Welcome to UP2YOUTH: Youth - actor of social change

Choice Print
A central issue in individualisation is that the individual has the opportunities of choosing. In late modern societies choice in many ways can be seen as the constitutive aspect of becoming an individual. Values and ideology do not govern people, they are expected to choose the values and ideologies, which they prefer.

In a consumer society, however, more and more areas of everyday life are submitted a consumer-choice logic. Obvious consume takes more and more time and energy. The world is formed as a big consumer marked. Also political parties do not any longer represent specific classes or categories of people in society. As other consumer goods they advertise and appeal to the individual to choose their specific brand or ideology. In such a world, more and more individual choices also are formed by consumer logic. And consumer logic means that the choice has changed from a more or less value-formed and reflective choice to a selection among a lot of opportunities or commodities. Therefore the individual process of making choices more and more looks as a process of selection in a supermarket. Democratisation processes therefore are constituted by choices and individuals become individuals by participation in democratic decisions.
As an illustration, the choice process can be seen as including three steps: To focus a commodity ("Oh, they have a reed football"), to place the commodity in a social context ("It could be nice to play with the children") and to include one self in the context ("I am a god football player myself").
The same logic seems to follow individual choices and the development of self-understanding and identity: Young people can talk about themselves, they have become a "commodity", They see themselves among their peers, and they see themselves as special quality in the group.
The modern choice in this way becomes a practical choice influenced by consumer logic. This situation creates a question of expediency according to individual choices. Individual choices are becoming an aspect of a structuration process and therefore dependent on the development of qualifications and individual structuration competencies. (SM)

Antonovsky, Aaron (1993b) Complexity, Conflict, Chaos, Coherence, Coercion and Civility. In: Social Science of Medicine vol. 37: 969-974
Giddens, Anthony (1987) The Constitution of Society. London: Polity Press .
Mørch, Sven (1997) Youth and Activity Theory. In Bynner, J, Chisholm, L & Furlong, A: Youth, Citizenship and Social Change in a European Context. Ashgate: Aldershot.

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Last Updated ( Friday, 23 June 2006 )

Project supported by funding under the European Union's Sixth Research Framework Programme - Coordinated by IRIS e.V.

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