Topic 11: Youth cultures and nation

  • Created by: zoolouise
  • Created on: 01-05-16 12:30

White youth racism and ethnic minorities

Many writers from the CCCS noted the basic racism of the cultures they studied, these attudied however were not fully interrogated or explored. Willis's Lads in the 1970s routinely used highly offensive language to describe non-white youth in a way that was casual and most people nowadays would see as unacceptable. Hebdige describes the use of the swastika by skinhead boys as being nothing more than an attempt to shock, this is a rather kinly view of their attitudes. Gelder (1997) points out that the CCCS was so focussed on issues of symbols, style and attitude that they overlooked what many subcultures were actually doing. The skinheads were fighting at football matching, being sexual predators, aggressive with girls, picking fights with vulnerable people, drinking, being violent and also abusing drugs. These anti-social behaviours were group activities and both threatening and dangerous for those targeted.

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Race and 'other'

The concept of otherness is a useful one when discussing issues of nation and race amongst young people. The theory is that we build identities from what we are not - boys may assert masculinity by not being feminine and rejecting things they see as feminine. Young people may assert their sense of national idetntiy by not being Black or Asian, leading to an assertive 'whiteness' and racist behaviours.

Many youth cultures are an urban or former council estate phenomenon. Some youth cultures linked to racism are foudn in areas where migration patterns mean that there are also many non-white minority groups. Nayyar suggests that white ethnicity is therefore reinforced in such areas because whtie working-class youth choose to see Britishnses as under threat.

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Race and white nation

Riots involving racial elements have occured at regular intervals in British cities since the end of WWII. These have not alway been white verus non-white. There have been many occassions where communities have unified themselves against the police. This is a common discourse of inner city rioting. Inner city areas have been targeted by racist groups. Bagguley and Hussain (2001) found that rioting in Bradford had occured after a group of white racists marched through a multi-ethnic area of Oldham shouting racist slogans. Modood (1997) pointed out that in many areas of working-class poverty and deprivation; the poorest communities are often those of Pakistani and Bangladeshi origin. Young white youth have often seen themselves as being the vicitims of poverty and deprivation and they've also been targeted by racist political groups.

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Nation and youth subcultures

Lloyd Martin (2002) looing at Maori youth subculures suggested that members of ethnic youth subcultures developed an identity linked with concepts of nation. By being good at the subculture individuals can gain respect.

Consumption - Ethnic cultures becomes a main source of identity so buys clothes and items associated with it.

Social values - The subculuer and knowledge of ethnicity become a source of cultural capital and status.

Life styles - The indiviudal can become a ternd setter in the local community and subculture.

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