Topic 10: Youth cultures and ethnicity

  • Created by: zoolouise
  • Created on: 01-05-16 12:12

Formation of ethnic minority youth cultures

Cohen suggested that gangs and cultures were formed by young males who lacked social status. This is status frustration. The antisocial behaviour is a direct attempt to gain status within the gang in response to lack of status in society. Clarke (1976) described early skinhead subcultures as violent, aggressive, racist and homphobic. They committed unpleasent hate crimes such as 'queer-bashing' or '****-bashing'. Hall (1978) stated that Black young people were being presented as a menace to society and as muggers in the popular press.

The CCCS claimed a more complex process was taking place. Immigrant subcultures have to develop behaviours and a culture than have meaning and symbolism which are different to those existing. Hebdige said that youth cultures developed as a form of resistance to dominant ideology and mainstream capitalist culture. Black street culture in the 1960s was a response to the problems of racism, discrimination and unemployment.

Wright (1986) found that young Black people were often placed in lower sets in school, they became bored and disrupted. Gillborn (1990) found that Black children were treated differently and penalised more harshly by teachers. Mac an Ghaill found Black and Asian students rejected school but not education. Sewell (1997) found that Black street stlye brought students into conflict with teachers who didn't understand it.

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Influence of Black street style on white youths

1950s Jamaican music had a range of interesting rhythms and styles. This was popular with the mods and later the skinheads. White bands incorporated these rhythms into punk, developing Two Tone. As Black music forms were adopted by the white dominant music business young Black people moved on to new youth styles. In 1980s ragga emerged as a new musical genre for Black youth; a throbbing form of electronic music. The clubs became the basis of early drum and bass sounds. Black street culture was again being repackaged, commercialised and sold to white youths as 'cool'.

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Ethnicity and gender

Black feminists have pointed out that females may experience sexism or a rigid gender divide within the family and then a dual challenge of sexism and racism in wider society. In SE Asian families, decision making will generally rest with the males of the family. This means that young women may be understudied because of the complicating factors when conducting research. Most research has taken place in schools.

Safia Mirza found that Black girls resisted racism by succeeding in school. Mac an Ghaill found that 'Black sisters' succeeded by forming positive peer groups which supported each other in order to resist the labelling in which they faced.  The wearing of the hijab or other traditional clothing can be seen as reflecting a rejection of the maisntream culture of Western societies.

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