Age display and intergenerational memory: Conference in Copenhagen
Elena Omelchenko and Jana Krupets made presentations at the conference, organized by the "Youth Studies" magazine, one of the leading printed editions in the field of youth research. The conference was held from March 31 to April 1 in the capital of Denmark - Copenhagen.
The Conference of the "Youth Studies" magazine attracted 280 attendants. Apart from visitors from Europe, America, Australia, Canada – the leaders of the academic world in youth studies – conference was attended by colleagues from India, Sri Lanka, China, Latin America and Russia. A representative list of participants allowed to go beyond the Western context and look at contemporary issues and trends on the youth scene in a global perspective.
"The conference showed that youth issues is now in the top of research interests in the social sciences, - says Elena Omelchenko, - In response to the crisis - of past and present - the growth of youth unemployment and mobility, geopolitical changes in the world, there is a need to rethink the traditional approaches, to develop and rethink the concepts that adequately reflect current social situation. First of all, we are talking about shifting the focus from socialization as a progressive process of maturation through assignment or playing the social roles, on transitions as a complex and multidirectional shift from the "childishness" to "adulthood", which can receive different interpretations depending on the social context. The very concept of "maturity" becomes most controversial here due to the instability of defining its parameters, because the societies themselves are in a state of transition, and it is often difficult to understand exactly when a person becomes an adult. "
Jana Krupets focused her attention on the physical and gender aspects of growing up in the Russian context, in the presentation prepared in cooperation with Nadia Nartova. The name of presentation: "Teenage girls and the age production in modern Russia" and it was based on the results of the project "Age in work." The main research objective of this project was to understand how age is built in the chronologically young woman's body. Research has shown that teenage girls are in a fairly vulnerable position. On one hand, they have already left a childhood to feel more independent. However, they are not entirely satisfied with their personal age, it seems difficult to them. Trying to overcome this vulnerability, teenagers design desired age through the acquisition of specific competencies and practices of age display, they enact "maturity".
Another important focus of the Copenhagen conference was the discussion over advantages and disadvantages of generational approach and of study of the validity of the "generation" concept. A joint report by Elena Omelchenko and Guzel Sabirova was prepared for this particular case, it covered the problematics of intergenerational memory and interpretation of history in the Russian family context. The report is based on biographical interviews provided in frames of MYPLACE project. The specific of Russian case is the phenomenon of intergenerational gap: history in the minds of young people is constructed as a "history without present", focusing on the grandparents who survived war, Virgin Lands campaign participants, the builders of BAM, launchers of satellite into space. The stories of parents whose personal story is set in the "dashing 90’s", who survived and built nothing are not "impressing".