Topic 2: The history of youth cultures

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  • Created by: zoolouise
  • Created on: 28-04-16 15:50

The origins of youth culture is 1950s Britain

In the early 1950s Britain was emerging from devastion of WWII, this meant people were still experiencing rationing of clothing and food and the centres of many citise were bombsites. Imported American music and fashion captured the imagination of young people who watched American films, and enjoyed American popular music such as Rock and Rock, and who copied American fashions initially. This inspired the development of spectacular youth cultures.

The earliest of these spectacular youth cultures was the Teds, or Teddy Boys. They listened to Elvis Presley and had elaborate quiffs in their hair, they wore expensive fashion items and their drug choice was alcohol. They were assosicated with flick knives and sometimes guns left over with the war. The movement died away after racist rioting by the Teds in 1958 and was replaced by Mods and Rockets.

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Social conditions and youth culture development

The earliest years of the 20th century were marked by war and economic depression, young people weren't in a position to deevlop youth cultures and rebel against society. In the mid 1950's society was changing and young people had freedoms and choices that weren't possible beforehand.

  • Growth economy - Lewis (1978) said that rebuilding the country and the growth of the manufacturing industry meant working class youths had jobs and a disposable income.
  • High disposable income - Most people left school at 15, men had to do National Service. They were in work and able to save, they were away from the influence of the family and exposed to influences away from home.
  • Delayed adulthood - People moved from school to employment, married around twenties, they had the freedom to delay adult responsibilities, saving money and having fun.
  • Leisure - Their hours of work were shorter, they had more leisure time and cash to afford things
  • Targeting of teenagers - Media companies realised that thy had a target market of young people with freedom and money. Films and music products, dance halls and coffee shops sprang up.
  • Mutli-cultarism - Fowler (2008) claims that people were aware of other cultures; there was immigration into Britain, new music styles were heard, people travelled and were aware of different cultures, there was more mixing between young people of different social classes.
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