Comparative Youth Culture: The Sociology of Youth Cultures and Youth Subcultures in America, Britain, and Canada

Comparative Youth Culture: The Sociology of Youth Cultures and Youth Subcultures in America, Britain, and Canada

Comparative Youth Culture: The Sociology of Youth Cultures and Youth Subcultures in America, Britain, and Canada

Comparative Youth Culture: The Sociology of Youth Cultures and Youth Subcultures in America, Britain, and Canada

Synopsis

Mike Brake suggests that subcultures develop in response to social problems which a group experiences collectively, and shows how individuals draw on collective identities to define themselves.

Excerpt

In this book I have developed an examination of much of the disparate work on youth culture, subcultures and delinquency which has been a subject of research since the early 1930s. One major theme which is noticeable is that if the young are not socialised into conventional political, ethical and moral outlooks, if they are not programmed into regular work habits and labour discipline, then society as it is today cannot continue. What is central to any examination of youth culture is that it is not some vague structural monolith appealing to those roughly under thirty, but is a complex kaleidoscope of several subcultures, of different age groups, yet distinctly related to the class position of those in them. My argument is that subcultures arise as attempts to resolve collectively experienced problems resulting from contradictions in the social structure, and that they generate a form of collective identity from which an individual identity can be achieved outside that ascribed by class, education and occupation. This is nearly always a temporary solution, and in no sense a real material solution, but one which is solved at the cultural level. Youth cultures interact with manufactured popular cultures and their artefacts but I would argue against manufactured cultures being deterministic in the sense that they are uninfluenced by their consumers. On the whole, youth cultures and subcultures tend to be some form of exploration of masculinity. They are therefore masculinist, and I have tried to consider their effect on girls, and one distinct sign of the emancipation of young girls from the cult of romance, and marriage as their true vocation, will be the development of subcultures exploring a new form of femininity. Given the material place of women in society today, this is likely to take some time.

One of the most worrying signs of friction and alienation in contemporary society is the problems that racial minorities have to face. Their harassment by law and order personnel, the use of the

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