09 July, 2011

PhD candidate "explores" youth attitudes

Economics doctorate student from the University of KwaZulu Natal, Gerard Boyce, hosts a talk on youth attitudes based on a research done by the South African Social Attitudes Survey.  This debate provoking presentation was held as part of the Think!Fest initiative. The presentation explored youth attitudes with regards to their nationality identity, democracy, life satisfaction, governance and popular myths growing amongst the youth.
For my part, the statistics presented were too general and did not account for individualism amongst the youth. Young people were often packaged as being a homogenous group that share the same views only marked by race. This is not the case. Though racial differences do mark a difference but it is more culture and class, which are determinant factors of the ways of living, than race that truly shape our views and lives. The stats failed to account for that. The stats brought forward for the most part were a study about the youth without the youth. This is a true reflection of society of how frequently the better privilege speaks for the less privilege. Men usually speak for women, physically-able speak for the disabled; whites speak for the blacks and in this case old people speaking for the youth.
Young people are often presented as being disinterested and unconcerned. He mentioned that 1976 is used as a benchmark to compare the born-frees to the young that took up to the street for the Soweto Uprising. This is an unfair comparison as the challenges faced by the 1976 youth and the contemporary youth differs markedly. Overall, the presentation was sloppy but did provoke a lot of debate and was largely questioned. 


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