“Youth culture” is the shared set of beliefs, values, symbols and activities in a group of young people.There are many theories about what is a youth made off and how it operates. There different and opposing arguments about the existence of youth culture. In this essay I will try to explain these theories and views and form an opinion from there off.
The rise of youth culture was seen in 1960’s and 1970’s. Due to this rise in the youth culture, there were some theories developed on it. Functionalism was the main theory that was developed in 1960’s. The founders of this theory believed that society or social structure is like the structure of biology and that all the social institutions work for the survival of the society like the health institutions work for the survival of living things. With the change in the social structure, as the social structure is becoming more complex, there is a need to change the social institutions by making them more specialized. Therefore, functionalists believed that youth culture has a social function as young people were seen solving their shared problems.
During the 1970’s, the Marxist theories were developed on youth culture. The believer of this theory thought that a society mainly operates through conflict of classes of that society. They believe that each class of society pursues its own interests and it brings into conflicts with the other classes of the society. These ideas were used by the Marxists influenced Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies to explain youth culture. Their arguments were in the favor that youth culture was resulted from the youths that were fighting against a capitalistic society.
There is a debate within the scientific community about the existence of youth culture. Some researchers are of the view that there is no separate youth culture as youth’s morals and values are same as that of their parents’. The variations in contexts, age, sex and social status makes it hard to define a single youth culture.
Other researchers say that there are some definite elements that can define separate youth culture and that these elements of the youth culture are different from those of their parents’ culture. There are some other researchers that also believe that there are some youth cultures that are existing in society. The school boys and girls have their own set of patterns to understanding the same thing from that of university guys.
In short youth culture exists in our society specially in this modern age of strong electronic and social media but the definition of a single youth culture is very much complex and hard job to do.
The term "youth culture" refers to the ways that teenagers conduct their lives. Youth culture can pertain to interests, styles, behaviors, music, beliefs, vocabulary, clothes, sports and dating. The concept behind youth culture is that adolescents are a subculture with norms, mores, behaviors and values that differ from the main culture of older generations within society.
Commonly-used Youth Culture Examples
- In the 1960's the wearing of clothes that indicated freedom
- Following of music groups that perform music that speaks to the issues teenagers perceive themselves enduring at the time such as Nirvana in the 1990's and The Beatles in the 1960's
- Hairstyles that exhibit a lack of conformity such as brightly colored hair, spiked hair, shaved heads
- Behavior that is contrary to what is perceived to be accepted and expected by parents such as drinking, smoking, using drugs
- Language usage that is bold in order to set themselves apart such as either excessive cursing or a usage of esoteric “cool” buzz words
- Behaviors such as cutting school or low grade criminal activity in order to assert independence and non-conformity
- Refusal to go to certain establishments to appear more acceptable to peers
- A change in academic performance in order to conform to the expectations of their peer groups
- A change in types of media that the adolescent prefers, i.e. comic books over novels or magazines over non-fiction, to relate to the likes of his peers
- A desire for same brand name clothes, shoes and other material goods such as portable music players, backpacks and phones
- A change in the quality of products he prefers, i.e. more expensive goods that are similar to his friends' goods, or less expensive goods that are more in line with his peer's belongings
- Attitude changes about school, religion or family
- A change in the way that they treat others, either with greater kindness or perhaps more aloofness
Each different generation will have their own youth culture that is reflective of their lives and times.
Understanding Youth Culture
Psychologists such as Erik Erikson theorize that the primary goal in the developmental stage of adolescence is to answer the question: “Who am I?” This being the case, it is natural to assume that in determining one's identity, one would seek others within the same age group to grow and learn together and understand the social norms and values of society.
Theorists such as Fasick agree that adolescents are in a confused state and that identity development happens during this time as they exert independence from parents and have a greater reliance on their peer groups.
Development of Youth Culture
Youth culture truly developed in the 20th century when it became more common for adolescents to gather together. Historically, prior to this time many adolescents spent a majority of time with adults or child siblings. Compulsory schooling and other societal changes made the joint socialization of adolescents more prevalent.