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Aesthetics of youth scenes vitor sergio ferreira


Yeni Zamanlarda Genç Yurttaşların Katılımı Konferansı …

Yeni Zamanlarda Genç Yurttaşların Katılımı Konferansı
9-10-11 Mayıs 2014

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  • 1. The dramaturgical metaphor of scene, invokes the appropriation of youth cultures as stages, in the sense of Goffman. On these stages, some young people construct their identities, perform specific social roles, and act for daily audiences, trying to catch their attention: more than to say, to be seen becomes the most effective way of youth being present, today, in the public sphere.
  • 2.  The first, located in a confined space and time, correspond to random and more or less spontaneous actions, without any kind of transformative reflexivity. It corresponds to rebellious conducts typical of the period of adolescence and youth, often naturalised as being a part of its process of growing up and gaining autonomy.  The latter, suppose an oppositional conscience that seeks to break with or win over a position, considering the relations of power, the foundations of social control and the figures of authority. Presume practices with the conscience of the personal and social effects that may arise from them. Also presumes the display of an open ideological condemnation of repressive ideologies.
  • 3.  Far from the idealist and holistic devotion of some youth movements from the 70’s and 80’s, nowadays youth scenes there is no utopian social programme (such as that of the hippie movement, for example), nor even a dystopian programme (such as that of the punk movement), to guide its practices of resistance, in the sense of expressing a collective imagination of a «better society» or an «ideal society».  Current youth scenes expresses a heterotopic ambition of deviance (Foucault, 1984 [1967]). More than struggling for being equal, the action of youth scenes is guided towards the recognition and the improvement of conditions of coexistencial pluralism, a moral disorder expressed through the existence of multiple moralities, even though frequently conflictive among themselves.
  • 4.  The transformative reflexivity that defines the political culture of current youth scenes is no longer associated with the collective demand for universal political, human or social rights.  It does include, now, the claim for particularistic cultural rights, in the sense of the improvement of individual freedom to create and to try new aesthetic and ethical models of lifestyle.
  • 5.  More than the struggle for equity, these expressions display a struggle for subjectivity, as it was point out by McDonald (1999). That is, a struggle related not to demands for social equality and redistribution, but rather for space of self-defining and social recognition of singularities.  Its political content should be understood not in the traditional framework of the universality of citizenship rights – which assumes the same set of civil liberties and responsibilities for everyone – but in a framework of affirmation of the individual. The political intention is found not only in the recognition of oneself as a citizen with equal rights, but in one’s particularities as a person.
  • 6.  The social actions are no longer interested in acting upon the world, expression of annihilating practices, that is, practices that offer a possibility of changing the world, activating strategies to destroy the «existing social order» and replacing it for a new.  They are more interested on acting on the world, their actions configure predatory practices. That is, practices which take advantage of the resources and spaces socially available for young people statements’ in the world, trying to defy the boundaries of cultural expression and personal creativity. Presume that young people want to take advantage of the world as much as they can, and to take the best it has to offer.
  • 7. In contrast with the holistic and militant logic of collective contestation which characterised some youth movements of the past, the convivial solidarities of youth cultures are mostly organized around an ethics of celebration. In contrast with combative ways of living life, this ethics presumes a constant search for the festive side of existence, as a display of vitality and creative energy.
  • 8.  Presumes the mobilization of aesthetic practices and stylistic resources that seek possibilities of expression and recognition of a subjectivity self-perceived as singular, authentic and free.  Also presumes the struggle for space and recognition of lifestyles that intends to escape the socially saturated formulas currently available in the «style supermarket», and to celebrate and take advantage of life in the best what it gives.
  • 9. Vitor Sérgio Ferreira Institute of Social Sciences | University of Lisbon