Krzhizhanovskogo Street, 24/35, korpus 5, 117218, Moscow, Russia
Tel.: +7 (499) 128-85-19
Fax: +7 (495) 719-07-40
Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences
Due to new demographical and social challenges, such as changes in the ethnic structure of the population of developed countries – Russia included – new familial structures are on the rise, with it being unclear as to where exactly they are going in terms of expansion. The fact that marital and familial relations are undergoing transformation in the 21st century makes it relevant to study students’ attitudes, them being any given country’s progressive group, with the aim of predicting how exactly such institutions as marriage, family and parenthood will develop in the future. This article’s main goal is to describe premarital relationships between youths, tendencies for the development of marital and familial relations, as well as relations between the opposite sexes, as perceived by young people themselves. Conducted were two separate focus groups in Moscow involving male and female students, as well as two more focus groups participated by students of both genders in Stavropol. 20-23 year old students from various ethnic groups and on their third-fourth bachelor course year attending humanitarian and technical colleges were chosen for this study. Discussed were differences in student behavior, double standards in relationships, the appropriateness of cohabitation, motivations for sexual relations, the purpose of legal marriage, the preferred age for marrying, as well as the correlation when it comes to spouses’ social characteristics such as ethnic and religious identity, age, education, profession, parents’ social status, attitudes towards extramarital motherhood, divorce and stepfamilies, views when it comes to the rational distribution of marital and parental roles in young families. At such an early stage it can be said that conservative norms imparted by parents paradoxically go together in the minds of students with softer attitudes towards new private life structuring practices, especially among those students from non-Russian families. Double standards in directing relationships between partners of opposing gender are also shifting. Young women are more inclined towards an egalitarian model, or an egalitarian essentialism model; Russian college youths quite rarely support the moderately conservative model of intensive parenthood, and most of the people who favor this model are young men attending Stavropol colleges. In order to compare the views of Russian youths with young people from other countries, a subsample was formed, consisting of European Social Survey respondents ages 20-23 (ESS, 2016, round 8). It was concluded that Russian youths do not approve homosexual relationships, especially when it comes to such pairs adopting children. They also have a conservative outlook when it comes to advantages for men on the labor market, while their demands towards the government in terms of providing working parents with childcare facilities are not particularly stringent. In the meantime the extent of cohabitation in Russia is quite high even when compared to those European countries which are considered to be the leaders in this respect.
youth, students, families, marriage, cohabitation, homosexual couples, sexual relations, double standards, family forms, social homogamy, spousal roles.
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