Extremism in the youth environment, the reasons for its occurrence, peculiarities of functioning, social and cultural consequences are now scientifically and practically, an urgent problem. In this context, the main causes of radical and extremist attitudes among young people are analyzed, which is associated with socio-economic changes that negatively affect the traditional cultural, spiritual values, customs and traditions of people, giving rise to corresponding contradictions. Aggravating contradictions lead to social, political, ideological, religious conflicts sometimes with tragic consequences. The result of these events, in our opinion, is the emergence of extremist sentiments among young people, often guided by the search for alternative values and heroic plots in the past. The modern integration process is closely linked to the intensification of economic competition in the labor market and the massive impact on the youth of social tension, negative information produced by Internet resources. Often, the actions of young people manifest archaic forms of violence, they openly try to defy modern civilization, the values of liberalism, a mass consumer society. Popular culture also makes an active contribution to the creation and dissemination of radical extremist behavioral patterns among young people. The overall positive socio-psychological attitude, the formation of confidence in the future, the development of self-awareness, including legal awareness, the preservation of the continuity of traditions in society, taking into account innovations, is important for counteracting and preventing extremism. Behavioral attitudes based on traditional moral-humanistic religious values contain significant potential for countering extremist manifestations, rejected at a deep ethnocultural level.
Keywords: Traditionsyouth valuesextremismterrorismdestabilizationsecurity
The challenges of modernity associated with globalization, the introduction of new information technologies, significant sociopolitical, cultural shifts give rise to crisis processes, among which extremism and international terrorism can and should be distinguished, having their own manifestations in various regions of the world. The study of these processes, the identification of various methods, mechanisms of counteraction and prevention - the most important research task that requires appropriate reflection, analytical calculations. In this regard, we can talk about special countercultural determinants, producing various forms of extremism, manifested in the youth environment. Their sources, some researchers suggest looking in a yearning for the traditional patterns of culture, in the world, "disenchanted" science and technology modern people from traditional values, experiencing a state of abandonment.
Nowadays, much attention is paid to the study of extremism among young people, which is largely stimulated by the spread of liberal ideas, multicultural civilization, their negative perception, “clash of civilizations”, which is associated with a complex process of adaptation of a significant number of migrants, mostly from non-European countries. It is among them that extremism, diffuse and terrorism are manifested.
Questions of the radicalization of youth, its protest attitudes, the spread of extremism in its midst are always relevant in modern Russia. The study of the manifestations of extremism among young people in Russia and its regions was paid special attention by domestic researchers: V. Avksentev, V. Akaev, I. Dobaev, V. Gadaev, D. Gadzhiev, Z. Zhade, S. Liausheva, A. Mankiev, A Osmaev, R. Khunagov, V. Chernous, A. Shadzhe and others (as cited in Dobaev, 2002; Gadzhiev, 2011; Mankiev, 2018; Osmaev, 2012; Gadaev, 2014; Khunagov, Liausheva, Shadzhe, & Zhade 2017).
It is important to note that the study of the problem of extremism in the youth environment pays special attention to Akaev, Keligov, and Nanaeva (2018) who periodically conduct sociological surveys among high school students and students of universities and the Chechen Republic in order to find out their attitude to such social deviations as extremism and terrorism.
In the modern global world, stagnation and leveling of the traditional values of the spiritual culture of ethnic groups occur, which are capable of protecting against the threat from outside as well as from within society. At the same time, there are processes of deliberate destabilization of the core of traditional culture, the creation of pseudoscientific problems, heroizing individual historical personalities that are not central (Abdulaeva, 2012). To a certain extent, this negatively affects their way of life, leading them away from the problems of modern reality, determining extremist sentiments among young people who are trying to find an alternative to modernity in the heroic past of the ethnic group of the country.
The subject of the research is the youth as the most socially active part of society, striving to search for its place in the state, its own identity. An analysis of the causes of extremist attitudes among young people is the subject of this publication. Traditional culture encompasses the possibilities of countering extremist and radical manifestations. Mastering and adhering to spiritual values strengthen the mental component of being of people, modern society, and success in this matter will be significant if systemic activities are carried out taking into account reality, minimizing the glorification of individuals and events in modern history. Main research questions are a) to study the main factors determining extremism among young people; b) to reveal the main causes of the destabilization of traditional culture.
