Middle Class Backgrounded Youth of Big-city Areas and Their New Life Style

Although studies concerning “youth” in sociology literature have been existing till the beginning of the institution of the discipline, after 80s, multi-dimensional and interdisciplinary analyses prescinding the case from “education sociology” which was primarily dealing with this fraction of society as a social problem.  This had pioneered to the institutionalization of “youth sociology” as a sub-discipline of sociology through the world. It is a fact, attested by social scientist, that in modern societies the life period what is called “youth” has extended. As is the case in mostly world cities, young people in big cities in Turkey postpone also entering mature life, leave their families and build their own lives considerably late, belatedly delve into a working life that would provide them a stable status, and marry at a later age. Furthermore, the unemployment increase is also affecting the youth. Although educated young people have elevated labor force participation rates, they are facing unemployment issues. In Turkey, the rise of “qualified people” unable to balance the rise of employment, is bringing forth the impairment of diplomas., forcing young people to continue in education period for a much longer time to obtain a higher academic level and on the other hand, conducing to a disappointment as they couldn’t reach committed positions.  Nowadays not engaging oneself with ultimate decisions concerning future, not taking responsibilities, taking roots into temporariness have come to define educated, middle class backgrounded and urban youth in particular. It is a fact that the conception of “establishment” has been transformed to an “establishment on the temporality” for educated, middle class backgrounded and urban youth. The extension of the passage to the mature life has created the opportunity for the youth to criticize and to reinterpret the values of mature society. In this process, youth culture has evolved into a “new life style” comprising the extended youth instead of being a conventionally defined phase lived, produced and consumed by high school and university youth. Our research will focus on issues influencing the emergence of this new life style peculiar to urban middle class backgrounded youth in specific such as prolongation of education process, postponing of marriage, passage to working life, separation from the family house, and military service. Besides those factors generating the fact in question, the research will analyze and try to bring theoretical explanations to the scope, effects on the cultural and the political as well as the features affecting existing social relations of the transformation as a whole. The scope of the communication forms and dimensions of the use of technology amongst youth affecting the process are as well included in the research. Besides a general examination of forms of perception of social reality and meanings attributed to this reality by the younsgters, their future plans, forms of self recognition and values, this new life style will be analyzed on three areas, namely, “cultural and everyday practices constructing the style”, “the new conception of family, friendship, sexual relations”, and “new forms of political activism”.

The number of researches concerning youth conducted in social sciences in Turkey can not be assumed sufficient. In addition, significant amount of researches conducted so far are either descriptive. This fact caused to a lack of contribution to the world literature and to some difficulties of institutionalization of “youth sociology” as a sub-category of sociology in Turkey. This project aims to bridge this gap and anticipates a multi-dimensional sociological analysis and theoretical contribution to the field of youth sociology by employing and developing conceptual instruments.

In terms of methodology, the distinctiveness of this research stems from aiming at the employment of qualitative techniques such as in-depth interview, focus groups, and participant observation in field research and the employment of statistical data in order to explicate social transformations affecting the research object. Moreover, the project aims at supporting the mechanisms of decision-making on each scale that determine social and cultural policies concerning the youth with its expected outcome.

Youth, Sociology of Youth, Subculture, New Lifestyles, New Forms of Political Activism, Cultural Practices.

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