Improving Future(s). Youth Imagery as Representations of the Political Cultures in Sweden and Poland

Berliner Wissenschafts-Verlag, Nordeuropäische Studien 25. Berlin 2014.

Societies build images in order to define membership, to communicate values and norms, to appoint scopes of action and in order to place themselves in the interrelation between history, presence and future. Images of youth are a projection screen which portrays the desirable future development of a sociey and political culture. 

The thesis explores youth images of two societies before and amid a period of social change. Until 1989 Sweden and Poland represented two very different social systems, with distinct historical ties, present conditions and visionary goals. Those are reconstructed and analysed through the lense of the dominating youth images of both countries – on the basis of documents as well as cultural works and expressions, which are embedded in the respective courses of history.

Despite the different structures and conditions of their existence, the youth images of Poland and Sweden and their related projections of future accomplish the same function. Both serve as an insurance for the continuation or renewal of the existence of their political cultures beyond the life span of a generation.