Purpose of the Study
The aim of the study is to examine the manifestations of extremism among the youth, as a result of the destabilization of traditional values in the context of the impact of globalization, transforming social and cultural relations. The complex, multifaceted process of globalization in traditional societies proceeds in different ways: universal socio-economic models face specific manifestations in culture, aimed at destabilizing the mental component of a culture, subjecting it to modifications. The youth in the modern world, as the most mobile and energetic part of society, is also a powerful driving mechanism; on the other hand, it is weakened by the fact that the traditional channels of its socialization are interrupted.
During the study, the structural-functional method was applied. It helps to identify relationships in the sociocultural space, structured the phenomena of spiritual culture. In general, the material is presented in a logical sequence, there are methods of generalization, syllogistic methods of processing empirical facts, information.
Young people as the most active part of the population, due to their age and psychological characteristics, are often subject to destabilizing factors. On the one hand, it seeks to reproduce traditional ideas, to aesthetics of the ethnic past, and, on the other hand, it faces a problem when the traditional space of spiritual culture undergoes desacralization. By virtue of their striving to search for identity and new life-affirming meanings, young people selectively recreate traditional ideas that were brightly represented in the heroic images of the past.
In the processes of modern integration, with increasing economic competition in the labor market and the massive impact on young people from new, above all, information technologies, it is important to develop a mechanism for its social, spiritual and cultural protection, the creation of a certain security belt. It is known that some types of deviant and delinquent behavior by young people are acquired through communication with other deviants through the Internet. Spreading in virtual space a complex of ideas aimed at creating a background of hatred on ethnic and religious grounds also remains an important issue (Baidarov, 2012).
In recent years, youth extremism, based on extreme interpretations of the cultural traditions of the past, poses the greatest danger to public order (Dobaev, 2016). It is no coincidence, therefore, that young people show quite an instrumental interest in religion, which is beginning to be perceived and used by them as a resource for legitimizing political violence (Nunuev, 2015).
Desacralization of the culture of modern society is associated with an increase in the reflexivity of the mass consciousness, the creation of prerequisites for greater freedom in the sphere of young people constructing their own socio-cultural identity. In this regard, many young people consciously choose "traditionalism", which often contains various archaic practices of violence, they openly try to challenge modern civilization, standardized by liberal capitalism, a mass consumption society. In turn, mass culture is actively influencing the creation and spread of patterns of extremism, to which young people are sometimes sensitive. Art promoting violence through cinema, referring to the themes of the “walking” dead, vampires, etc., accompanied by the demonstration of rivers of blood and dismembered human bodies, contributes to the erosion of the norms of the forbidden and permitted in the minds of young people.
Young people are often prone to romanticizing extremism and aestheticizing violence, which can pass with age as a result of the accumulation of relevant life experience associated with an awareness of the value of individual life. It should be noted that the young extremist is not just a hooligan, who beats up passers-by people who just didn’t look at him; he is a person who, to some extent, acts from the context of certain countercultural determinants. The latter construct the personality of a young extremist through the prism of the original interpretation of traditional culture, which, for example, can easily distort the principles of patriotism, replacing them with chauvinism and racial hatred, or attract the experience of “cultural trauma”, making it the dominant dissatisfaction factor with all official culture.
Modern young people are in the system of one or another countercultural tradition, which often determines extremist moods and actions. At the same time, discontent and “alienation” of young people from the state, society, and successful individuals is accompanied by a lack of social guarantees, which may well be accompanied by social destabilization factors. This situation is especially pronounced when students are not guaranteed successful work after graduation. Therefore, many young people are “excluded” in many respects from successful development because they are representatives of low-income families (Abdulaeva, 2016).
Dissatisfaction with the results of the division of labor in a capitalist society, its crises becomes a fertile ground for the perception of nationalist ideas (Mankiev, 2018). It should also be noted that a number of researchers identify the causes of radicalism and extremism among young people, the relocation of people from Central Asia with a homogeneous culture, often contradicting local cultural processes. We are talking about large groups of people who violate the ethnic balance in the region in which inter-ethnic conflicts were not observed before (Khunagov et al., 2017). It is clear that the desire to adapt among migrants is absent due to the huge number of communicants with their “own” culture. That is, the initial acculturation process, which would be “natural” in contact with representatives of other cultures, is interrupted at the level of biological adaptation to climate.
Radical predisposed young people need their own doctrine that can provide countercultural legitimization of deviant practices (Osmaev, 2012). Due to the fact that the way to the legalization of extremist behavior is closed, young people are looking for support in countercultural types combining the traditional and charismatic type of legitimation. Hence the desire of young people to rely on the traditions of the past, which was dominated by charismatic leaders and prophets, free from the bureaucratic forms of modern public institutions. Accordingly, this demand increases the interest of young deviants to alternative theories that can justify extremist types of behavior. Moreover, it is not at all necessary that the theory that guides the young extremist necessarily be a system of logically developed concepts or, all the more, claimed the status of a scientifically based and recognized concept.
