyna Szafraniec

Abstract


The subject matter considered in this article is youth reflected on as a social category unique for its potential of revolt on a world-wide scale. In case of Poland, the sources of this revolt are, on the one hand, successful socialisation processes of a young generation to values and ideas that legitimize the new social order (the idea of freedom, democracy, consumerism), and on the other, the structurally blocked opportunities of transition from adolescence to adulthood (as resulting from the logic of Polish transformation, demographic factors and economic stagnation). Therefore it can be assumed that it is not the declared readiness for contestation that is an indicator of rebelliousness of youth (as such it is not of much predictive importance), but rather growing objective contradictions of the system that threaten realization of their aspirations and expectations. Thus, in order to show youth as an emerging problem and political power, an analysis of two spheres is important: firstly, the world of values, aspirations and life desires of young people, and secondly, the problems they face (from education, through labor market, achieving life independence, to free functioning in public sphere and starting a family). The present analysis is founded on the author’s studies and data derived from national and international statistics. Final conclusions suggest attentive observation of the youth’s problems and behavior (which always play a role of an early warning system) and account for the consequences of the world crisis which is likely to intensify the existing tensions and jeopardy of another „lost generation”.

Keywords


adolescence; adulthood; lost generation; revolt; social change; world crisis

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