Collective IdentityPrompt Question 2:Emergence of the teenager/youth sub cultures
Through history• Children had a very different experience of youth in the past. The concept of the teenager did not emerge until post war Britain and Victorian children would often be working at the age of 5 in coal mines, sweeping chimney etc.• Today, British society places a high value on childhood and protects children through various laws.
Some reasons for the emergence of the teenager are:• The post war baby boom – after the war soldiers returned home and started families• Affluence and women in work – the general standards of living were rising including pay. More women also began to work and giving many families a dual income. Consequently, young people were not expected to give all of their working wages to their parents and had disposable income for the first time. This meant they could spend money on having fun and being young before they had to take on greater responsibilities.
Some reasons for the emergence of the teenager are:• Rise of consumer culture – Throughout the 1950s, the growing numbers of young people began to influence music, television and cinema, spurring the explosion of rock and roll in the late 1950s and a full blown youth culture in the mid 1960s, partly in the form of sub cultures such as mods, rockers and hippies. As teenagers created their own identity and their expendable income increased, marketing companies focused their efforts on them.
Some reasons for the emergence of the teenager are:• Independence – young people also started to get married later, move out of their family home before they married, and due to the introduction of contraception, have pre- marital sex.
The Increase of Youth Subcultures• The 90’s and the subcultures of today cannot be described as the same as the 60’s or 70’s or even the 80’s.• A number of factors account for the increase in the number of subcultures in society today
Factors• A. The Size of the SocietyCharles Kraft “larger societies will also develop more sub groupings. These sub groupings are usually referred to as subcultures.”• B. The Rate of Change in the SocietyThe greater the change in a society the more intense and stronger the subcultures as people identify more with their subculture in order to find identity and security.
Factors• C. The Globalisation of the SocietyThe rate at which cultural objects and ideas are transmitted in large parts of the world today is a significant factor in the number of youth subculture groups that are identified.
Youth subcultures in today’s society• Today’s youth subcultures point to an interweaving of style with gender, class and age which follows a more contemporary outlook as opposed to some of the classic theories.• Under post-modern conditions, identities appear to be in a constant state of change: individuals move freely from one sub-cultural group and enthusiasm to another; they mix and match what were formerly distinct categories like the 60s bikers.
Features of youth sub cultures• Fashion- may have certain characteristic in cloths e.g. Mods• Music- identity may be defined by music e.g. punks• Class- identity may be defined by your social or economic class e.g. Youth subcultures in working class communities will show a greater amount of gang activity
Task• Pick one past text (Quadrophenia or The Young Ones) and one current text (Attack the Block, E20 and The Inbetweeners) and answer the following• How are ‘the reasons for the emergence of teenagers’ represented in the past text you have picked?• What sub cultures are represented in the texts you have picked?• In what ways can we recognise the sub cultures and how are they different?
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