The article presents the results of research concerning life orientations of rural youth from the region of Podkarpacie. The author distinguishes three basic types of attitudes that correspond with axiological orders prevailing in the period of great changes and that can be linked to the traditional society, modern society and the society in the late stage of modern development. In the surveyed population it is possible to distinguish a private-stabilisation orientation, which is characterised by the desire to preserve the traditional values and by opposition to the occurring changes. The second of the discerned orientations can be described as a mercantile orientation characteristic of societies in the early stage of modern development. The third of the distinguished orientations is called 'self-fulfilment' and it characterises societies in the late stage of modern development. The three orientations are rooted in the existing social structure. The private-stabilisation orientation dominates among school students with a low social status, which means that they represent the 'old man'. Students with a medium social status represent a mercantile mentality and are the embodiment of a 'new man'. Young people with a high social status, in turn, constitute a substratum for a 'post-modern man' who is guided by post-material values. The conducted research has proved that young people in rural areas live to 'different rhythms' and belong to 'different worlds' that can be linked to the past, present time and to the future. The rhythm of the young people's life will be largely determined then by their social status, that is by the cultural, psychological, social and material capital they have been equipped with. In the period of great changes these resources allow individuals to successfully adapt to the requirements of modern development.
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