Civic Activists and Exiters

Late Modern Motivations of Public Participation Among Hungarian Secondary School Students

Recent years have brought a fundamental change in coping with community life, as well as in civic action. Th is shift made us rethink our original theories on communal and public participation. Today the individual is no longer a subordinate member of any given community. The relation to a community has become much more individualistic than before. A hift can be noticed in the motivations of individual action. Action is shaped more by the balance between communal and individual motivations rather than the sheer predominance of the communal motivations. In parallel with this shift, the traditional motivations for communal participation are replaced by a much wider spectrum of motivations, that have not or have only partially existed previously. All of these changes can be interpreted as a response to the specific challenges fuelled by late modernity. Naturally, all members of the society face these challenges, however, young people are undoubtedly more exposed to the pressure of modernization. Thus not surprisingly, they are the primary drivers of change. This article, within the context of late modernity theories, tracks the new motivations behind action and civic action. How these characteristics manifest themselves among Hungarian youth is proved in the analysis of semi-structured interviews carried out with two groups of secondary school students. Eventually the phenomena discussed in the analysis are summarized and interpreted.

Released: Replika 108–109, 61–78.