Teenagers in the 70s / 80s / 90s / 00s Case Study : Kidulthood (2006)
Teenagers in the 1970’s – Punks The punk subculture emerged in the United States, the United Kingdom, and Australia in the mid-1970s. Early punk had an abundance of antecedents and influences, andJon Savage has described the subculture as a "bricolage" of almost every previous youth culture that existed in the West since the Second World War "stuck together with safety pins".
Teenagers in the 1970’s – Punks The punk subculture is centered aroundlistening to recordings or live concerts of a loud, aggressive genre of rock music called punk rock, usually shortened to punk. Early British punks expressed nihilistic views with the slogan No Future, which came from the Sex Pistols song "God Save the Queen".
Teenagers in the 1970’s – PunksContext : The favourable economic conditions that had paved the way for the post-war explosion of youth consumption – economic growth, full employment and rising living standards – increasingly unravelled during the 1970s. Advanced capitalist economies slid into a long downturn punctuated by particularly severe recessions in the mid-1970s, the early 1980s and the early 1990s. Youth employment was a major casualty of the slump. By 1986, thenumber of unemployed aged between 16 and 24 had reached 727, 000– nearly a third of Britain’s jobless total (International Labour Office, 1988 : 651). Generally, young people’s routes into employment were extended and became more unpredictable. (Cohen and Ainley, 2000:83)
Teenagers in the 1980’s and 1990’sAn authoritarian stance on law and order, however, remained a keytheme of political programmes into the 1990s, and developments in youth culture regularly prompted political sabre-rattling.In Britain, for example, anxieties about the general trajectory ofcultural change were projected onto youth culture in moral panicsthat seemed to echo the social concerns of the 1950s and 1960s.In 1988 the anxieties found specific focus, a moral panic developing around incidents of drunken violence in provincial towns.
Teenagers in the 1980’s and 1990’s The finger of blame was pointed at a ‘new’ generation of affluent but undisciplined youth, the media and politicians such as Douglas Hurd (theHome Secretary) coining the term ‘lagerlouts’ to describe young people ‘with too much money in their pockets and too many pints inside them, but too little self-discipline and too little notion of the care and responsibility which they owe to others’ (Hurd, cited in The Guardian 10 June 1988).
Teenagers in the 1980’s and 1990’sThe period’s most intense episode of media alarm, however, arose in response to the ‘acid house’ phenomenon of the late 1980s. Pioneered in American black and gay clubs such as Chicago’s warehouse and New York’s Paradise garage, new forms of dance music-house, garage, techno – filtered into British youth culture during the 1980s and early 1990s. Manchester’s Hacienda Club became a hub of northern dance culture.The drug ‘ecstasy’ had also become a feature of the Ibiza club scene, and during the late 1980s ‘E’ rapidly became British clubbers’ recreational drug of choice.
Teenagers in the 1980’s and 1990’sBy the early 90s, the Tory government, the police, the tabloid press and middle England had all had enough of rave culture. The government acted, passing the Criminal Justice and Public Order Act (1994). This Act gave the police the power to order people toleave an area if they were believed to be preparing to hold or attend a rave. The Act effectively stopped free parties or events not licensed through local government.
Teenagers in the 1980’s and 1990’sTask : Watch the following World In Action documentary from 1988 on the acid house culture.Think about how you can apply Cohen’s ‘folk devil’ and moral panic idea to what you see in the programme. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t5iB17HamJ8
Teenagers in the 1980’s and 1990’sWhat are some of the wider contextual issues that are explored in this documentary? How are young people represented in this text? How is this similarand/or different to other historical representations you have looked at? What tone or point of view do you think this documentary takes?
Teenagers in the 1980’s and 1990’s World in Action was a British investigative current affairs programme made by Granada Television from 1963 to 1998. The efforts of its production team not infrequently had a major impact on events of the day. It often took audacious risks and gained a reputation for its frequently unorthodox, some said left-wing,approach and for its campaigning journalism. How might the ideologybehind the programme have been influenced by the institution that created it?Who do you think the target audience is for this programme? How does this affect the representations and ideology behind it?How might you apply the Reflective or Constructionist View to your analysis of this documentary?
Teenagers and Moral Panics in the 1980’s and 1990’s - Case Study The rise of Heroin addiction in the 1980s prompted a series of teen addiction storylines in popular programmes like Grange Hill and saw the broadcast of several public information films. Look at the following youtube clips for more information : Heroin Screws You Up – Public Information Video – 1980 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Kc4RyqXbonk&feature=PlayList&p=45 Grange Hill – Zammo takes Heroin - 1986 http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M3lcFhN8zoE Grange Hill Spin off Single – ‘Just Say No’ - http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVxtJB-MBxU&feature=related
Teenagers and Moral Panics in the 1980’s and 1990’s - Case Study There are many interesting representations and subsequent moral panics concerning young people during this time. Try to look at some of these in more detail for your own individual case study : Effects of Ecstasy - Leah Betts was a schoolgirl from Latchingdon in Essex, England. She is notable for the extensive media coverage and moral panic that followed her death several days after her 18th birthday. On her birthday, November 11, she took an ecstasy tablet, and, four hours later, collapsed into a coma, from which she did not recover. Subsequently, it was discovered that the direct cause of her death was water intoxication. Her parents issued this photo of Leah in intensive care to alert audiences to the dangers of the drug.
