Teen Spirits: Music and Identity in Media Education

Teen Spirits: Music and Identity in Media Education

Teen Spirits: Music and Identity in Media Education

Teen Spirits: Music and Identity in Media Education


Relating to both the practice of teaching media studies and also to theoretical questions within media and cultural studies, this study examines pop music, media studies and the micro-cultural politics of adolescence. It argues that media education has neglected pop music, and that, as something of enormous significance in the lives of young people, it merits a serious place in the field.; The author provides accounts of media studies in action, including detailed accounts of classroom discussions, interviews with students and teachers, examples of students' work and their biographical reflections. He links this to broader debates both within cultural studies and around the place of pop music in young people's lives.; "Teen Spirits" should be of interest to students of media and cultural studies, as well as to practicing teachers, and readers with an interest in questions of youth and identity.


Series Editors’ Preface

Media and Cultural Studies are currently expanding areas of the curriculum at all levels of the education system, not merely in English-speaking countries but in many other parts of the world. Cultural Studies has made a radical contribution to the study of education, particularly in terms of its emphasis on ‘popular’ knowledge and on the political dynamics of young people’s leisure cultures. Moreover, in the context of anxieties about the apparent decline in traditional cultural values, it also challenges much current thinking about the aims and methods of core areas of the curriculum such as English. Meanwhile, in response to the growing significance of the electronic media and the increasing diversity of contemporary societies, media educators have developed rigorous and exciting new approaches to teaching both in schools and in higher education. In the past decade, media education has come of age—and in the process, fundamental questions about its aims and methods have begun to be asked.

Teen Spirits is one of the first volumes in a new series entitled Media, Education and Culture, which aims to develop original research and debate at the interface between the disciplines of Education and Media/Cultural Studies. The book focuses specifically on teaching about popular music, providing accounts of research and classroom practice using a range of methods and forms of data. The analysis of the data is set within a wider context of theoretical and educational debate about social difference, identity and pedagogy.

Media education has an inconsistent history of engagement with popular music, which has been characterised by long periods of apparent neglect. As Chris Richards argues, this neglect is paradoxical: while claiming to engage the cultural interests of young people, media teachers have effectively marginalized a medium central to the lives of a large majority of them. Teen Spirits addresses this absence, suggesting the scope for engagement between media and music education across the conventional curricular divisions, and discussing how teachers might address their students’ experiences of popular music more directly.

Consuming music is often seen as a special and personal experience: listening to music can play an important part in how we define our innermost selves, our feelings, identities and histories. Indeed, it is, in part, because music is experienced in these terms, and perhaps particularly by people addressed as ‘adolescent’, that . . .

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