Thesis on youth culture

He can be taught to do a little at farming, and at stock raising, and to dress in a more civilized manner, but that is all. Pierre Walter elaborates upon the citizenship education strategies aimed at immigrant men working in rural camps by Frontier College between and In order to provide examples of such exemplar citizens, Frontier College sent white, college-educated men to teach this curriculum.

The immigrant men who were exposed to this education had themselves been subjected to a racialized selection process in order to determine who could come to Canada in the first place. By the turn of the twentieth century, immigrants to Canada of non-European ancestry were excluded from acquiring citizenship Joshee, Indeed, Canadian immigration policy has almost always explicitly favoured white Protestants; it has only been at times of insufficient labour that such rules have been relaxed, and incoming immigrants have not matched the white, preferably British, ideal Abu-Laban, For example, Chinese 85 labourers and their families were asked to pay inordinate amounts in head taxes to immigrate between and , and then were excluded from immigration altogether Abu-Laban, These exclusions were also profoundly gendered, as many male Chinese labourers had come to Canada prior to in order to work on the building of the CP railway, and then were unable to bring their wives or children to join them in Canada.

Japanese and South Asian immigrants were also actively discouraged from settling permanently in Canada Abu-Laban, To summarize, schooling from its inception as a broad-based, widely available and ultimately compulsory institution in the mid-nineteenth century and into the turn of the twentieth century was deeply influenced by the project of Canadian nation-building, a process that found its political expression with the original act of Confederation in Schooling was seen as an integral tool through which to produce obedient, loyal, respectable citizens modeled after a white, middle class imaginary.

Dissent and public debate were strongly discouraged, and instead schooling focused on conformity to particular ideals that ultimately denigrated and denied the realities of working class, Aboriginal, and ethnic minority young people within the country. She highlights the role of middle-class social reformers, who saw themselves as compensating for the inadequate parenting assumed to be received by young people who grew up in poor and working class households.

The Big Sisters explicitly saw their role as ensuring the future of the nation, through the development of appropriate sexual, feminine and moral characteristics amongst their young charges. This labour was divided along clear gendered lines, where girls were taught cooking, sewing or laundry work, while boys received training in carpentry, shoe repair, barbering, maintenance and auto mechanics Sangster, , p She describes it as follows: To make its point the film contrasts Ginny and Caroline.

Ginny is the unpopular girl, packaged in multiple working-class signifiers. And, we find out from the solemn-toned male narrator, she goes parking with boys at night. Caroline, on the other hand, is very popular, in an easy kind of way which is, of course, the right way.

The end of youth subculture? Dance culture and youth marketing 1988-2000

She is dressed simply. She greets her friends calmly and pleasantly.

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She will, however, go on a date with a boy if it is okay with her mother. She will be home before an agreed-upon curfew. And, when she and her date arrive home, mother will greet them with a tray of fresh brownies. For both Caroline and Ginny, class, moral character, and popularity are indivisible , p Such educational endeavours as the film described above clearly and blatantly reinscribed gendered and sexualized norms upon young people in Canadian schools.

The representation of youth and youth culture in the novel Absolute Beginners by Colin MacInnes

Queer bodies had no place in a mainstream classroom, much as they do not today. Outside of public schooling, citizenship education for new immigrants shifted in emphasis from being primarily a political and moral enterprise at the turn of the century, to 89 becoming an economic enterprise by the s Joshee, The s marked the apex of the social citizen Marshall, , when the government promised to support and provide for all Canadians through the provisions of the social welfare state Brodie, This marked the beginning of an ever-growing emphasis on individual over state responsibility for citizen well- being, one of the hallmarks of neoliberalism.

Federal government spending on higher education increased dramatically, reflecting this shifting state priority Titley and Mazurek, As Titley and Mazurek note, The result of all this was a veritable mania for education throughout the s and into the first half of the s. However, this increase did not necessarily translate into an increase in equality of opportunity.

The focus on progressivism within education, though short-lived, reached its zenith during this period. This shift was heralded by the emergence of a plethora of reports on education in the late s and early s. It was during this period that standardized exams began to be phased out, and alternative schools began to appear. Multiculturalism as an official government policy also appeared during this period, and was promptly incorporated into schooling Mazurek and Kach, This period was experienced as an opportunity for greater flexibility and autonomy for teachers, and the incorporation of more non-traditional subjects into education Titley and Mazurek, ; this presumably included opportunities for incorporating alternative, non-normative conceptions of citizenship into every day practices of schooling and curriculum.

The expansive optimism and experimentation of the period soon came to an end, however. By the s, most of the alternative schools were either abandoned or absorbed into the public school system Titley and Mazurek, New reports were being issued that suggested the schools needed to return to the traditional curriculum emphases that had been briefly dislocated in the s. Much of the perceived educational malaise was blamed on teachers, and standardized exams began to be re-instituted.

