In October, Berlin presented the results of a study of the opinions, values, social relations, habits and customs of youth in Germany, which has been commissioned by the Shell fuel company since 1953. That's what it is called: Shell Jugendstudie. The current one is already the eighteenth in a row. It is believed that this is the most convincing and comprehensive conclusion about the condition of this age group, recognized by experts as the basis for further research. The main tool is surveys of representatives of relevant age categories. The current survey was conducted in the first quarter of 2019.
According to its results, more than two-thirds of young people are convinced that censorship in Germany restricts freedom of opinion. So, you can’t say anything out loud about foreigners. Those who allow themselves this are immediately accused of racism. 57% consider the reception of refugees a positive factor for Germany, but one in five does not want to live with them in the neighborhood. More than half believe that the government is hiding the truth from the people. What is the truth about? This is the second question. The main thing is that young people consider the government to be false. One in three is convinced that modern German society is Islamized.
Most media commented on this as a sign of deepening infantilism, socio-political under-education of adolescents, boys and girls. Which, however, does not at all fit with the mass participation in Friday’s strikes to save the climate (“Fridays for Future”, FFF). The country has more than one hundred and fifty groups organizing such actions. In their composition are the students themselves. In one of the first strikes, back in February, about 30 thousand people took part. In the fall, the number of striking "objects" - schools - exceeded five hundred.
There is no consensus among parents and the older generation in general about the movement that began with solitary pickets by Swedish schoolgirl Greta Tunberg in August - September 2018. Some believe this is a legitimized form of abandonment from school. Others are convinced that the “strike” activity of schoolchildren can influence politics and lead to the adoption of more harmonious laws on climate protection. Moreover, the proportion of adult supporters is increasing. According to the Politbarometer (a ZDF TV channel program that tracks political trends in refracting public opinion), back in April, the percentage of FFF supporters did not exceed 37%, while after three months it increased to 51%.
It turns out, moreover, that many participants in the Friday strike are involved in refugee reception and integration projects. That is, nothing, about anything, but there is no need to speak about intolerance about infantilism, “faith in nothing”.
But numbers are a stubborn thing. The proportion of nihilistically inclined young people “suffering” due to a government plot subject to xenophobia is increasing. As if two completely independent youth strata had formed in the country - active and passive, motivated and drowning in unbelief, inter- and simply nationalistic.
One of the authors of the study, professor at the Hertie School of Management in Berlin, Klaus Hurrellman, says: “The stratification is due to the activation of populist parties that play on latent fears of young people, on their age-related nihilism and intolerance towards people unlike them. "In the shadow of engaged youth, the number of those who are imbued with opposing sentiments, who believe that the political elite ignores them, deceives, manipulates them, that there is no truth other than lies, is growing."
The growth process, I must say, is ambiguous. It would seem that the more shadow aspirations, the more blurred should be the proportion of those who are in the world - engaged, positively thinking, optimistic. Some evidence points to this. For example, the percentage of those interested in politics has decreased in comparison with the previous study, which was conducted in 2015 (45 and 47%, respectively). But the share of those who consider important their own participation in politics has increased (34 and 33%). In addition, part of the politically engaged youth has grown significantly compared to 2006. Moreover, those who consider important their own participation, has almost doubled.
Do you look into your own future with optimism or fear? The answers to this question show that there are also less optimists compared to 2015 - but noticeably more than thirteen years ago.
2015 looks like a watershed for a reason. It was then that Europe and Germany were swept by a wave of refugees, fueled by distrust of the government (which opened the door for "strangers"), and political indifference, and various, including deep-seated fears.
The nature of fears is perhaps the central element of research. And he also reveals a motley, ambiguous picture. Thus, the fear of conflicts caused by a hostile attitude towards foreigners is significantly inferior to the fear of a climate catastrophe. Fear of terrorism, although to a lesser extent, is “behind” the fear of environmental pollution. Fear of a war in Europe is one of the least significant.
The family is the unit of society and, therefore, the foundation of social harmony. Oddly enough, over the past decade and a half (since 2002), family harmony has strengthened, which gives hope for strengthening social harmony. More than 40% of today's young people admitted that they maintain excellent relations with their parents (one third more than in 2002).