Recognition is rarely given to young people’s ability to manage the rapid anthropological change that is occurring. It causes us to experience time as an eternal now and space as something to be navigated, no longer as a path composed of definite rules. However, the digital Argonauts – the new generation whose compasses are their smartphones – know how to live in the age of interconnectivity and transform the desert of opportunity into an oasis. They are self-taught, learn languages, grow up in multicultural societies, and tell their stories through photography and brief messages. For them, the novelty is to experience the web differently than their parents’ generation.
A half-century has passed since 1968. Out of fear of losing the little they have been able to win individually, the youth of the third millennium do not fight together for their civil rights. However, they are anything but passive and deflated. They suffer the exploitation of underpaid jobs and prohibitive rent, yet their silence is a form of resilience, similar to a protective shell. Their generation poses questions to the whole educational and social system: Which destination are they heading in? How to assist them? Is dialogue possible?
The wealth that their age group represents in Italian society – in terms of ideas, vitality, hope and objectives – is unfortunately diminishing: in 1991, there were 26.7 million young people up to the age of 34, that is, 47.1 percent of the population; in 2017, they declined to 20.8 million, 34.3 percent of the population. What changed? And over which subjects can the various generations rediscover each other in order to travel together and pass on the baton?