Social work

experience and methods

Youth studies – a specific genre of the empirical paradigm in social sciences

Review

The article presents the situation of youth in contemporary society. Neoliberal economy, ageing society, rapid globalisation, technological changes, increase of social risk have prompted specific, historically unfamiliar, and fairly difficult to forecast social change. Social adaptation and construction of own identity are becoming challenging to youth as a specific social group in this period of great uncertainty, risk, and opportunities. Youth studies are referred to as one of the means to help understand the youth phenomenon and form the respective policy. Aim of the article is to reveal the role of youth studies as a specific interdisciplinary genre of the empirical-analytic paradigm in social sciences.
Research objectives: (1) To identify the traditions of youth studies and differences between them; (2). To reveal the specific character of youth studies as an empirical paradigm in the contemporary context. Analysis of scientific sources and document analysis are used for achievement of the goal and objectives.
Since the 20th century, youth studies have been developing as an independent research discipline and tradition. Perception of the notion of a young person has been changing along with development of the paradigmatic and methodological research traditions. Modernity has doubtlessly contributed to a young person finding his/her place in other age groups and putting an emphasis on the importance of youth as a specific social group. Recently, youth has been viewed as both the risk and the opportunity group. Although qualitative research, in particular, where youth emancipation is aspired, prevails in the contemporary research tradition, the empirical-analytic paradigm has not lost its relevance.
The research has demonstrated that empirical-analytic paradigm is a specific genre of the youth studies characterised by quantitative approach and strong link to politics and practical situation of the phenomenon.
Keywords: young person, social group of youth, research, empiricalanalytic paradigm.

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