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Change and Continuity in Youth Transitions in Eastern Europe: Lessons for Western Sociology*

Change and Continuity in Youth Transitions in Eastern Europe: Lessons for Western Sociology* This paper argues that the evidence from research among young people in post-communist countries vindicates and should consolidate confidence in the Western sociology of youth's conventional transitions paradigm which seeks links between social origins, routes and destinations. Contrary to claims about postmodern fluidity, individualisation, and a blurring of traditional structural boundaries, the expected links between origins, routes and destinations have persisted throughout the transformation of the former communist countries. The relevant evidence also confirms the primacy of education-to-work and family/housing life stage transitions. Other aspects of young people's lives – their uses of leisure, levels and patterns of social and political participation, and socio-political attitudes, for example – become meaningful and explicable only when set in the context of the routes that individuals' lives have taken, and the stages that they have reached, vis-à-vis their school-to-work and family and housing transitions. The paper proceeds to argue that the exceptionally thorough changes that are still in process in East-Central Europe and the former USSR reveal with exceptional clarity the processes whereby young people's life chances are structured in ways that are not of the individuals' own making. It has been, and it remains, possible to observe how young adults learn from their own youth life stage transition experiences and, where applicable, use the assets that they acquire or retain, to advantage their own children thereby structuring the opportunities that confront all members of subsequent cohorts of young people. Finally, it is argued that the sociological approach being advocated is uniquely able to use the evidence from young people as a window through which to identify the impact of the ongoing macro-changes in former communist countries among different socio-demographic groups in the wider populations. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Sociological Review SAGE

Change and Continuity in Youth Transitions in Eastern Europe: Lessons for Western Sociology*

The Sociological Review , Volume 51 (4): 22 – Nov 1, 2003

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References (51)

Publisher
SAGE
Copyright
© 2003 The Editorial Board of The Sociological Review
ISSN
0038-0261
eISSN
1467-954X
DOI
10.1111/j.1467-954X.2003.00432.x
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This paper argues that the evidence from research among young people in post-communist countries vindicates and should consolidate confidence in the Western sociology of youth's conventional transitions paradigm which seeks links between social origins, routes and destinations. Contrary to claims about postmodern fluidity, individualisation, and a blurring of traditional structural boundaries, the expected links between origins, routes and destinations have persisted throughout the transformation of the former communist countries. The relevant evidence also confirms the primacy of education-to-work and family/housing life stage transitions. Other aspects of young people's lives – their uses of leisure, levels and patterns of social and political participation, and socio-political attitudes, for example – become meaningful and explicable only when set in the context of the routes that individuals' lives have taken, and the stages that they have reached, vis-à-vis their school-to-work and family and housing transitions. The paper proceeds to argue that the exceptionally thorough changes that are still in process in East-Central Europe and the former USSR reveal with exceptional clarity the processes whereby young people's life chances are structured in ways that are not of the individuals' own making. It has been, and it remains, possible to observe how young adults learn from their own youth life stage transition experiences and, where applicable, use the assets that they acquire or retain, to advantage their own children thereby structuring the opportunities that confront all members of subsequent cohorts of young people. Finally, it is argued that the sociological approach being advocated is uniquely able to use the evidence from young people as a window through which to identify the impact of the ongoing macro-changes in former communist countries among different socio-demographic groups in the wider populations.

Journal

The Sociological ReviewSAGE

Published: Nov 1, 2003

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