Students’ Participation in the Socio-Cultural Development of the City: Socio-Cultural Agency Issues (International Research Perspectives)

Students’ Participation in the Socio-Cultural Development of the City:
Socio-Cultural Agency Issues (International Research Perspectives)

Pevnaya M.V.

Dr. Sci. (Sociol.), Head of department, Ural Federal University, Ekaterinburg, Russia

Shuklina E.A.

Dr. Sci. (Soc.), Prof., Ural Federal University, Yekaterinburg, Russia

Cernicova-Buca M.

Ph. D., Assoc. Prof., Politehnica University, Timisoara, Romania

ID of the Article:

The research was supported by RFBR, project № 20-011-00471.

For citation:

Pevnaya M.V., Shuklina E.A., Cernicova-Buca M. Students’ Participation in the Socio-Cultural Development of the City: Socio-Cultural Agency Issues (International Research Perspectives). Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2022. No 5. P. 101-113


The article tackles the issue of youth agency, understood as desire and ability of young people to engage in the socio-cultural development of their cities of choice for pursuing higher education. This contribution tries to clarify factors to be considered in analyzing youth agency in an international perspective. It is based on an internationally conducted survey in 2020, among students in regional centers from Russia, Armenia, Poland and Romania (target sample N = 1272). Across their different socio-cultural backgrounds and context of living and studying, young people share similarities regarding their readiness to get involved in projects of territorial development but also display significant distinctive features to be considered in international comparisons. The cross-country comparison highlighted existence of four models of agency. Russian youth is characterized mainly by an “escapist” model of agency, with a low level of readiness for social participation and a lack of experience in such activities. Two models dominate in Armenia: “active” with a high level of readiness and real involvement, as well as the model of “potential development”. In Poland, the level of social participation among students is much higher than in other countries, but it is predominantly passive. Romanian students demonstrate an actualized “active” model of socio-cultural agency. At the same time, the potential for its development is low. These findings help explain the variations in students’ readiness to participate in urban socio-cultural development projects.

social participation; youth participation; urban development; students; agency; identity


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Content No 5, 2022