Designing the Course of Life or How Do Youth See Their Future?

Designing the Course of Life or How Do Youth See Their Future?

Kisilenko A.V.

Cand. Sci. (Soc.), Associate Prof. Department of sociology and organization of work with youth, Belgorod National Research University, Belgorod, Russia.

Shapovalova I.S.

Dr. Sci. (Soc.), Associate Prof., Head of the Department of sociology and organization of work with youth, Belgorod National Research University, Belgorod, Russia.

ID of the Article:

State task, the Project ”Life Strategies of Youth in the Conditions of the Geopolitical Transformation of the Russian Space (2023–2025)“.

For citation:

Kisilenko A.V., Shapovalova I.S. Designing the Course of Life or How Do Youth See Their Future?. Sotsiologicheskie issledovaniya [Sociological Studies]. 2023. No 2. P. 83-94


The article is based on a representative public opinion survey of citizens aged 14 to 39 years to probe into problems of choosing and realizing life strategies of regional youth. The whole range of young people aspirations, representing their key life goals and achievements are considered as the objects of the prospective life scenario. It is concluded that in the process of self-construction of personal biographies, young people show hybridity of behavioral patterns reflected in declaring contradictory attitudes, blurring of value imperatives when designing a life path for the nearest/distant future. The problem of study lies in contradictions arising the life strategies of young people in the region. For example, regional youth are seriously concerned about the corruption and social injustice issues, but this has little effect on increasing the level of their civic participation, despite the fact that the minds of young people are affected by quite modern models of liberal democracy with its primacy of the value of freedom. At the verbal level, young people recognize the key value of health, perceiving it as a necessary condition for active life, self-realization, and the birth of children, while at the behavioral level it is often ignored; the paradox of such declarations is reinforced by a more than low demand for life expectancy and physical longevity. With their high sociability young people, however, encourage virtualization of interpersonal connections and relationships. Faced with “difficulties of ordinary people” (earnings, housing costs, etc.) and more than modest material reality, as part of a life project, young people naturally choose economic security, for which they are even willing to invest in knowledge and education as most pronounced determinants of life success. Demonstrating exceptional flexibility in adapting to the economic reality, young people do not exclude migration scenarios, as very conditional, but yet an attempt to eliminate the threat of unemployment, career barriers, and low income. Facing clear goals for economic independence, regional youth at the same time sees in work not only a source of well-being, but also a sphere of professional growth and creativity, the demand for which is due to desire for self-determination and selfrealization. Critical reinterpretation of archetypal patterns of family life leads young people to choose a small family with remote responsibility to parents and a mixed role repertoire.

youth; Belgorod region; life goals; life strategies; life choice


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