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"Digital childhood": the protest potential of schoolchildren (results of a mass survey in the Stavropol region, 2020)

Research Article

Elena V. Brodovskaya Doctor of Political Science
Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation, Moscow, Russia
ORCID ID=0000-0001-5549-8107
Anna Y. Dombrovskaya Doctor of Sociology
Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation, Moscow, Russia
ORCID ID=0000-0002-2015-2349
"Digital childhood": the protest potential of schoolchildren (results of a mass survey in the Stavropol region, 2020).
Vestnik instituta sotziologii. 2022. Vol. 13. No. 1. P. 108-128

The article was prepared based on the results of studies carried out as part of the implementation of the RFBR grant “Childhood in the Digital Space” (No. 20-010-00998 for 2020–2022)

Дата поступления статьи: 17.12.2021
This Article is downloaded: 31 times
Topic: Protest attitudes in the Russian regions

For citation:
Brodovskaya E. V., Dombrovskaya A. Y. "Digital childhood": the protest potential of schoolchildren (results of a mass survey in the Stavropol region, 2020). Vestnik instituta sotziologii. 2022. Vol. 13. No. 1. P. 108-128
DOI: https://doi.org/10.19181/vis.2022.13.1.777


The article deals with the actual problem of mobilising school protests in Russia and around the world. The researchers aim to analyse the protest potential of high school students on the example of one of the regions of Russia - the Stavropol region. The choice of this research case is explained by a number of its characteristics. The Stavropol region is one of the regions targeted by the pressure of external information. It is a subject of the Federation that has signs of a risky nature: a multinational composition, a mono-economy, a significant social distance between strata.

The authors formulate a hypothesis according to which the scale and nature of the influence of digital communications on the choice of protest behaviour strategy to a greater extent depends on the user's place in the informational social media flow and on his value preferences and orientations.

In the process of verifying this scientific assumption, a mass survey by online questionnaire method was conducted among schoolchildren in the Stavropol region aged 15-18 years (April - May 2020, N = 1250 respondents, the sample is representative by gender and territorial affiliation). The key database processing method is K-means clustering (using SPSS Statistics 26.0) on the following grounds: the characteristics of the political behaviour of young people in online and offline spaces and the range of typical and acceptable reactions of young people to messages calling for participation in protests.

The identified four types of carriers of different levels of protest potential among Stavropol high school students: "spectators", "involved", "activists", "leaders", were analysed from the standpoint of their value orientations, their place in the space of social media communication, and the specifics of protest activity.

The main results of the study are empirical evidence of a special value profile of Stavropol high school students who have the highest protest potential: destructive social attitudes and an unformed national-state identity, that are combined with the maximum pragmatism of a life strategy. The authors tend to diagnose the risk level of the presented situation from the standpoint of the great potential of the non-conventional orientation of the protest behaviour of these schoolchildren in the event that their online activity is transferred offline. However, the results of the study showed a discrepancy between the value choices of young "leaders" and "activists" of the protest in comparison with the value preferences of the representatives of the "involved" and "spectators" clusters. This predetermines the low probability of scaling protest headliners among schoolchildren in the Stavropol region.



protest potential, high school students, social media, online formats of protest activity, types of protest potential, hierarchical positions of protesters in social media, protesters' value orientations, mass online survey, cluster analysis

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