Research Research

Seminar : Young People and Social Change after the Fall of the Berlin Wall

Anniversary seminar of youth research, policy and practice
Budapest, Central European University (CEU) - November 20, 2009

The Research Committee 34, Sociology of Youth, International Sociological Association; in co-operation with The Directorate for Youth and Sport of the Council of Europe; the Partnership between the Council of Europe and the European Commission in the field of Youth ; the Italian Sociological Association; the Department of Sociology and Social Research of the University of Milan-Bicocca is organising a seminar of youth research, policy and practice entitled "Young People and Social Change after the Fall of the Berlin Wall" on the 20th November 2009 in Budapest.

After the breakdown of state socialism in Europe the societal role of youth changed dramatically from that of an ideological driving force of communism to that of an agent and carrier of democratisation and marketisation.

On the occasion of the 20th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin wall in November 1989, a symbol of both the raising of the Iron Curtain and the end of the Cold War, this seminar takes a look at how the opening up of these societies to Europe and the world changed the conditions and experiences of growing up in the area. It will examine the status of young people in these societies before and after 1989, their living conditions, issues of social participation, the way in which they construct their identity and constitute and represent current social realities, their cultures and gender constructions as well as the interplay of continuities and discontinuities beyond this historical separator. The seminar focuses on four main topical fields: youth transitions and their national contexts, youth in the post-communist landscapes of inequality and uncertainty, and the consequences of social change for the possible convergence of youth across the former dividing line of the Iron Curtain. A fourth stream addresses the history and activities of cooperation between youth experts from the East and the West regarding research, policy and practice.

Morning Plenary

Chair: Carmen Leccardi, University of Milan-Bicocca, Italy

Institutional Greetings:

  • Carmen Leccardi and Carles Feixa, Research Committee 34 "Sociology of Youth", ISA
  • Marta Medlinska, Partnership between the European Commission and the Council of Europe in the field of Youth
  • Vera Asenova, Center for the Study of Imperfections in Democracies, CEU

10:00 – 12:45: Presentations

Afternoon working groups

I) Youth transitions in post-communism
Chair: Siyka Kovacheva, University of Plovdiv, Bulgaria

  • Kuhar Metka, University of Ljubljana, Slovenia: "Frozen transitions? Young people in the Balkans"
  • Tomanović Smiljka, University of Belgrade, Serbia: "State of Youth in Serbia: General Overview"
  • Joachen, University of Bremen; Khachatryan Gohar, Caucasus Research Resource Centre Yerevan; Velidze Rusudan, BCG; Pollock Gary, Manchester Metropolitan University; Roberts Ken, University of Liverpool : "Transition to adulthood in rural villages Caucasus"
  • Krzaklewska Ewa, Jagiellonian University, Poland: "Transition to adulthood: national or ‘globalized' approach?"

II) Inequality and uncertainty
Chair: Carles Feixa, University of Lleida, Spain

III) Western and eastern, or modern youth?
Chair: Herwig Reiter, University of Bremen, Germany

IV) Cross-border cooperation in research, policy, and practice
Chair: Lyudmila Nurse, Oxford XXI, UK

  • Parac Stanka, Boaria Marco, Cvijić Srdjan, Gangloff Camille, Association of Local Democracy Agencies, Council of Europe, Strasbourg, France: "Youth in Transition and Conflict"
  • Calafateanu Adina Marina, London Metropolitan University/Maastricht, Romania/Netherlands: "Transition or adaptation? - The Communist Youth Union vs. Youth Non-governmental Associations"
  • Sinczuch Marchin, University of Warsaw, Poland: "The structural dimensions of intergenerational communication process. The case of Poland"
  • Mitulescu Sorin, University of Bucharest "Dimitrie Cantemir", Romania: "Youth vision about the future in 1985 and in 2006. A comparative analysis"
  • Ivleva Tatyana, Bashkir State University, Russia: "Youth transitions in post-communism Russia"
Related publication Related publication

1989 - Young people and social change after the fall of the Berlin Wall

This collection of essays, based on the outcomes of this seminar, examines the circumstances of young people in Eastern Europe before and after 1989 from a variety of angles: their transition to adulthood; their living conditions; the scope they have for social participation; the way in which...

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