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International conference: Blackbox Youth. New Perspectives on East-European Youth Cultures

02.11.2012 - 04.11.2012


The youth are in great demand, for they symbolize the future of society, and that future is constantly up for debate. The political potential of young people became apparent once again during the revolutions in the Arab world and the latest protests in Russia, all of which were significantly shaped by young activists. As a result, we are witnessing a repeat of the scenario familiar from the uprisings that occurred throughout Eastern Europe during the last decade. The so called “colour revolutions” led to a debate about the social-political role of young people. The trajectory of the discussion reveals both a social need to project collective wishes onto youth activism and societies’ obvious helplessness when it comes to critically reflecting on the disappointment stemming from the exaggerated expectations. The conference aims to initiate an unbiased discussion of quintessential developments, results and discourses that are central to the youth cultures in Eastern European countries.


Friday, November 2nd                                                                                                                                                                                           

09:30-10:00 Opening: Matthias Schwartz, Heike Winkel (Berlin)
Section 1: The Redefinition of the Political (Moderation: Heike Winkel)


  • Keynote Speaker: Ken Roberts (Liverpool): Youth Cultures and the Formation of a New Political Generation in Eastern Europe
11:00-11:30 Coffee break


  • Félix Krawatzek (Oxford): Youth Mobilisation in its Relation to Politics. Comparing Perestroika and the Putin / Medvedev Era
  • Anna Zhelnina (St. Petersburg): “Young Politics”? The Emergence of the Social Network of Young Politicians in St. Petersburg, Russia
  • Tom Junes (Vienna): No More Politics? 1989 and the End of the 'Classical' Student Movement in Poland
13:30-15:00 Lunch break
Section 2: The Revision of the Social I: New Types of Belonging (Moderation: Stefan Kirmse)


  • Herwig Reiter, Christine Steiner (Berlin): Two Different Countries, two Different Pathways to Capitalism – one New Youth?

  • Maciej Bernasiewicz (Katowice): Worldview Discourses in Polish Magazines for Young People and Hip-Hop Music

  • Vlad Strukov (Leeds): ‘Optimistic’ Youth: Media Environment, Politics of Space and Construction of Identity

17:00-17:30 Coffee break
  The Revision of the Social II: New Media Techniques (Moderation: Tom Junes)


  • Patryk Wasiak (Wassenaar): 'Video-Fans' and 'Computer Bosses'. Consumer Electronics ad Youth Identities in the Late State-socialist Poland
  • Sabina-Adina Luca, Bogdan Gheorghita and Dragos Dragoman (Sibiu): Young People in Romania. How 'New Media' Shape Social Communication and Political Activism


Saturday, November 3rd                                                                                                                                                                                           

Section 3: Rethinking Youth I: Beyond Generation (Moderation: José Alaniz)


  • Keynote Speaker: Hilary Pilkington (Manchester): Punk – but not as we know it: Rethinking Youth Culture from a Post-Socialist Perspective


  • Stefan B. Kirmse (Berlin): How far does 'Eastern Europe' go? Experiences of Youth in Central Asia
  • Alfrun Kliems (Leipzig/Berlin): Old young men. Popculture and its Aging Protagonists
12:30-14:00 Lunch break
  Rethinking Youth II: Post-Socialist Subjectivities (Moderation: Hilary Pilkington)


  • Gleb Tsipursky (Newark, Ohio): Youth Communal Policing: Public Discourse and Volunteer Militias in Post-Soviet Russia

  • José Alaniz (Seattle): Colorful Pictures: 'Respect' Comics and Russian Youth

  • Matthias Schwartz (Berlin): Everything Feels Bad: Figurations of the Self in Young Post-Socialist Literature

16:00-16:30 Coffee break
Section 4: The Transformation of the Imaginary I: Constructing Identity Patterns (Moderation: Matteo Colombi, GWZO Leipzig)


  • Yaryna Borenko (Lviv): Concepts of Patriotism within Education and Youth Policies in Ukraine
  • Jovana Papović, Astrea Pejović (Belgrade): Nationalist Iconography of the Nineties in Contemporary Youth Discourse in Serbia
  • Robert Pruszczyński (Warschau): Masculinity without a Rebel, a Rebel without a Masculinity. Polish Cinema, Youths and National Stereotypes (Żamojda, Żuławski)


Sunday, November 4th                                                                                                                                                                                           

Section 4: The Transformation of the Imaginary II: Appropriating and Subverting Identity Patterns (Moderation: Matthias Schwartz)


  • Catriona Kelly (Oxford): The End of Childhood and/or the Discovery of the Tineidzher? Reflections on Age Boundaries and Boundaries in Chronology
  • Matthias Meindl (Zürich): The Fight of/for the Youth: Russian Youth Movements and their Representation in Contemporary Russian Literature
11:20-11:40 Coffee break


  • Anna Oravcová (Prague): Czech Hip-Hop Undergroud

  • Heike Winkel (Berlin): Loners and Gangs. Communality in Contemporary Eastern European Literature

13:00-14:00 Concluding discussion






The conference is funded by the Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)Institute for East-European Studies at Freie Universität BerlinBundesministerium für Bildung und Forschung (BMBF)Geisteswissenschaftliches Zentrum Geschichte und Kultur Ostmitteleuropas in Leipzig (GWZO) and the Heinrich Böll Stiftung.


For further information and to register please contact the organizers per mail. 

Constanze Aka, Georg Dickmann, Roman Kowert, Eva Murašov, Georg Smirnov

Zeit & Ort

02.11.2012 - 04.11.2012

Freie Universität Berlin, Rostlaube, Room KL 32/202