Becoming an adult in times of ultra-uncertainty: intergenerational theory of 'shaky' transitions
ULTRAGEN (ultra-uncertainty, ‘shaky’ transitions, generations)
SOURCE OF FINANCING:
The project is financed in the framework of the competition NCN OPUS-19 (project number: 2020/37/B/HS6/01685) OFFICIAL DESCRIPTION OF THE PROJECT
dr hab. Paula Pustułka (Assistant Professor)
dr Agnieszka Kwiatkowska (researcher)
dr Justyna Sarnowska (researcher)
dr Justyna Kajta (researcher)
mgr Jowita Radzińska (scholarship holder)
Events associated with the global Covid-19 pandemic are changing the nature of various social processes, including influencing ways of thinking about pathways to adulthood among young people and their families. Treating the global public health crisis as a backdrop for change, the ULTRAGEN project seeks to learn about the long-term effects of social crises on adulthood in contemporary Poland.
ULTRAGEN’s main research question concerns the lasting effects of societal crises on intergenerational relations, particularly solidarities, in the processes of becoming an adult. We will unpack this question through subsequent, specific research areas, namely:
- What are the key factors shaping the process of transitions to adulthood in the time of ultra-uncertainty?
- What types of social and intergenerational solidarities are born from crises?
- How do younger and older Polish cohorts vary in their attitudes and practices of (non)compliance during unsettling events?
We hypothesize that age/generational affiliation significantly differentiates responses and attitudes related to social crises. In this context, we juxtapose the pandemic experience among young adults (18-35 years old) with the experience of martial law (1981-1983), which was a different type of generational identity-forming crisis. In the ULTRAGEN project, we show that disruptive socio-historical circumstances lead to ‘shaky’ processes of becoming adult, which are marked by alternating accelerations and standstills. The achievement of independence in life usually requires the mutual action of two generations of parents and children, which is why ULTRAGEN aims to show the intergenerational relations and solidarity that accompany the so-called transition/entry into adulthood.
Recruitment continues: PARTICIPATE IN THE STUDY!
We will combine qualitative and quantitative online research methods to develop an intergenerational theory of "shaky transitions." After conducting literature queries and secondary data analysis, we will initiate a qualitative longitudinal study in which we will conduct online individual interviews with 35 young adults and their parents, meeting with them twice over the course of the project (collecting approximately 120 interviews in total). Moreover, we will investigate how changes caused by the pandemic are reflected in social media. We will also conduct an online survey representative for the Polish society. We will address a number of topics related to the pandemic and its impact on intergenerational relationships and transition into adulthood, and integrate data from all components in the final phase of the ULTRAGEN project.
The robust data and interesting results on the impact of social crises on the transition to adulthood will allow us to develop a broader theory of 'shaky' transitions. The fact that the project considers the age variable in the context of historical social unrest will translate into recommendations for public policy. The data collected will make it possible to predict the social reactions of Poles to future crises. An additional ambition of the project is to establish and launch the first qualitative longitudinal data archive in Poland, which will enable long-term use of data collected in the research center Youth Research Lab at the SWPS University.
The ULTRAGEN project focuses on examining the impact of social crises on the process of becoming an adult. By combining qualitative data on the biographical paths of young Poles juxtaposed with those of their parents, as well as social media analysis and survey research, we will gain comprehensive knowledge about the long-term social impact of COVID-19 on values, practices and social relations in contemporary Poland. The inclusion of an intergenerational perspective - especially in terms of solidarity - will allow us to capture the social change happening in front of us. This is essential knowledge in the context of a prolonged pandemic and impending recession, both of which contribute to a pervasive sense of ultra-uncertainty.
– Dr hab. Paula Pustułka, Assistant Professor