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Gergely Rosta

This essay analyses the changing religiosity of the Hungarian youth population between the ages of 15 and 29 after the millennium. The basis for this empirical investigation is provided by the three waves (2000, 2004, 2008) of the National Youth Study. From their results, a similar picture emerges on the religiosity of the youth as from other nation-wide surveys, in relation to the whole adult population. Since the first Youth Study a slow but steady decline has been witnessed in different dimensions of religiosity (practice, faith, self-classification). It is especially salient for institutionalised religiosity. At the same time, the vast majority of the Hungarian youth confess to believing in some kind of supernatural instance, though not necessarily a traditional Christian one.

The socio-demographical background to the differences in religiosity can be partly explained by the secularisation theory, but the effects of an expanded religious education are present too. In contrast to the secularisation thesis, however, the transmission of traditional religious conviction is much more likely in families with better educational backgrounds than other parts of the society, a phenomenon which points to a more and more elite type of church religiosity in Hungary.

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Robyn Singleton, Jacqueline Carter, Tatianna Alencar, Alicia Piñeirúa-Menéndez and Kate Winskell

A study of 50 narratives (16 male-authored, 34 female-authored, ages 13–16) contributed to a scriptwriting competition by Mexican youth from Oaxaca State was undertaken to understand youth social representations of hegemonic masculinity. Representations of masculinity manifested within three domains: substance use, companionate or abusive relationships, and economic roles. Positively portrayed male characters maintained companionate relationships and economically provided for loved ones. Rejection of abusive rural male characters who misuse financial resources occurred via condemnatory language and tragic outcomes. The young authors highlight financial control as a key element of Mexican masculinity, but this control goes unchallenged if dependents benefit. The rejection of a macho hegemonic masculinity in favor of a companionate relationship model mirrors historic trends in Mexico regarding migration, gender, class, and modernity.

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Joachim Otto Habeck

This special issue of Sibirica comprises a selection of papers presented at the conference “'Everything is still before you“: being young in Siberia today' (Halle, November 2003). This introduction opens with a short review of the conventional social-sciences approach toward youth (especially indigenous youth) as an 'object of concern'. A brief summary of the subsequent papers follows, highlighting several crosscutting themes: (1) the concept of youth, the process of becoming an adult and the expectations connected with it; (2) acquisition of knowledge within and outside formal education; and (3) sports, music and games as meaningful and creative spheres of social interaction. The introduction concludes with the argument that the ambit of 'Siberian' anthropology can be significantly enlarged through the integration of sociological and cultural studies approaches and methods into ethnographic inquiry.

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A Social Negotiation of Hope

Male West African Youth

Christian Ungruhe and James Esson

This article examines the present-day perception among boys and young men in West Africa that migration through football offers a way of achieving social standing and improving their life chances. Drawing on ethnographic fieldwork among footballers in urban southern Ghana between 2010 and 2016, we argue that young people’s efforts to make it abroad and “become a somebody” through football is not merely an individual fantasy; it is rather a social negotiation of hope to overcome widespread social immobility in the region. It is this collective practice among a large cohort of young males—realistic or not—which qualifies conceptualizations of youth transitions such as waithood that dominate academic understanding of African youth today.

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‘Go out and learn’

Shakespeare, Bildung and the Jewish Youth Movement in Germany between Integration and Jewish Self-Identification

Rosa Reicher

This article deals with Shakespeare’s reception among German Jewish youth in the early twentieth century. The Jewish youth movements played an appreciable role in Jewish education and culture. The various Jewish youth movements reflected the German Jewish society of the time. Despite the influence of the German youth movement, the young people developed their own German Jewish Bildung canon. Many young Jews in Germany perceived Bildung as an ideal tool for full assimilation. Bildung placed an emphasis on the Jewish youth as an individual, and so served as an ideal tool for full assimilation. My thesis is that by means of the youth movement, German Jewish youth could develop new interpretations of identity, through the creation of a European Bildung ideal, which includes an awareness of the significance of Shakespeare.

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Pueri Sunt Pueri

Machismo, Chivalry, and the Aggressive Pastimes of the Medieval Male Youth

Sean McGlynn

This article draws on research into medieval childhood to argue that the violence of male youth activities was not simply a result of their age and hormones—“boys will be boys”—but was positively encouraged by society and the state as training for their potential roles in conflicts, for war was all pervasive and all important. The violent games and pastimes of male youths are discussed in light of their relevance to war, as they progress into sports that served as military training. The focus here is on the chivalric tournament, the apogee of such entertainments and a form of medieval war games within a violent sports spectacle. A primary intention of such training was to foster combat primary group cohesion among the male youths preparing to engage in war with its codes of chivalry.

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Whose Austria?

Muslim Youth Challenge Nativist and Closed Notions of Austrian Identity

Farid Hafez

The Austrian Muslim Youth was founded in 1996 by young Muslims of different ethnic backgrounds and has become the largest multi-ethnic, co-educational, German-speaking youth organization in Austria today. Since its inception, it has presented the concept of an ‘Austrian Muslim identity’ as a key philosophy. In this article, I ask how the idea of this identity was negotiated. I suggest that this concept is not reinforcing nativist notions. Rather, the formation of an Austrian Muslim identity can be seen as an attempt to create safe spaces to empower young Muslims to live their religion while fully participating in Austrian society. Hence, this concept speaks to two audiences simultaneously, challenging nativist notions and offering young Muslims ways to see themselves as possessing multiple and hybrid identities.

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'Everything is still before you'

The irony of youth discourse in Siberia

David G. Anderson

Russians often use slogans to triangulate themselves between state and society, and slogans about youth are no exception. This article conducts a cultural historical analysis of how the concept of 'youth' has been applied both to young people and to the idea of a nation in Siberia. The author argues that categories of youth in Russia, and in Siberia, are very different from their Euro-American cousins. Citing survey data, and material from historical and contemporary movements for self-determination, he argues that youth discourse is future-oriented, collectivist, and is often used in an ironic register in order to carry moral messages.

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Holly Thorpe

This article advocates the value of a mobilities approach to examining the lived experiences of youth in contexts of war, conflict, and disaster. With the aim of moving beyond “victim” narratives, it critically examines three cases of youth engagement in alternative sporting forms in post-earthquakes Christchurch and conflict-torn Afghanistan and Gaza. These are contexts in which youth physical mobilities are highly constrained, yet in each of these cases we also see youth creatively developing an array of strategies and initiatives to help improve their own and others’ health and well-being, for social and physical pleasure, and in some cases to challenge power relations. The three brief cases highlight the multiple and complex layers of transnational mobilities, with the flows of people, objects, and ideas across borders, being negotiated and (re)appropriated by youth in locally specific ways.

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Veronika Honkasalo

This article examines multiculturalism and gender equality in the light of ethnicity, gender, and agency so as to illustrate how gender equality is used as a marker of Finnishness in various youth work contexts. The data presented consists of interviews with youth workers (n=42) and ethnographic fieldwork carried out from 2003 to 2005. The results illustrate that questions related to multiculturalism have enhanced the visibility of gender equality in youth work. The identification of gender-based inequality is connected, in particular, to girls from migrant backgrounds whose education and well-being are of social concern. Youth work itself is often seen as gender-neutral and equality-based. However, this illusion of gender equality reflects more the ideals of equality which are not being concretized in the practices of youth work. Equality in this context is defined as a purely quantitative concept: the solution to any possible inequalities is, therefore, that everyone should be treated in the same way.