Youth and Youth Culture in the Contemporary Middle East

Youth and Youth Culture in the Contemporary Middle East

Youth and Youth Culture in the Contemporary Middle East

Youth and Youth Culture in the Contemporary Middle East

Excerpt

Social scientists and historians working with social history have defined youth as a social construction and as a period between two very different times in life: childhood and adulthood. The precise definition of youth differs considerably but most commonly includes people between 15 and 30. Despite this definition, however, 'youth' in the general debate extends well beyond the borders originally related to the specific age-period of youth. In most parts of the modern industrialised world, people in their 30s, 40s, and even 50s, consider themselves young, thus eroding all serious analytical meaning of the word.

During the 20 century youth has been analysed from a number of different perspectives. In psychology, research has focused on the ways that children when reaching a certain age gradually try to emancipate themselves from their parents; in sociology the norms and ways in which young people organise themselves socially have been analysed; scholars interested in socio-linguistics have analysed the language(s) used by youth; social scientists have concentrated on the drive to change which is embedded in youth, and economists and people working in public relations and advertising have for decades been aware of youth as consumers.

In the expanding and developing multicultural Europe of the 21 century, much focus is invested on the challenge that young people from migrant-parents expose, vis á vis traditional norms for social interaction with others. In a new context there is a re-awakening and repetition of a number of fears held by the older generation pertaining to youth. During the 1950s the concept of the angry young man was widespread in European literature and theatre; during the 1960s young criminal gangs, left to themselves on street-corners while their parents were working, were of common concern; and now the same fears are linked to young people with family roots outside Europe.

In political ideology, youth has always been of importance because it could be manipulated and socially moulded to realise a different future. The various national movements in Europe during the 19 century offer an endless number of examples of this. The same became prevalent in the rest of the world, also in the Arab Middle East as indicated in . . .

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