Ola Stafseng: page of appreciation


Ola Stafeseng


RC34 President from 1994 to 1998


In memoriam

by Kristin Beate Vasbo, Helena Helve, Howard Williamson and Lyudmila Nurse


Ola Stafseng was born on 27 February 1949 in Løten municipality close to the small town Hamar, Norway. Hamar is located on the shores of Mjøsa -Norway’s largest lake, and is the principal city of Hedmark county.

Ola’s career as a great pedagogue and prominent youth researcher started from an extensive career, first, as a youth worker in youth clubs and later, as a research fellow and university lecturer at the Department of Sociology and Human Geography, University of Oslo from 1979-1987.

He was a key instigator of the Program for Youth Research in Norway, the predecessor of Norwegian Social Research (NOVA), which is one of the largest social research institutes in Norway, and he worked there for six years as a senior researcher until 1998.

Ola’s research interests were in the areas of educational history of ideas, knowledge and history of science, childhood and youth research. More specifically, he had investigated and re-conceptualised ideas in the sociology of knowledge since Karl Mannheim; the historical-futuristic connections of ideas on childhood and youth between the emergence of early modernity (1880-1920), and ‘late modernity’; and “Hundred years of youth research 1904-2004” as history of the social sciences. His dissertation from 1996 is entitled “The historical construction of modern youth”. In recent years, he produced several publications on the Swedish educationalist Ellen Key, for research and development in the college system, and the knowledge society.

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personal anecdotes and recognition of professional scholarship

Ola Stafeng认为,欧洲国家的福利思想是二战的一个组成部分,认为和平社会要与疾病、贫穷、愚蠢、无家可归、失业这五种社会“罪恶”作斗争。福利思想提出时,“贫穷”在大多数欧洲国家主要是老年人问题,因此,福利的内容仅限于健康、社会保险和养老金。但实际上福利还应包括教育、住房和就业。现在青年首次在统计中成了贫穷的主体,凸现其学业、职业和置业的困境。后者对青年人具有重要意义。变化的青年概念及其生活状况要求福利含义增加科学和政治的成分!要知道青年人已是形成的群体,不是正在形成的群体,既然福利国家一向把青年个人看作公民或人类力量的自我建设系统,那么就应把青年作为他变量而不是自变量。

Songxing Su: excerpt from “ISA-RC34 and China Youth Research”. Lecture seminar in Shanghai “Youth Science century youth research” (You can find out what this means at http://www.rc34youth.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/ISA-RC34-and-China-Youth-Research.pdf)