By analysing the papers presented during the VI World Youth Forum Right to Dialogue on Global/City, the essay investigates some "master-words" of youth culture comparing the categories of youth culture with traditional categories of normalised scientific paradigms. Relevant topics: 1) Artistic craftmanship; 2) The revolution of the Memory and the public sphere; 3) Culture-citizenship; Global Space/Global time. At the end the essay addresses methodological issues regarding cultural history and the analysis of youth culture.Quoting from thre last paragraph: “For a historian it is powerful the temptation to draw with resolute hand a subtle line straight and cuttinglike the time, connecting the few points crystallized in the memory of the archives. But is time this arrow that strikes or the river that winds?”.( “Leonardo and Machiavelli. Crossed lives” by Patrick Boucheron). Boucheron uses variegated archives materials cross-checking them to reconstruct, and sometimes to figure out, the words, the languages, the practices that may have led the two towering men of a seminal age of modern European culture (beloved topic of the historian of culture) to dialogue, so becoming well-aware actors of that new making of the City that was “technical” and “handcrafted”, whereas the system of sciences, in which techniques and arts still could be cooperating or even overlap one another in the framework of practical philosophy, was anyway changing. But, Boucheron adds, “the fragments of history are not waiting to be put together by that wise and a bit sad boy, patient and lonely boy who keeps alive in the soul of any historian; it is not a mosaic since nothing proves that what is now in pieces once was a whole, that those isolated words come from the same sentence, that those fragments tore off the same rock in a unique twine. It is not a mosaic but perhaps a ford to cross to follow the course of a common anxiety”. Gradually as writing this essay (and perhaps gradually as it will be read) methodological problems similar to those pointed out by Boucheron emerged with increasing force, that were not neglected at the beginning of this work, and rather the answer to them, or their possible restatement, were searched precisely as developing in the analysis. If the methodological matter is usually epitomized in a certain number of questions – what is the object of our research? With which categories do we construct it? According to what sources and what chronology do we reconstruct it, and with what localisation and contextualisation? – the key question for a historian is the one regarding the gaps, the puzzle that does not exist, the doubts he\she is ready to reveal while presenting the results, the anomalies that his\her texts may let rise in respect to that very frame he\she built by his\her method and he\she expected to be in conditions of properly fit into it. Precisely about this aspect and about the methodological choice made of “suspension” of the method, I will pay later on little attention76. Object: “The global and the city”. In this way the title of the essay sounds, and freely echoes the title of the Forum, whose texts resulted its main analytical reference.The mention of “youth culture”, with the shortcomings in defining it well known to historian and sociologists77, does not appear in the title, even if the link with the Forum may suggest that. Why does it not appear? What really did we do by re-reading the texts delivered to the Forum by young people remote one another, from different Countries (and continents) of the world, age – the large range was between 18 and 30 years, with an average around 20-25 – cultures, languages? Two things joined the young people participating to the Forum: the fact of being there, intentionally, as they responded to the call sending a paper, and the fact of being those whom – setting already a new historical and methodological issue - we could call the “global young”: young people who travel, speak different languages, maybe not correctly but always confident to be eventually understood, they dare to think, they do not repudiate their own culture of origin, sometimes following the identity path appointed to them, sometimes raising questions on “culture” and on “identity”, as we saw, that unhinge codified ways to feel and to think. What “youth culture” could we look for in the texts examined if not this general call into question of the “culture”? The latter is bequeathed to us, with all uncertainties and intuitions of a way of self-asserting that, unlike the scientific way, it seldom makes reference to sources and texts, manifestly elaborating ideas, concepts, materials of reading, experience and life according to needs of representation that nourish the argument, regardless most of the times of the distinctions of the branches of knowledge so necessary to research and its method. But it is clear that if we wanted for example to employ the scientific category of “culture” to define our object of research in the easy formula of “youth culture” we should admit that the “object” breaks into pieces as the same category is used by “this” youth culture with different, movable, not codified contents and functions. Such discourse here expressed about “culture” could be repeated about several other topics emerged in the analysis. But we want to insist on the doubts and difficulties of the method. The “puzzle”: the historian, in particular the historian of culture already aware of such problematic character of “culture” that also these “young” texts push him\her to consider, cannot avoid to address the task of drawing the whole picture, by sketching lines and trajectory (also temporal ones) as he\she puts the tiles together, traces forms that fit one another, nuances of the same sign, background analogies. Above we spoke about a general call into question of scientific categories within a discourse that comes from a “culture” and impacts on culture. Sure: “general” appears the call into question, but through different sides, the forms that fit, the nuances of the same sign, the background analogies that have been stubbornly detected including the “trajectory of time”: in other terms by taking in account a paradigm that impacts on modernity from which the models, the requests and the methods of research come and from which come the young people that are bearers (we are tempted to say holder, as we are holders of a right) of this “young culture” about which we are dealing here. The young participants to the Forum do not constitute a “sample” by any means, as it would require homogenous qualifications and reference framework. We mentioned the overall not homogeneity of the group (quite large) of people who participated. Also the call to which they responded was written with the purpose to leave a complete freedom of structuring the paper from the most different points of view without any restriction concerning branches of knowledge. The essay, moreover, made some albeit quick reference to works presented to previous Forums; it is part of a process of “historical-cultural” inquiry through the texts produced by young people who participated year after year. This aspect should have been treated more in depth (and it will). But it compels to face a further methodological problem. To stretch along a long time span of some years a set on questions that are re-proposed to different young people in different forms and yet regard similar issues and come from a general research paradigm, to value the answers given year after year by individuals still involved in their intellectual, moral and existential maturation – particularly delicate element if we consider that this very same phase could cover different ages in countries culturally different – , to do all that is like to raise questions from a culture in transition to a culture in transition, or, we could add, from an identity in transition to an identity in transition. At this point it would suffice to think again to what it was said to us and to what we later said about the “global time” that, in our opinion, is a remarkable aspect in the general framework developed, to be instantly brought back to the results gathered by surveys that employ completely different methods, deal with basically homogenous spaces, times and subjects through specific questions. At this point we wonder: what does “young” mean in the wording “youth culture” or “young identity” which we perhaps could or should keep to use?Would it be legitimate to deny “culture” and “identity” that it represents to us the quality of “young”? And would it be legitimate to give definitely away the representation of it as a form of “culture” having a peculiarity of its own? To all these questions I could give only one answer: This youth culture is intrinsically dialogue. It must return to dialogue, among young people (in the banal age sense), among different generations and different generations of scholars, among branches and paradigms, among different research methods. The method cannot but open up more and more to the contributions of approaches that urge and push it towards definitions and delimitations, but also towards extraordinary openings. As regarding the cultural historian, I think he\she has to reflect a lot about that “revolution of memory” that it seemed to me to be traceable as one of the most important features of this youth world, made of open cultures without borders. The tension between memory and history, that recalls the historian of culture over and over again to the dialogue between science and culture, seems already integral part of a strong redefinition of that link public-private of which the City is made.