Thus, the distortion of reliable information is a common phenomenon in the extremist views of young extremists, whose ideology is based on an inadequate understanding of the role of the subject, his place in the social stratification, which they protect from the effects of “outsiders. Therefore, modern young extremists are more focused on pseudoscientific theories (mainly on the most diverse racial concepts) or directly draw inspiration from religious myths.
In modern science, it is customary to explore the socio-economic aspects of extremism among young people, emphasizing that young people become such, above all, because of poverty and lack of adequate education. This approach undoubtedly has a serious factual basis, since socially excluded and frustrated young people are more prone to the manifestation of extremist behavior. A really significant number of young people joining the ranks of, for example, extremist and terrorist organizations hiding behind Islamic slogans did not receive proper religious, secular forms of education; many of them became hostages of the low economic level of development and the high degree of corruption of local officials (Dobaev, 2002). At the same time, the above described approach should not be absolutized, but it should be used in conjunction with other ways of interpreting manifestations of extremism among young people. After all, how can we explain the numerous facts when groups of young extremists are replenished by young men from well-to-do families with a fairly high level of education (Akaev, 2002). It seems incorrect to reduce all types of manifestations of extremism in the youth environment exclusively to latent forms of class struggle.
An important countercultural peculiarity, under which, in our opinion, it is necessary to sum up “youth” extremism, can be characterized as a specific form of “romanticism” characteristic of young and, to a certain extent, creative nature. It is known that Romanticism as a cultural movement (primarily in poetry, philosophy and literature), characteristic, for example, for Germany of the XVIII century, can be considered as a radical reaction to the Enlightenment with its cult of reason and active struggle with medieval superstitions. In romanticism, more irrational, instinctive aspects of the human psyche and behavior are legitimized, the cult of nature is shaped, a glorification of the historical past takes place.
It is interesting that this direction was preceded by a powerful and radical literary movement “Storm and onslaught” (Germю Sturm und Drang), in the works of representatives of which special attention was paid to extreme manifestations of individualism. The representatives of this direction themselves were called the "Stürmer", which can simply be translated into Russian as rebels. Sadly, romanticism also later (already in the twentieth century) becomes the basis of German national socialism with its cult of race and blood, resulting from the re-sacralisation of the natural principle in man. It is important to note that within the framework of romanticism, two archetypical images of a person interconnected at the level of social interaction appeared, which still play a significant role in extremist manifestations of young people (Liausheva, Nekhai, & Khunagov, 2016).
The first of these is the image of a “noble” savage who opposes an “unbridled” and “soulless” civilization. And it is no coincidence that this savage, if he is a man, necessarily possesses a beard as a symbol of belonging to nature. The second is the image of a lonely (often rejected by society outcast) "hero" acting as a carrier of a bright personality, challenging impersonal universality. These romantic images in consciousness can form among themselves various configurations or even merge into one type of “noble” robber.
Thus, it is quite obvious that many extremist groups of young people in the 20th and 21st centuries were and continue to be influenced by the archetypes of romanticism, which could lead to real political extremism. In many youth movements, such as, for example, hippies, the cult of nature and the "Stürmer" revolt against civilization based on the ideals of the mind, was reproduced with maximum precision. Therefore, it is important to keep in mind that various youth extremists from among the so-called “traditionalists” who are rooted to the roots, from neo-Nazis to neo-Islamists, are also in many ways under the archetypal charms of romanticism. This means that the main countercultural determinants of modern youth extremism go back to the patterns of European Romanticism, in which the forms of culture that really existed in the past are often distorted. At the same time, as it used to be a completely legitimate norm, as civilization developed, it began to be perceived as “barbarism”, challenging humanism and the values of science, orienting people to further technological progress.
So, the considered causes of radicalization, extremization of youth lead us to the conclusion that the general socio-psychological mood and degree of confidence in the future among young people, a developed self-awareness and continuity of social, cultural and moral traditions are important. Traditional aspects of behavior have significant potential for countering extremist and terrorist manifestations that cause rejection at the deep ethnic level of culture, since they contradict its essence, orient an adequate behavioral form in the context of modern socio-cultural development.
