Initially, delinquency and crime provided the lens through which academics discussed youth culture. Studying deviant behaviour ensured that criminologists focused on questions of re-education and the relationship between the newly-branded ‘teenager’, delinquency and youth culture.With the emergence of Cultural Studies in Britain, ‘youth’ was interpreted in generational terms, through which a critical understanding of the changing nature of British society could be inferred. Across the academic landscape of historical studies, however, youth cultures tend to play but a minor role in general overviews and historical narratives of the history of European societies after 1945.
The workshop ‘How to Write and Conceptualize the History of Youth Cultures; will endeavor to emphasize the importance of framing the history of youth cultures after the Second World War within larger social and cultural developments of European societies after 1945: that is, shifts in the world economy related to the international division of labour and the emergence of a dominant service sector; geo-politics (the Cold War and after); the transformation of class in society; the end of empire and new patterns of migration; the transformation of gender and sexual relations; new forms of urbanization and urban development; new technologies and the influence of (new) media.
With a strong focus on the history of British youth cultures, the workshop discusses the impact of social and cultural development in four areas: The transformation of work and leisure (1); the driving forces of youth cultures (2); the influence of space on youth (3); gender dimensions of youth cultures and their history (4). By locating youth cultures in their wider historical context, it hopes to explore how the practices and products of youth culture helped reflect and shape the late twentieth and early twenty-first centuries.
Panel I: Driving Forces of Youth Cultures
Matthew Worley, University of Reading: ‘Suburban relapse: boredom, alienation and despair’
David Wilkinson, Manchester Metropolitan University. ‘Agents of Change’: Post-Punk and the Libertarian Left in Britain
Panel II: From the Urban to the Rural. The Influence of Space on Youth Culture
Sian Edwards, University of Sussex: Growing Up in the Countryside
Felix Fuhg, Humboldt University Berlin: The Metropolitan Experience. Youth Culture as an Urban Phenomenon
Panel III: Gendering Youth Cultures
Lucy Robinson, University of Sussex: Taking Girls’ Subcultures Seriously
Laura Catherine Cofield, University of Sussex: Riot Grrrls: Fangrrrling Feminism
Panel IV: The Transformation of the Work and Leisure Regime and the Impact on Teenager
Keith Gildart, University of Wolverhampton: Coal Mines, Cotton Mills, and English Rock ‘n’ Roll: Reflections on the history of work, class, locality, and popular music in post-war Britain
Stephen Catterall, University of Huddersfield: Keeping the Faith: A History of Northern Soul
Center for Metropolitan Studies