Il globale e la città. Dalla cultura-confine allo spazio aperto della cultura

VALERA, GABRIELLA
2014

Abstract

By analysing the papers presented during the VI World Youth Forum Right to Dialogue on Global/City, the essay investigates some "master-words" of youth culture comparing the categories of youth culture with traditional categories of normalised scientific paradigms. Relevant topics: 1) Artistic craftmanship; 2) The revolution of the Memory and the public sphere; 3) Culture-citizenship; Global Space/Global time. At the end the essay addresses methodological issues regarding cultural history and the analysis of youth culture.Quoting from thre last paragraph: “For a historian it is powerful the temptation to draw with resolute hand a subtle line straight and cuttinglike the time, connecting the few points crystallized in the memory of the archives. But is time this arrow that strikes or the river that winds?”.( “Leonardo and Machiavelli. Crossed lives” by Patrick Boucheron). Boucheron uses variegated archives materials cross-checking them to reconstruct, and sometimes to figure out, the words, the languages, the practices that may have led the two towering men of a seminal age of modern European culture (beloved topic of the historian of culture) to dialogue, so becoming well-aware actors of that new making of the City that was “technical” and “handcrafted”, whereas the system of sciences, in which techniques and arts still could be cooperating or even overlap one another in the framework of practical philosophy, was anyway changing. But, Boucheron adds, “the fragments of history are not waiting to be put together by that wise and a bit sad boy, patient and lonely boy who keeps alive in the soul of any historian; it is not a mosaic since nothing proves that what is now in pieces once was a whole, that those isolated words come from the same sentence, that those fragments tore off the same rock in a unique twine. It is not a mosaic but perhaps a ford to cross to follow the course of a common anxiety”. Gradually as writing this essay (and perhaps gradually as it will be read) methodological problems similar to those pointed out by Boucheron emerged with increasing force, that were not neglected at the beginning of this work, and rather the answer to them, or their possible restatement, were searched precisely as developing in the analysis. If the methodological matter is usually epitomized in a certain number of questions – what is the object of our research? With which categories do we construct it? According to what sources and what chronology do we reconstruct it, and with what localisation and contextualisation? – the key question for a historian is the one regarding the gaps, the puzzle that does not exist, the doubts he\she is ready to reveal while presenting the results, the anomalies that his\her texts may let rise in respect to that very frame he\she built by his\her method and he\she expected to be in conditions of properly fit into it. Precisely about this aspect and about the methodological choice made of “suspension” of the method, I will pay later on little attention76. Object: “The global and the city”. In this way the title of the essay sounds, and freely echoes the title of the Forum, whose texts resulted its main analytical reference.The mention of “youth culture”, with the shortcomings in defining it well known to historian and sociologists77, does not appear in the title, even if the link with the Forum may suggest that. Why does it not appear? What really did we do by re-reading the texts delivered to the Forum by young people remote one another, from different Countries (and continents) of the world, age – the large range was between 18 and 30 years, with an average around 20-25 – cultures, languages? Two things joined the young people participating to the Forum: the fact of being there, intentionally, as they responded to the call sending a paper, and the fact of being those whom – setting already a new historical and methodological issue - we could call the “global young”: young people who travel, speak different languages, maybe not correctly but always confident to be eventually understood, they dare to think, they do not repudiate their own culture of origin, sometimes following the identity path appointed to them, sometimes raising questions on “culture” and on “identity”, as we saw, that unhinge codified ways to feel and to think. What “youth culture” could we look for in the texts examined if not this general call into question of the “culture”? The latter is bequeathed to us, with all uncertainties and intuitions of a way of self-asserting that, unlike the scientific way, it seldom makes reference to sources and texts, manifestly elaborating ideas, concepts, materials of reading, experience and life according to needs of representation that nourish the argument, regardless most of the times of the distinctions of the branches of knowledge so necessary to research and its method. But it is clear that if we wanted for example to employ the scientific category of “culture” to define our object of research in the easy formula of “youth culture” we should admit that the “object” breaks into pieces as the same category is used by “this” youth culture with different, movable, not codified contents and functions. Such discourse here expressed about “culture” could be repeated about several other topics emerged in the analysis. But we want to insist on the doubts and difficulties of the method. The “puzzle”: the historian, in particular the historian of culture already aware of such problematic character of “culture” that also these “young” texts push him\her to consider, cannot avoid to address the task of drawing the whole picture, by sketching lines and trajectory (also temporal ones) as he\she puts the tiles together, traces forms that fit one another, nuances of the same sign, background analogies. Above we spoke about a general call into question of scientific categories within a discourse that comes from a “culture” and impacts on culture. Sure: “general” appears the call into question, but through different sides, the forms that fit, the nuances of the same sign, the background analogies that have been stubbornly detected including the “trajectory of time”: in other terms by taking in account a paradigm that impacts on modernity from which the models, the requests and the methods of research come and from which come the young people that are bearers (we are tempted to say holder, as we are holders of a right) of this “young culture” about which we are dealing here. The young participants to the Forum do not constitute a “sample” by any means, as it would require homogenous qualifications and reference framework. We mentioned the overall not homogeneity of the group (quite large) of people who participated. Also the call to which they responded was written with the purpose to leave a complete freedom of structuring the paper from the most different points of view without any restriction concerning branches of knowledge. The essay, moreover, made some albeit quick reference to works presented to previous Forums; it is part of a process of “historical-cultural” inquiry through the texts produced by young people who participated year after year. This aspect should have been treated more in depth (and it will). But it compels to face a further methodological problem. To stretch along a long time span of some years a set on questions that are re-proposed to different young people in different forms and yet regard similar issues and come from a general research paradigm, to value the answers given year after year by individuals still involved in their intellectual, moral and existential maturation – particularly delicate element if we consider that this very same phase could cover different ages in countries culturally different – , to do all that is like to raise questions from a culture in transition to a culture in transition, or, we could add, from an identity in transition to an identity in transition. At this point it would suffice to think again to what it was said to us and to what we later said about the “global time” that, in our opinion, is a remarkable aspect in the general framework developed, to be instantly brought back to the results gathered by surveys that employ completely different methods, deal with basically homogenous spaces, times and subjects through specific questions. At this point we wonder: what does “young” mean in the wording “youth culture” or “young identity” which we perhaps could or should keep to use?Would it be legitimate to deny “culture” and “identity” that it represents to us the quality of “young”? And would it be legitimate to give definitely away the representation of it as a form of “culture” having a peculiarity of its own? To all these questions I could give only one answer: This youth culture is intrinsically dialogue. It must return to dialogue, among young people (in the banal age sense), among different generations and different generations of scholars, among branches and paradigms, among different research methods. The method cannot but open up more and more to the contributions of approaches that urge and push it towards definitions and delimitations, but also towards extraordinary openings. As regarding the cultural historian, I think he\she has to reflect a lot about that “revolution of memory” that it seemed to me to be traceable as one of the most important features of this youth world, made of open cultures without borders. The tension between memory and history, that recalls the historian of culture over and over again to the dialogue between science and culture, seems already integral part of a strong redefinition of that link public-private of which the City is made.
978-88-546-1174-0
File in questo prodotto:
Non ci sono file associati a questo prodotto.

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11368/2830560
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus ND
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? ND
social impact