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Global Youth Attitudes Towards Globalization, book summary

 

Because of a lack of research on “the intersection of youth, religion, and globalization,” Princeton Theological Seminary researchers interviewed from 20 to 100 young Christians in each of eight countries (Japan, Russia, Germany, India, Argentina, Paraguay, Ghana and the US). They found that youth in developed countries and religious young people tend to be hopeful about global unity. Young people in developing countries and the non-religious worry about the negative impact of globalization on their job prospects and increasing poverty in their countries. Influenced by postmodern culture of “radical pluralism,” youth tend to value tolerance and openness. As an Argentinean youth said, “We are confronted by different cultures, languages, and a diversity of thoughts. I believe that is good. . . It is OK to consider accepting other people’s values, providing that we use caution and discernment.”

They are also concerned about losing their local culture; a youth from Ghana said, “They should not forget that they have their own culture to learn and practice to become good citizens of their country.” Others adopt “glocalization” maintaining their cultural identity and adapting to Western ideas. Globalization is associated with McDonaldization with American music and film, sports, and junk food. The ambiguity researchers heard young people express is increased by the big differences between how youth and their parents grew up in countries like Russia or in developing countries where youth are more informed by media than their parents were as teens. Also, globalization also leads to cultural clashes such as the French government outlawing signs of religious affiliation like Muslim or Sikh headcovering in schools and clashes with new immigrants. Understandably, some young people are more hopeful than others.

 

Richard Osmer and Kenda Creasy Dean, eds. Youth. Religion and Globalization. Transaction Publishers, 2007.

 

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