Topic 5: The position of young people in society

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  • Created by: zoolouise
  • Created on: 29-04-16 17:35

Social construction of youth

A social construction refers to an idea about something that's created by society. Youth is a recent one, there's no age where one can no longer be said to be young, or when one has become a youth rather than ca child. Pearson said that each generation has a view of young people's behaviour being better in the past. Young people themselves are seen as problematic and dangerous due to youth being a relational concept, it only exists in opposition to adulthood. 

Adults are grown up, mature and responsible, however, youths are not yet grown, immature and irresponsible. Adults arrived at an identity an youths are developing an identity. 

Adults are usually seen as powerful and controlling, on the other hand youths are vulnerable and in need of control. Adults also conform to social norms whereas youths rebel and challenge them.

Most adults have thoughtful behaviour and an awareness of their consequences, youths are vulnerable to risky and dangerous behaviours. Adults are full members of society whereas youths are threatening to forces of law and not really responsible for events.

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Problematic views of youth


In the 1990s, New Labour governments and Conservatives were concerned about the number of youths Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET). Policies were put in place to reduce the number of NEETS. The age you can leave school is now 18 to tackle the problem. However, youths have very limited opportunities as well as very little support.

Young single mothers

A mostly mythical belif is that young people have babies in order to onbtain council housing. 

Gang culture and crime

Gang crime is associated in the young. Government have introduced new offences to contrl gang violence including a range of new offences, and invested heavily in support for researched into it.


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Problematic views of youth

Mental health

Young people have more mental health problems than previous generation. The ONS (2005) report stated that 10% of young people have mental health problems. There's higehr rates of self-harm, anxiety and depression among young people than ever before. Boys have higehr rates of behavioural problems and girls are more likely to experience emotional problems. Boys are more likely than girls to experiencem ental ill-health. Mental health issues are linked with poor behaviour in schools, risk behaviours such as smoking, drugs and alcohol abuse and with risky, promiscuous or abusive sexual behaviours. The government is investing money in health care for young people as it's argued that early support prevents future mental health issues from developing.

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