The Sub-Ministry of Youth and Sport [General Secretariat of Youth since 1985] has instigated a historical research series on the subject of Greek youth in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. This research series constitutes the programme entitled HISTORICAL ARCHIVE OF GREEK YOUTH. The single constant of these studies is the concept of younger generations, the objective being to analyse this concept in its historical dimension, in other words the reconstruction of the mechanisms determining the relationship of younger generations to demographic, cultural, social and psychological structures through time. The research objectives may be summarised as follows:
b. To stimulate historiographical interest capable of leading to the historicisation of the concept of younger generations via exemplary analyses.
c. To exercise cultural policy with the implantation of the historical perspective in the general plans of cultural and social dynamics.
Thus it becomes evident that the programme is directed towards:
- The production of infrastructure research work.
- The composition of monographs with exemplary themes.
- The institution of a communication system at an academic or wider level, for the announcement of work in progress, the enrichment of the issues under consideration and the introduction of the work as a dynamic component of the movement of ideas.
This consists in the identification of archival and printed units of information, their cataloguing and, for certain classes of evidence, their classification; some thematic units are microfilmed or acquired. They are divided into the following categories.
1. HISTORICAL ARCHIVES OF GREEK YOUTH
1. School and University archives (the former selectively according to the historiographical theme studied).
2. Military / Conscription and Police archives.
3. Hospital archives.
4. Reformatory archives.
5. Orphanage archives.
6. Ministry archives (Foreign Ministry and Consulate information on workers and students abroad; Education Ministry information, selectively according to the historiographical theme studied).
7. Archives of various associations and organizations..
8. Trade Union archives (referring to child labour conditions).
9. Party Youth archives.
10. Religious organisation archives
11. Youth organisation archives (Boy Scouts etc.).
The above list is only indicative and not in any order of importance or priority. The cataloguing of thematic collections of historical evidence will be in a summary form.
2. CONSTRUCTION OF THEMATIC UNITS OF HISTORICAL EVIDENCE
Studies in this area are intended to further the construction of thematic collections of evidence from printed works produced by youths or addressed to them by a public authority. The first category (which may simply be bibliographies, see B.), includes works published by schools or political collective bodies, religious organisations, associations etc. The second category comprises legislative decrees, school circulars etc. Artworks which may be printed in large numbers are also included as data.
The construction of information units is achieved through indirect (microfilming) and direct methods (the item itself). The latter choice is preferable where the item is also suitable for exhibition purposes.
This is partly a component of the research described in section A (e.g. summary catalogues). By infrastructure work we mean classification and bibliographical records: the former includes the composition and reprinting of the legislation for youth, divided into sections; as regards the latter the following categories of printed works are mentioned:
a. School textbooks.
b. Children’s and youth magazines.
c. Children’s and youth books.
d. Children’s and youth pulp fiction (at least summarily from Press
e. Publications relevant to youth.
f. Statutes of organisations etc.
Section (e) is composed of thematic categories, particularly teaching literature, histories of political youth organisations etc.
Infrastructure work is understood in two ways: on the one hand it is a working tool, while on the other it emphasises collective phenomena which become objects of historiographical approaches within the research programme. This type of documentary work is complemented by data bases serving other historiographical work in progress, such as computer processing of university registers or conscription details.
Infrastructure work is undertaken by individuals or teams organised with specific research of this type in view; as a result, some infrastructure work may become the preparatory stage of a historiographical-level study. Where the classification is not in publishable form, e.g. data processing, the relevant material is adapted to become ‘units of evidence’. (see A.2).
These are studies which result in the writing of a monograph and which are therefore obviously the main objective of the programme. They can be individual or collective and are planned and gradually completed within the five-year period foreseen by the programme; one working year is the usual time allowed although some studies exceed this. These are studies which demand the processing of large amounts of evidence and thus include a preparatory stage.
A subject such as the relationship between younger generations and the systems to which they belong results in a thematological and methodological variety which is not completely covered by the available research; the programme takes current availability of expertise into account, attempting to direct it towards subjects outside its horizon and form it into cohesive structures capable of re-orienting existing research interests. Thus the programme develops in two directions: the utilisation of available research and the stimulation of historical interests. These directions will allow the programme to meet its objectives, which cover a wide historiographical range.
The research subject itself, younger generations, dictates the thematic structure, chief points of which are the mechanisms governing the main body of the dependent population (i.e. children and youths) with regard to its adaptation to the communities to which it belongs - demographically, financially and socially - and opposing phenomena of differentiation or non-integration. Younger generations themselves are examined with a view both to their actual substance and to their ideological representation, that is, as historical beings and constructs of social conscience (and thus indexes of ideologies, moral codes and behavioural models). This image of youth and childhood is one imposed by the dominant system or the forces opposing it and which summarises its scale of values. The same mechanisms are sought in the auto-regulatory functions of childhood and youth, whether these functions appear at the group level (initiation, games, groupings) or in the family environment (the child’s place in rural and urban families, the corresponding preparation for future role as a spouse). It is obvious that the themes and their problems also determine the chronological differentiation of research subjects, some of which are not short-term but subject to a qualitative approach to historical time and therefore defined by anthropological methods.
