Music and Youth Culture

Music and Youth Culture

Music and Youth Culture

Music and Youth Culture

Synopsis

Music and Youth Culture offers a groundbreaking account of how music interacts with young people's everyday lives. Drawing on interviews with and observations of youth groups together with archival research, it explores young people's enactment of music tastes and performances, and how these are articulated through narratives and literacies. An extensive review of the field reveals an unhealthy emphasis on committed, fanatical, spectacular youth music cultures such as rock or punk. On the contrary, this book argues that ideas about youth subcultures and club cultures no longer apply to today's young generation. Rather, archival findings show that the music and dance cultures of youth in 1930s and 1940s Britain share more in common with youth today than the countercultures and subcultures of the 1960s and 1970s. By focusing on the relationship between music and social interactions, the book addresses questions that are scarcely considered by studies stuck in the youth cultural worlds of subcultures, club cultures and post-subcultures:What are the main influences on young people's music tastes? How do young people use music to express identities and emotions? To what extent can today's youth and their music seem radical and progressive? And how is the 'special relationship' between music and youth culture played out in everyday leisure, education and work places? Features
• The first comprehensive study of popular music and youth cultural studies
• Includes rare historical work on pre-1950s youth cultures
• Contains original photographs and diagrammatic illustrations.

Excerpt

The relationship between music and youth culture is fraught with clichés. All the theorising imaginable, therefore, could not have provided me with a better understanding of this subject area than the thoughts and feelings of those young people that I have talked to over the past few years. It is difficult, in fact, to be sure of a particular moment when I started to write this book. The research began the day before 9/11 but many of the ideas emerged a long time before that. My Masters dissertation in 1999 covered similar ground, but perhaps the inspiration came a few years earlier during secondary school teacher training. As part of my training I devised a short - and very primitive–questionnaire for a Year 11 class. One question asked, 'Which item of popular culture would you choose to donate to your school library: A. a novel, B. a film, C. a computer or video game, D. a television show, or E. a music album?' Every one of the thirty respondents chose E. Subsequently I organised a lunchtime music club which met each week to exchange tastes and news about the latest 'thing'. At the same time I read several fascinating studies into children and television but wondered why, when music seemed to be far more important to young people, there was little comparable research into youth and popular music. The spark was lit and here is the end result. The discerning reader will note, however, that the term 'popular music' is conspicuous by its absence. Young people tend not to describe their music–consumed or produced–as 'popular' and in any case the range of different descriptors that they do use suggest the inadequacy of a singular category. 'Popular music' says just as little about music experienced in everyday life as 'youth' says about the different charxsacteristics of young people' severyday lives.

Many individuals and several institutions have helped to bring about this publication, and I certainly do not have the will or inclination to name them one by one. Perhaps most importantly of all, I would like to acknowledge a three-year University of Salford Research Studentship that helped . . .

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