By Mike O'Donnell
Age and iteration introduces scholars to the most sociological and anthropological concerns surrounding this subject, from formative years to previous age, and focuses, specifically, on formative years tradition.
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Extra resources for Age and Generation (Society Now)
A number of American sociologists have argued that a youth culture exists along the lines suggested by Abrams. One of the best-known presentations of this case is given in Peter and Brigitte Berger’s Sociology: A Biographical Approach (1976), where they refer to ‘the mass character of modern youth’. Succinctly, they note ‘quantitative’ and ‘qualitative’ aspects to this. The quantitative factors are that in modern society advances in medicine and hygiene ensure that more young people survive than in the past; and they have a mass presence in the educational system.
Historical perspective We can again use Philippe Ariès’s Centuries of Childhood (1962) to provide an historical perspective on the social construction of an age group, in 25 this case youth. The separating-off of youth was at first an upper- and middle-class phenomenon, and occurred mainly in the schools. The family as such played a less important part in the formation of youth than of childhood. The process of a separate and highly disciplined education for the well-to-do culminated in what Ariès refers to as the ‘claustrophobic boarding school’ of the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, of which Tom Brown’s Schooldays is the classic fictional account.
As Marxists, their main reference points for interpreting signs are social class and the dominant sociocultural system (the images and ideology of which are conveyed chiefly through the media). Phil Cohen, who was a creative influence on the CCCS in the early 1970s, identified four modes for the generation of subcultural style: dress, music, ritual, and argot (subcultural slang). While not exclusive, these modes provide useful reference categories. The term ritual perhaps needs explanation. It refers to the ordered and repeated expression of a particular collective behaviour – such as chanting or scarf-display at football matches.
Age and Generation (Society Now) by Mike O'Donnell