Thus one of the research areas is that of traditional family structures connected to group behaviour outside them, within the context of the ritual rhythms of traditional communities as opposed to corresponding urban forms. Research in this area is chiefly dependent on oral sources and observation: time becomes a cultural and social construct and the approach is an ethnohistorical one.
The historical anthropology section also includes research based on written material, chronologically limited but concerning long-term phenomena, such as those which can be determined on a national scale from individual conscription papers: elements of natural anthropology, socio-professional and cultural characteristics (literacy, degree of schooling) etc. There are also related studies on the mechanisms of transmission of the ancestral cultural legacy from the first generation to the third in traditional communities and on the shaping of the imaginary.
This type of research complements other studies which follow classical historical methods and are based on themes such as schooling, child labour, child and youth health, political activities, the formation of attitudes and stereotypes through school, family and general social education, and aesthetic training - themes the research programme specialises in. The same category includes research that stresses youth mobility: mobility at school in connection with income and geographical and social distribution, as well as labour mobility (internal and external emigration) and mobility according to sex and marriage strategy.
The question of the ‘avant-garde’ and its social determinants is part of the wider question of the younger generations’ entrance into active society: such research is typically concerned with artistic and literary circles and with political movements. The images of the child and youth are projected via stereotypes which constitute a theme approachable through literary and artistic representations, guides to behaviour and institutionalised rituals.
The list of themes presented above is only a guide; the research programme will set out systematic formulations, some of which are recorded in the Appendix to the list of objectives.
b. Society as a whole, to which it offers a historical interpretation of the idea and substance of younger generations.
This cultural policy is obviously rounded off by publishing the results of the research carried out; it is however also exercised by the re-establishment of a system of communication which transcends that which exists between individual researchers. From this perspective, (particularly in connection with the effect of research on national historiography), public activities could be organised on the subject of the historicity of youth; these would include:
- International meetings in the form of historical Congresses.
- Seminars with themes based on work in progress.
- Exhibitions (using audio-visual techniques) on the material
evidence of certain studies.
- Stimulation of interest in research objectives and their cultural effects, through the media.
Adoption of this policy would further the relevance and especially the function of historical studies and emphasise the role of historical sensibilities within culture in general. At the same time it would reinforce the social identity of the historian, who would be able to intervene in cultural projects through the transformation of his cognitive process into a working educational tool.
The organisation of the programme and the assignment and supervision of research is the responsibility of the Committee of the Historical Archive of Greek Youth, itself set up by the General Secretary for Youth. The Committee recommends research assignments and investigation/ infrastructure teams to the General Secretary, within budgetary limits. It is also responsible for the definition and control of each research timetable. After recommendation by the Committee, researchers sign a contract with the General Secretariat of Youth.
Both infrastructure work and historiographical research are designed for publication. The Committee determines and recommends the form of these publications to the General Secretary (publication of a special series of books by the General Secretariat). It must however be noted that work submitted by an individual or groups of researchers is not automatically guaranteed inclusion in the series without the Committee’s approval.
If a study is not published within two years or if the Committee does not approve it for publication, its author or authors have the right to publish it as and how they choose. In the case of rejection by the Committee, however, the following subtitle must be inserted: This research was completed under the Historical Archive of Greek Youth programme. The Committee did not consider its inclusion in its publication series necessary.
The following is a sample list of research areas covering most of the themes proposed in the List of Objectives; the sample is based, for the most part, on specific research availabilities.
1. School life
b. Schools (programmes, books, buildings, teaching staff, pupils).
c. School and illiteracy.
d. Discipline in and outside school (crime-sheets, school isolation rooms, school superintendents, reformatories etc.)
2. Youth and Army
b. Consequences of military training on the formation of ideology and attitudes.
3. Health and Sports
b. Sports: Ideology and reality.
b. Child labour.
c. Traditional apprenticeship systems.
5. Political life
b. Political party youth organisations.
c. Trade Unions, political, religious and scientific organisations.
d. Clandestine and illegal organisations.
6. Attitudes and behaviour
- Child and youth literature and pulp fiction.
- The evidence of Art.
b. The type of ideal youth and fashions in theatre, literature and cinema.
7. Family and youth
b. Marriage and birth-rate.
c. Children’s upbringing and social adaptation: continuities and reversals.
8. Greek youth abroad
b. Workers and children of emigrants.
Athens, June 1983
Bibliographical Note: The objectives of the research programme were sent for publication in 1983 by the IAEN Committee to all Greek scientific journals. They were published by the journal Mnimon 9 (1984) 373-381 (from which a separate offprint: 11984; 21995, 11 pp ); Ta Istorika, issue No. 2, December 1984, pp 422-428 and Epetiris Kentrou Epistimonikon Ereunon Kyprou 12 (1983) 519-524. They were also re-published in the Proceedings of the International Symposium Historicity of childhood and youth, vol. II, Athens, IAEN No. 1, 1986, pp 709-717 and in French ‘Objectifs du programme de recherches’ Proceedings du Colloque International Historicité de l’enfance et de la jeunesse, Athens, IAEN No. 6, 1986, pp 625-633 (and a separate offprint). They were re-published in Greek in the first issue of this booklet, Athens 2003, pp 38-46 and in the second, Athens 2009, pp 38-45.