Special attention will be paid to communication. The culture of conversation in our country as well as in the entire western hemisphere has experienced massive restrictions in the past decades. Children and young people are confronted with bullying and slander in schools when they express their own views. It seems as if there is a "linguistic restricted area"
(Rainer Mausfeld) that no one is allowed to enter. Transgressions of this prohibition are punished with ostracism and even character assassination. What do young people need to develop the courage to express their opinions, to discuss with people of different opinions and thus grow into mature, self-determined citizens who form a healthy basis for democratic conditions? These are especially in demand in rural regions, where the behaviour of subservience seems to be more pronounced than in urban areas, both for cultural reasons and due to social control measures. In this context, the question is also explored to what extent social and intellectual confinement, village imperialism, the command to obey and the limited opportunities to develop oneself motivate young people to leave their life in the country behind and move to a city in the sense of "city air makes you free". On the other hand, the question will be addressed as to which social framework conditions youths and young people expect/hope for in order to be able to shape a life in the countryside according to their own wishes and ideas. Last but not least, this study will deal with the concrete fears of youths and young people and how these can be countered.
Justification of the need
The term "fit for grandchildren" demonstrates that the issue of sustainability is inextricably linked to youth, future generations and thus to the future. We cannot solve our current problems with the same mindset that created them. New ways of thinking and new approaches are needed to deal with the environmental, social and economic crises. A main thesis of this study is that young people already have new ways of thinking that can be incorporated into new approaches and policy proposals.
Status of the project
In 2022, literature and internet studies analysed how precarious the situation was due to political decisions against the background of the Covid-19 lockdown measures. As in 2021, there were increasing reports of young people in particular being admitted to hospitals and psychiatric wards after suicide attempts or actually taking their own lives. The physical state of health among young people is also alarming. Accordingly, it is assumed that in 2020 as well as in the following years 2021 and 2022, mental and physical illnesses, suicides and suicide attempts will have increased in Austria due to lockdowns and other measures, and that especially adolescents and young people in rural areas will be affected by fear of the future and destabilising conditions.
Qualitative interviews and workshops with adolescents and young people will be conducted to find answers to the variety of questions. In addition, adolescents and young people will be asked to write an essay or blog post about how they fared in the period from mid-March 2020, what difficulties they had to overcome and what support they would wish for under comparable circumstances. In early 2023, workshops are planned with young people, educators and caregivers to look back on their experiences during the lockdowns and other measures to find out how young people in the country can be offered support in coping with the additional burdens caused by social conditions and restrictions.
The results will be used to test the thesis that people generally deal with the conditions of nature in a caring way when they themselves have experienced care. In this way, the issue of sustainability is explored after analysing the social conditions. In deep ecology, the devastating ecological conditions are seen as a consequence of social neglect. Therefore, the approach chosen in this study was to first analyse the social and psychological conditions of adolescents and young people in rural areas before dealing with their attitudes towards ecological conditions and their needs for a rural area worth living in. In this way, the thesis is tested that if parents, educators and policy-makers in rural areas create caring conditions for children and young people to grow up in, they will be more inclined as adults to live in the countryside and to treat the people in their social environment as well as the natural habitat with care.
Project start: 01/2020
Project end: 08/2023
This text has been automatically translated with www.DeepL.com/Translator.