On October 21st, Dr. Tinatin Zurabishvili presented information about the CHIEF project to Sociology students of the University of Bologna for their course on the Sociology of Youth (the course is taught by professor Alessandro Martelli). The presentation was focused on the goals of the project, its structure, its research question and research design developed in order to find answers to those research questions.
For Sociology students, learning about sociological perspective while analyzing specific areas of contemporary life provides a very important aspect of their education. Speaking of some of the most vivid examples: We all use various types of the mass media – and the sociology of media helps to understand their social function(s); we all care about being healthy – and the sociology of health helps to see the issues of well being in a more comprehensive way. Similarly, when speaking about the youth, it is very important to help the students see it as a social phenomenon which is closely related to the major social institutions, both affecting those institutions and being affected by them – all of which constitutes the basics of the discipline of the Sociology of Youth.
The main focus of the presentation was a discussion of the possibilities of empirical research of the youth in various countries. Specifically, we discussed the operationalization of the “youth”, comparability of data collected across different social, political and cultural settings, as well as a rather elaborated multimethod approach implemented by the CHIEF project. A previous EC-funded project on youth, MYPLACE, was also discussed. The students were particularly interested in the mechanisms of social and political engagement of young people and, specifically, the “drivers” that might foster such engagement. The questions related to intercultural dialogue, as well tolerance that is expected to be strengthen by openness to other cultures, were also among the ones that attracted students’ attention.