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The Dynamics of Youth Cultures

While the existence of traditional culture is adopted and preserved by the hegemonic dominant group, the minority and marginalized youth group form alternative culture (subculture) which sets them apart from the mainstream culture. The ideology behind subculture - developing a common sense of identity in the face of marginalization captures my interest. It is intriguing in a way, due to its members' expression of originality, and beliefs, which makes the subculture popular. But in a contextual sense, the violent, crude, and derogatory expressions embedded in some of the subcultures, flaw the strength and message they convey. This aspect negates the existence of subculture attracting hostile remarks and perpetuation of profiling and marginalization. Sociologists have tried to develop concepts with which to understand and analyze this prevalent cultural discourse in our society today. While Dick Hebdige is concerned with the style of relation between subcultures and social class in postwar Britain, Jeff Ferrell explores youth, crime, and criminalization of cultural spaces. Referencing on the above research reports and two other articles, this essay will review the cultural aspects within which the youth construct meanings, identity and perception with a focus on the functions of subcultures in contemporary American society.

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