Teenagers and Moral Panics in the 1980’s and 1990’s - Case Study The media onslaught after her death focused heavily on the fact that it was the first time she had taken the drug. It arose later - though was much less publicized - that she had taken the drug at least three times previously. Her father, Paul, subsequently became a vocal public campaigner against drug abuse. He and his wife were present at the press conference at which Barry Legg MP launched his Public Entertainments Licences (Drug Misuse) Act, which allowed councils to close down licensed venues if the police "believed" controlled drugs were being used "at or near" the premises.
Teenagers and Moral Panics in the 1980’s and 1990’s - Case Study It was reported that the £1m Sorted posters campaign (an image of Leah before she died smiling at the camera with the caption "just one ecstasy tablet took Leah Betts", Ecstasy was the pro-bono work of three advertising companies: Booth Lockett and Makin (media buyers), Knight Leech and Delaney (advertising agency), and FFI (youth marketing consultants). Additionally, it is claimed that their motives were not altruistic.
Teenagers and Moral Panics in the 1980’s and 1990’s - Case Study Booth Lockett and Makin counted brewers Löwenbräu as one of its major clients, at a time when the alcohol industry saw increasing ecstasy use as a threat to profits. The other two companies represented energy drink Red Bull, a professional relationship that had earned Knight Leech and Delaney £5 million and was described by one of FFIs executives who remarked that, "We do PR for Red Bull for example and we do a lot of clubs. Its very popular at the moment because its a substitute for taking ecstasy."
Teenagers and Moral Panics in the 1980’s and 1990’s - Case Study Q. In what way does this demonstrate a conflict between the ideological message and the organisation behind the media campaign?
Teenagers and Moral Panics in the 1980’s and 1990’s - Case Study Angela McRobbie and Sarah Thornton questioned the accuracy and relevancy of Cohen’s moral panic idea in more contemporary times. They argued that the proliferation and fragmentation of niche and micro-media had generated a ‘multiplicity of voices, which compete and contest the meaning of the issues subject to “moral panic” (McRobbie and Thornton, 1995:560). Overall, they challenged the original moral panics’ model idea of sending generalised messages to a gullible audience. They said that in contemporary cultural life, social reality was increasingly made up of competing media representations and was decoded in a variety of ways by more sophisticated audiences.
Teenagers and Moral Panics in the 1980’s and 1990’s - Case Study Q. What do you think of this idea? How applicable is it to some of the media texts you have analysed in this module so far?
Teenagers and Moral Panics in the 1980’s and 1990’s - Case Study After two teenage bystanders were killed in a gun battle between rival gangs at a New Year party in Birmingham, both the media and the government railed against an apparent upsurge of gang culture and gun crime in British cities. Superficially, the responses bore many of the features of a classic moral panic. Focusing on urban black youth, histrionic stories in the tabloid press painted a picture of a ‘new’ wave of ‘gun madness’ sweeping through ‘Violent Britain’ (The Sun, 6 January 2003), while the government scurried to introduce tougher laws to deal with gun crime and gang violence. Elements of ‘media panic’ were also prominent, with suggestions of a causal link between rap music and violence.
Teenagers and Moral Panics in the 1980’s and 1990’s - Case Study Echoing American anxieties about the negative ‘effects’ of gangsta rap during the 1980s and 1990s, Culture Minister Kim Howells argued that the events in Birmingham were ‘symptomatic of something very, very serious’. ‘ For years’, Howell averred, ‘I have been very worried about these hateful lyrics that these boasting macho idiot rappers come out with…It has created a culture where killing is almost a fashion accessory.’ Reserving his most scornful ire for London garage outfit So Solid Crew, Howells asserted that ‘Idiots like the So Solid Crew are glorifying gun culture and violence It is very worrying and we ought to stand up and say it’ (The Guardian, 6 January 2003).
Teenagers and Moral Panics in the 1980’s and 1990’s - Case Study Others joined the fray, tabloid newspapers pointing not only to ‘rap music’s link to the scourge of gun crime’, but also targeting new ‘video nasty’ computer games that seemed to ‘glamorize violence’ (Daily Mirror, 7 January 2003a). There had always been a degree of slippage between the media stereotypes of ‘youth-as-fun’ and ‘youth-as-trouble’ identified by Hebdidge (1988b), but during the 1990s it seemed as though they were giving way to a much more blurred, ambiguous and open-ended set of media representations.
Teenagers and Moral Panics in the 1980’s and 1990’s - Case Study Task : Contemporary Moral Panics Take a recent moral panic based on negative effects theory – such as ‘cyber bullying’ – and look at the differences in age / gender / social position of those perceived to be ‘at risk’ compared to those discussing the risk. What assumptions do the researchers or campaigners make about the ‘at risk’ group? Does the ‘at risk’ group have access to the same communications resources as the researchers/campaigners? Has there ever been a media moral panic about white, middle-class men? If not, why not?
Case Study - KidulthoodKidulthood (rendered as KiDULTHOOD) is a 2006 British drama film about the life of several teenagers in Ladbroke Grove and Latimer Road area of Inner West London. It was directed by Menhaj Huda and written by Noel Clarke, who also stars in the film and directed the sequel, Adulthood.
Case Study - Kidulthood Watch the film and make notes on the points below….How are the teenage characters represented in the film?Are there any stereotypical representations of teenagers in this film? In whatways are the representations similar and/or different to those you would findin other teen pics? Why is this?What are the main themes of the film?In what way has this film been influenced by contemporary social and culturalissues?“The film that speaks to Britains youth in words they understand” MirandaSawyer, www.guardian.co.uk, 26.02.06 – What do you think Sawyer means bythis? Give some examples from the film to support your points.