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Federal Center of Theoretical and Applied Sociology of the Russian Academy of Sciences
The social security threats faced by Russia include social conflicts among the youth, where a sense of problematic identity is becoming increasingly prevalent. The article analyzes the attitude and life evaluation dynamics among students from Nizhniy Novgorod. Building upon the findings of this analysis, we review the social security threats that are emerging in the student community. Apart from interacting with all the elements of a society’s existence, the social security system also contributes to ensuring that it functions sustainably. The need for feeling secure, as expressed by society, communities, and individuals, is met by institutionalizing certain values, social roles, norms, and sanctions, which make up the society’s culture. Russian society is still transitional and has very vague prospects for the future, which makes it highly important to consider the link between “social security” as a sociological concept, on the one hand, and the changes in the system of values and morals, on the other hand. These changes are especially salient among the younger generation, as shifts in the objective living environment restrain the process of finding one’s place in society, thus creating problematic identities in various youth communities. These processes can become especially painful in the student community, as the melting pot of different cultures that is academia confuses the young as they struggle to find their place not only in the “here and now”, but also in the “then”, i.e. in the past or in the foreseeable future. The results derived from our study allow us to conclude that the students’ minimal experience of social interaction, along with the changes in their education institutions and in society overall, make it highly unlikely that, upon graduating, the new generation will help ease social tension. On the contrary, we have reasons to believe that the student community has certain latent tensions that can take form of unmotivated confrontations and behaviors that are, to a certain extent, influenced by radical, extremist viewpoints. As the discrepancy between the students’ high hopes and the evidently shrinking range of their actual opportunities becomes more and more prominent, this will inevitably lead to greater dissatisfaction and even protest, which, in turn, may very easily transform into uncontrollable and unpredictable behavioral responses.
social security, social conflict, problem identity.
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