20 SES 06 B, Intercultural Learning, Identity and Citizenship
Several recent studies on youth culture have demonstrated the political radicalization of young adults (Lánczi 2011; Bartlett/Birdwell/Krekó/Benfield/Győri 2012; Bustikova/Kitschelt 2009; 2011). Apart from active but small groups of radical actors, Hungarian young adults (between the age of 18-29) are lost between the plurality of social life-worlds and the political subsystems with one of the lowest participation rate in Europe. Several study on youth culture (Utasi 2008;, Szalai 2011; Csákó 2011) have demonstrated that the majority of Hungarian young adults is neither motivated to identify themselves with formal or informal communities nor readily participate in them. According to the European Social Survey the activity index of Hungarian young adults is the twenty-seventh out of the twenty eight countries measured (2010), which raises the question of the dysfunctional operation of the agents of political socialization.
While many rely on macro perspectives in their account of how institutions impact political behaviour in post-socialist countries, social scientists have rarely looked at how the seemingly irrelevant micro processes of the evolution of democratic culture adds up to significant outcomes. To see more clearly in respect of democratic processes in youth cultures the University of Debrecen launched a project (campuslet.unideb.hu) to explain how the changing forms of connectivity and privacy contribute to civic education. Within this framework the research aims to answer the question what is the relationship between the students’ shared public views and their forms of activity. How are public values translated into collective actions at the University of Debrecen?
After the political transition in a country with definite collectivist priorities there was an elementary need to redefine private and public boundaries. Parallel to the “rise of privacy”, the forms of connectivity and the notion of communities has also altered. As classical communities has turned to be communicative communities (Bauman 2000, Delanty 2003), the levels and way of commitment to institutions has changed and different identification strategies have emerged.The way public values are translated into collective actions at the University of Debrecen is predominantly determined by students’ identification strategies. If external communication in a group becomes more intensive and more important than the internal one, matter-of-factly understandable norms, values, identities and activity patterns disappear. Activity patterns become the subject of discursive argumentation and personal contemplation. Therefore in the analysis of political participation the study of communication and orientation gain extraordinary relevance. As a result the hypothesis of the research was that the low political activity of students cannot be completely explained by their political apathy. The underlying reasons for low participation lies in the changing forms of activity.
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