Pregled bibliografske jedinice broj: 113168
The Interests and Leisure Time of Youth
The Interests and Leisure Time of Youth // Youth and Transition in Croatia / Ilišin, Vlasta ; Radin, Furio (ur.).
Zagreb: IDIZ, DZZOMM, 2002. str. 269-300
The Interests and Leisure Time of Youth
Vrsta, podvrsta i kategorija rada
Poglavlja u knjigama, znanstveni
Youth and Transition in Croatia
Ilišin, Vlasta ; Radin, Furio
Youth, interests, leisure time
The investigation of the interests and leisure of youth enabled an insight into some important characteristics of their everyday life, their preoccupations and behavior. The results obtained for the most part do not deviate from the findings known from earlier research into the Croatian youth. The comparison of results from 1986 and 1999 showed that changes noticeably engulfed the distribution of interests and activities in the youth's leisure time, in the manner that the interest for most of the observed phenomena grew, and the participation in most compared activities decreased. This discrepancy shows that today's generation of young people cannot be spoken of as lethargic, but more as an impelled passive and impoverished generation. This increase of interest and a simultaneous decrease of participation point to the frustration of the young when trying to dedicate themselves to what they care for in their free time, and this must be related with the general fall in the living standard of the Croatian population. The deprivation from participating in the desired activities must surely increase the interest in certain phenomena that are closely related to those activities. In other words, the harder some interests become to satisfy, the more important they become. On the other hand, minor changes occurred in the hierarchy of the interests analyzed, as well as in the structuring of the phenomena observed. Even though crucial changes took place in the past decade, the relative stability of the interest orientation and lifestyle structure is not surprising, because we are dealing with phenomena that are not as dictated by the socio-political and the socio-economic framework as much as by the total civilization and socio-cultural determinants. A recapitulation of the results obtained can in short be reduced to the fact that the modern generation of Croatian young people is primarily interested in phenomena undoubtedly belonging to the sphere of privacy (friendships and acquaintances, fun and entertainment, sex and love, travel) while at the same time, the interest in the public sphere and the so-called great ideological issues (politics, the army, nation) is even smaller than it was earlier, when it was already on a low level. Analogous to the absence of changes in interest orientations, there are no significant shifts in the patterns of spending leisure time either: the most common cultural pattern is still the urban one (going to cafes and disco-clubs, companionship, parties, idling and going to concerts), while the real polarization is the one between those advocating the elite and the rural cultural pattern. It follows that the dominant function of leisure is still fun and entertainment, while activities potentially contributing to personality development are in the background. The interest orientations and patterns of spending free time of the young coincide to a degree, both by content and the social profile by the young, who recognize themselves best in certain orientations and lifestyles. Thus, on the one hand we can align the cognitive, and in good part the sociable interest orientation with the elite and urban cultural patterns, while on the other hand are the traditionalistic and competitive interest orientations and the rural cultural pattern of spending free time. The first group of orientations and patterns addressed is primarily preferred by the so-called socially more competent youth, that is, the young of higher social origin and better education (mostly the students) who were socialized in urban environments. As their opposing pole there are the young of lower social origin who finished their schooling by obtaining qualifications for some physical or craft occupation and who are tied to the rural milieu ; those are also the ones who recognize themselves better in the traditionalistic interest orientation and the rural cultural pattern. Seen from the aspect of dynamics and the social attributes of the participants, we can assume that during their lifetime most of the young, best recognized in the sociable interest orientation and the urban cultural pattern, will become partial to the cognitive interest orientation and the elite cultural pattern, but the question remains - which new qualities will they bring to that orientation and that pattern and which changes will that cause? We need to add to this that the preoccupation with the media, music, sports and communal work are specific interests in the leisure time conditioned by some specific characteristics of the young. Their narrow profiling and the relative homogeneity of the participants do not point to recognizable lifestyles. When the declared interest and activities in leisure are observed integrally we can see which attributes discriminate the young the most. The most influential ones are, certainly, the socio-professional and the educational status of the participants, the level of education of the father and the residential status. The combination of these attributes without a doubt points to the dominant influence of the socialization agents and processes. This practically means that a better social origin is not only one of the most reliable guarantees of higher educational achievements and higher social status but also dictates by far the lifestyle of the young outside