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Means of getting ahead in post-socialist Serbia: Perceptions and preferences of young people

Author(s): Mojić Dušan

Journal: Sociologija
ISSN 0038-0318

Volume: 54;
Issue: 2;
Start page: 303;
Date: 2012;
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Keywords: youth | Serbia | getting ahead

Young people’s perceptions and preferences regarding main channels of upward mobility are very important for integration in every society. After one decade of blocked post-socialist transformation, political changes in 2000 unblocked the process of transformation of Serbian society, raising young people’s expectations of the improvement of their social position. Modernization and democratization of political system, as well as market reforms of the economic system would definitely make this process more probable. These reforms, if carried out properly, would enable the activation of young people and their inclination towards modern and development-oriented ways of advancement in society. Nevertheless, empirical studies in the last ten years in Serbia have constantly shown large discrepancy in youth’s perceived and preferred factors of upward social mobility. Namely, although education and hard work have been emphasized by young people as the main preferred means of getting ahead, wealthy origin and political connections have been, in fact, perceived as the most important factors in this respect in Serbia during the last decade. Political instability, (still) uncompleted reform of political and economic system and economic growth without employment (especially of young people) are the main reasons why half of the young population has had, more or less, a constant wish to leave Serbia forever. The main thesis of this paper is that the above-mentioned discrepancy between preferred and perceived “social order” represents one of the key basis of such a way of thinking of young people in Serbia.
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