Youth studies

One of the smaller sub-fields within sociology is "youth studies." This strikes me as an intriguing area of research, and it seems as though the possible questions for inquiry here have only begun to be tapped. Youth issues have come up in earlier posts, including disaffected youth (link), engaged youth (link), and the problem of …

Knowing the population

At any given time there are huge areas of the unknown when it comes to the question, what do various members of our society care about? We have opinion research tools, of course. But we don't really have good answers to any of these questions: How do West Bloomfield teenagers think about their futures? Why …

The dropout crisis

The United States faces a huge dropout crisis. In some cities the high school graduation rate is less than 50% -- sometimes as low as 25%. And this means devastating poverty for the dropouts, as well as continuing social blight for their communities. We might say, though, that the graduation rate is only the symptom …

Civic engagement and formative institutions

A disposition towards civic engagement and community service seems to be a very fundamental component of social psychology that differs significantly across cohorts and populations.  But the frequency of this motivation across the population is also surely a key component of the health of social order.  One would hypothesize that this is an aspect of …

Engaged youth

A while ago I posted on the subject of "disaffected youth". I don't have a basis for estimating the percentage of the youth population that falls in this category, but surely it's a fairly small number in most places. Here I want to focus on the other end of the spectrum -- the relatively small …

Disaffected youth

Every city seems to have its floating population of disaffected youth -- school dropouts, occasional workers, drug users, skateboarders, hooligans, street people. How much of a problem is this? What are its dimensions? What are the social causes that influence the size and nature of this population in Detroit, Manchester, Cologne, or Novosibirsk? And are …

China’s cultural revolution

What is involved in understanding China's Cultural Revolution? The question comes to mind for several reasons -- but most vividly because of a recent interview in France in the le nouvel Observateur with Song Yongyi. Song's personal itinerary is historic -- he was a "rebel Red Guard" in 1967, a political prisoner in China from …

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