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Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences
The article describes and analyzes the risks that accompany the coming of age process. These risks are caused by the systemic dysfunction of the key institutions that should ensure and control a person’s social integration; namely, the family, the school, the law, and the culture. Our theoretic assumptions are juxtaposed with substantial amounts of empiric data. We consider the various possible ways of escaping the current education crisis. The social realia of the past few decades have been characterized by the expansion of various deviations, both in scope and variety, and on various levels, from the level of social institutions to the level of community and personal mentality. We are witnessing a profound crisis of social control institutions and social regulators overall. The primary agents and tools of social control are losing their ability to regulate society properly. The article presents the analysis of those coming of age risks that stem from the disruption of traditional adult-child relationship (based on both affection and subordination) and from the erosion of cultural ideals. We distinguish family-related and school-related risks, as well as the rise of loneliness among teenagers. The largest group of risks comes from the inversion of norms in popular art, which, in turn, is the result of cultural ideals becoming compromised. We outline a generalized sociological profile of the typical Russian teenager. Overall, his or her morals are decidedly hedonistic, which is, to a substantial extent, a reflection of deformed morality and mentality. Our study allows us to conclude that youth communities are dominated by the consumer subculture. Its typical features include passive hedonism, laziness, and lack of true passion and willpower. People of this type, unlike members of other subcultures, do not come together in more or less clearly defined smaller groups, instead diffusing themselves into society. As an answer to the ever-burning question, “What are we to do?”, we urge our reader to remember the historic mission of the intelligentsia: the reproduction of meaning in life. Top priority should be given to art, with its ability to appeal to the mind through the heart. Reviving the true virtues and values — such is the challenge that the Russian intelligentsia, the creators of socially impactful art in particular, should rise up to.
Risks of a growing, deviant behavior of teenagers, crisis of social regulators, mass art, intellectuals mission