Youth Subcultures

Youth Subcultures Introduction

Sociologists propose that ‘youth’ is socially, as opposed to biologically, constructed. That is to say, society determines how we view life stages and the appropriate behaviours associated with them.

What is meant by ‘youth’?

Some would argue, that the idea of ‘youth’, as a transition stage between childhood and adulthood, is in fact a very modern concept. For example, traditionally, and still in some parts of the world, rites of passage were used to mark a clear shift between childhood and adulthood. However, today, and particularly in the West, we have an elongated (and some would argue increasingly elongated) idea of a transitionary period, where we are no longer children, but not yet fully adult, which we term ‘youth’.

We begin here by looking at ‘what is youth?’, and then the idea of ‘Kidulthood,’ and ‘Generation Boomerang’. Next we turn to the idea of subcultures, focusing first on classic youth subcultures, then youth subcultures and consumerism, and neo-tribes. Then we present resources on theoretical views on youth subcultures, looking first at Functionalism and rites of passage, and Marxism, Neo-Marxism and youth. Next we look at social class and Jamaican patois, ethnicity and David Starkey, third culture kid identity, white dreadlocks, girls and ‘bedroom culture’ and the changing roles for girls in subcultures. Then, we focus on deviant subcultures, by looking specifically at Paul Willis and Learning to Labour, and Laura Walsh ‘No Respect’. Finally, we look at the media and youth subcultures, by looking at moral panics: mods and rockers and the importance of music.

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