their everyday obligations. Of course, the chances of the young from a lower social milieu to achieve better social positions and live with a lifestyle of higher quality later in life are not lost, but past insights about this testify that the social differences are visible on all planes and that the social advantages or inhibitions of youth are considerably perpetuated throughout their entire lives. Hence it is difficult to expect today's young, who prefer traditionalistic values and the rural pattern of spending leisure time, to reorient later on to the cognitive orientation and urban content and forms of leisure. A somewhat weaker, but still significant discriminating power belongs to the other attributes of the participants observed: gender and regional status, religious self-identification, and age and marital status. The influence of gender is significant for it indicates two trends: the viability of differences in some affinities of young women and men, as well as a retreat of traditional gender inequalities in the domain of everyday life observed here. Of course, this retreat is questionable because this is a young population that mostly have not started creating their own family, so the possible contested traditional concept of gender roles could only be competently addressed when the life circumstances of today's youth change, and when they are able to function in a suitable manner, where there are indications that the greater burden of family obligations will fall to the young women (Leinert Novosel, 1999). But, if we assume that the young women today will, to a certain degree, retreat from the newly conquered spaces of freedom, after becoming wives and mothers, it is also possible to presume that they will not do so in a completely radical form, and that they will also try to raise their descendents in the spirit of their own, more modern lifestyles. The influence of the regional status is indicative because Zagreb, Istria and Primorje are clearly different from Eastern and Northern Croatia, which points to a polarization between the developed and urban regions, on the one, and the relatively undeveloped and rural regions on the other hand. The religious self-identification of the young acts in an expected direction, because the religious young people recognize themselves better in traditionalism and rural forms of leisure. It follows that religious convictions have a certain influence on the creation of one's lifestyle, but not to the extent to enable a discussion about the all-permeating influence of religion. Indeed, the correlation of religious self-identification with certain social circumstances (lower origin and education, rural environment) suggests that we are mostly dealing with the influence of specific socio-cultural factors of the traditionalist provenience than with religious convictions in the narrow sense. The influence of marital status as a situational circumstance is to a large degree related to life roles and the participants' ages. Specifically, marital status has shown to be a restrictive attribute that limits the participation of youth in those activities engaged in outside the home and that redirects the sociable interests toward traditionalistic values. The established influence of marital status is not surprising, because two thirds of the married participants have children too, and this life circumstance considerably changes both priorities and the available free time. Finally, the quite weak influence of the participants' age points to two things. First, it seems that the interest structure and the patterns of spending leisure time are created in the early adolescent age and that they are not susceptible to significant changes during the youth years. Second, those interests and activities, whose almost exclusive function is companionship and fun, mostly outside the (parental) home, are susceptible to change. It is obvious that by coming of age one gains noticeably more freedom to dispose of one's free time and to choose activities, which is later reduced due to the changed living circumstances when one starts working and creates a family. Hence the sociable interest orientation and the urban cultural pattern can be observed as "typically" youthful preoccupations, which are abandoned considerably with the integration into the world of adults. This does not mean that all the companionships and entertainment disappear, but it seems that as a style of living and thinking they become pushed into the background with the entrance into the more mature phase of life, as with older people. Unlike the interest orientations and patterns of spending leisure time, age - along with the socio-professional status and participant's education - plays one of the key roles regarding the young people's inclination to use different drugs and stimuli. It is interesting that the young are most susceptible to try and use narcotics, psycho-pharmatics, alcohol and tobacco between the ages of 20 and 24, and when they have a high school education and are in college. It is obvious that this is exactly the group of the young that advocates the sociable interest orientation and the urban cultural pattern of spending leisure time, which is why we could analogously assume that after leaving that age group and life circumstances, a significant part of the young will stop experimenting and using different psycho-active substances. But, the fact remains that in the past ten to fifteen years there has been an increase in the abuse of all the stimuli observed, which is the result of the specific socio-historical circumstances Croatia has found itself in, as well as the result of modernization and globalization that are necessarily accompanied by undesirable phenomena.