Youth Leisure Careers during Post-Communist Transitions in the South Caucasus
Sociology Manchester Metropolitan University Manchester, UK
Sociology University of Liverpool Liverpool, UK
Institute Labour and Economy University of Bremen Bremen, Germany
This paper reports findings from interview surveys with 1215 respondents, split between the capital cities (Yerevan, Baku and Tbilisi) and one non-capital region (Kotayk, Aran-Mugan and Shida Kartli) in each of the three South Caucasus countries - Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia. The respondents, who were drawn from households in larger representative household social surveys, were all born between 1970 and 1976 and were aged 31-37 at the time of the fieldwork in 2007. Their life stage transitions from childhood to adulthood had roughly coincided with their countries' transitions from communism to post-communism. Data was collected on the samples' participation in selected leisure activities from age 16 to 30. Similar data was collected on the samples' careers in education, the labour market, housing and family relationships. This information enables us to identify typical leisure careers and how their development was affected by events in other life domains, all in the context of the macro-changes that were in process in each of the research locations. The evidence enables both personal leisure careers and aggregate leisure trends in different socio-demographic groups to be identified This shows that changes in leisure behaviour between age 16 and 30 were neither widening nor narrowing the differences between the leisure of males and females, or those who married and became parents on the one hand, then, on the other, those who were still single and childless at age 30. In contrast, differences by place, and by social class, grew progressively wider, thus raising the social costs of geographical and social mobility. Changes in leisure behaviour between age 16 and 30 were separating young adults into those who participated in little, if any, structured out-of-home leisure, whose main leisure spending, if any, was on alcohol and tobacco (typically consumed in homes and neighbourhoods), and those whose leisure was characterised by relatively high and sustained participation in sport, consumption of high culture, and going out to bars, cafes, cinema, discos etc.