However, factors and motives may differ in each, depending on the beliefs and context of the activity. The need of the young generation for self-realization is manifested in its behavior, in the course of the realization of its interests. A possible solution to the problem is seen in the observation and preventive elimination of barriers in finding a profession for young people, in their own business, in encouraging young people to work together in social activities and creativity. Summing up, it should be noted that against deviant or aggressive behavior it is necessary to purposefully cultivate moral habits, promote the elimination of social inequality. The formerly traditional rituals performed a number of functions, including the prevention of deviations, the preservation of public health, and joint activities.
In our opinion, globalization, the Internet and other newer media can contribute to the manifestation of the best or worst, sublime or base aspects of human nature. But they are not able to give birth to a new person, that is, a person outside a certain ethnic group and a leading civilization, as well as large ethnic groups whose history and culture have been calculated for thousands of years. (Cassidy, 2002, par. 7)
- Abdulaeva, E. S. (2012). "Psychic" component of spiritual culture. Theory and practice of social development, 12, 33–35.
- Abdulaeva, E. S. (2016). Anthropo-cultural crisis and the transformation of the life values of Chechen youth. Historical, philosophical, political and legal sciences, cultural studies and art history. Questions of theory and practice, 1, 13–15.
- Akaev, V. I. (2002). Slamic Fundamentalism in the Northern Caucasus: Myth or Reality? Central Asia and the Caucasus, 3.
- Akaev, V. Kh., Keligov, M. Yu., & Nanaeva, B. B. (2018). Ethnic identity as a factor in counteracting asocial manifestations in the youth environment. Humanities and socio-economic sciences, 4, 25–34.
- Baidarov, E. U. (2012). The impact of globalization on the culture and human values. Retrieved from: http://www.inspp.ru/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=100&Itemid=11
- Cassidy, F. (2002). Globalization and Cultural Identity. Retrieved from: http: /old.russ.ru/politics/20021223-kes.html
- Dobaev, I. P. (2002). Factors of politicization and radicalization of Islam, the emergence of modern terrorism in the world and in Russia. Russian Federation today, 4, 23–25.
- Dobaev, I. P. (2016). The role and place of Islamic radicalism in the geopolitics of the Caucasus. In the collection: Issues of harmonization of intercultural, interethnic and interfaith relations. Center for the Study of Global Issues of the Present and Regional Problems “The Caucasus. World. Development", South Federal University.
- Gadaev, V. Yu. (2014). Individual and personal beginning in the context of spiritual security of a person. Theory and practice of social development, 6, 21–26.
- Gadzhiev, K. S. (2011). National Identity: A Conceptual Aspect. Questions of philosophy. Retrieved from: http:/ vphil.ru/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=400&Itemid=52
- Khunagov, R. D., Liausheva, S. A., Shadzhe, Z. A., & Zhade, Z. A. (2017). Modern ethnopolitical conflicts in the North Caucasus. Central Asia and the Caucasus, 20, 3.
- Liausheva, S., Nekhay, V., & Khunagov, R. (2016). Shkhachemukova. Sociointegrative potential of the traditional Adyg culture as a factor in overcoming inter-ethnic tensions in the Caucasus in the context of globalization. Central Asia and the Caucasus, 19, 123–132.
- Mankiev, A. A. (2018). Chechens and Chechnya in the plans of religious and political extremism at the turn of the XX–XXI V. In the collection: The mobilization of the ethno-cultural resource as the most important factor in countering extremism and terrorism (рp. 192–207).
- Nunuev, S.-Kh. M. (2015). Risks of politicization of Islamic identity in modern Russia (on the materials of the North Caucasus). Historical and socio-educational thought, 7(2), 63–68.
- Osmaev, A. D. (2012). The Chechen Republic in 1996–2005. Social, political and everyday life in conditions of war and peace. Saarbrucken: LAP LAMBERT Academic Publishing.
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.
About this article
21 January 2020
Print ISBN (optional)
Sociolinguistics, linguistics, semantics, discourse analysis, science, technology, society
Cite this article as:
Abdulaeva*, E., Akaev, V., Vagabova, N., Zagalaeva, Z., Ozdamirova, L., & Umadkereeva, Y. (2020). Destabilization Of Traditional Socio-Cultural Values As A Factor Of Extremism Determination. In D. Karim-Sultanovich Bataev, S. Aidievich Gapurov, A. Dogievich Osmaev, V. Khumaidovich Akaev, L. Musaevna Idigova, M. Rukmanovich Ovhadov, A. Ruslanovich Salgiriev, & M. Muslamovna Betilmerzaeva (Eds.), Social and Cultural Transformations in the Context of Modern Globalism, vol 76. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 9-15). Future Academy. https://doi.org/10.15405/epsbs.2019.12.04.2