Visible minority groups in Canada, and immigrants in particular, continue to be subject to higher rates of unemployment, lower incomes even if they are employed, and greater likelihood of working at manual labour jobs than the rest of the population Mata, , p Joshee points out that the immigrant version of citizenship education can be differentiated from school-based citizenship education for Canadians-by-birth in that the ultimate expression of citizenship participation is seen to be naturalization, rather than voting , p The s and s were, of course, also a period of increased social movement activity; although movements in Canada were highly influenced by the civil rights, feminist, and other social movements within the United States, they took on their own distinct character and quality within the Canadian milieu Kostash, Noteworthy for this project is that histories of Canadian social movements from this era are consistent in suggesting that people involved in the movements at the time were widely middle class and white pace, the title of a book on social movements in Canada, Germany and the US: Children of Privilege: Student Revolt in the Sixties Kostash, ; Levitt, This provides some context and insight, perhaps, into the story of the parents of participants within this research project who were themselves involved in social movements and passed on their knowledge of these contexts to their children more on this in Chapter 6.

Chunn , p. The response to this perceived inadequacy amongst young people has been a recent surge in citizenship education across liberal democratic states Best, ; Ichilov, ; Levinson, ; such initiatives have taken a wide-ranging array of approaches, including global education, civics education, and character education. Canada is no exception to this trend.

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In British Columbia, a new Civics 11 curriculum was implemented in , and is one of three optional credits that students can take to complete their social science requirement; in Ontario, the new Civics 10 came into effect in , and is a required course for all Grade 10 students; in Quebec, the new History and Citizenship education module was introduced as part of the Social Sciences curriculum in Educational discourse is a powerful arbitrator of cultural norms within societies.

Whether these norms are taken up, resisted, or co-opted, education unquestionably acts as a key cultural 94 agent through which acceptable behaviour may be defined. Discourse analysis is a tool for assessing the ideological and regulatory elements of discourse, as well as for investigating those traces of the past which remain within contemporary discourse. My intention here is to highlight some of the common-sense and often taken-for-granted language used within these curricula, and scrutinize the ideological effects that such language can create within the cultural and public frame Fairclough and Wodak, Each was freely available on their respective Ministry of Education websites.

However, I have not completed all of the steps necessary for the technical requirements of a CDA, according to Fairclough I noted that the curriculum was structured along similar lines to the English curriculum: for example, both incorporated geography, history and citizenship education into the same social studies curriculum, and the opening introduction to each appeared to be almost direct translations of each other. I began by reading through the documents to get a sense of the language used.

I found the three to be broadly similar in tone and content, although the Quebec curriculum carried a stronger emphasis on history and its utility for contemporary citizenship. It is important to reiterate here that this empirical exercise was a relatively minor one, particularly in relation to the ethnography which comprised the vast majority of my research.

For example, it serves to remind young would-be citizens that any rights they may be entitled to in Canada come with obligations to the state. That is, the emphasis is most decidedly not on the claims they may make on the state as its citizens. Surely knowing what one is entitled to is as valid an aspect of citizenship education as understanding what your responsibilities to the state might be.

If this focus on responsibilities over rights was not clear enough through the perpetual pairing of the two concepts, the repeated emphasis on responsibility, as it is linked to citizenship i. The constant reiteration of responsible citizenship is exemplified in this excerpt from the introduction to the BC Civics 11 curriculum: Civic action refers to the ability and inclination of citizens to advance their own civic interests and effect social change effectively and responsibly.

Engaging in responsible personal and social action encourages community membership and collective responsibility British Columbia Ministry of Education, , pp That is, the language of the curricular documents does seem to shift the role of the individual away from being one who can make claims upon the state for protection and well-being, towards one who is both responsible to the state, and who must be self-regulating so as to lesson the claims made upon the state.

Taken together, I found the results of this discourse analysis of the three curricular documents revealing. Although the power of these discourses of citizenship within our society can make it a challenging task to dissect the associated ideological aspects, a careful analysis of the terms associated with citizenship reveal that a common thread of emphasis on being responsible, dutiful, ethical, and informed are found throughout. That is, it 99 can be difficult for all of us to gain enough distance and perspective on the norms of our every day lives to appreciate how they may be linked up to wider cultural and social pressures to behave in particular ways.

These discourses are particularly compelling because of their congruence with the humanitarian, liberal democratic image that Canada consistently reproduces for itself. As noted in Chapter 2, Nikolas Rose has identified the ways in which the emergence of neoliberalism has intensified the subject-formation identified earlier by Foucault as essential to maintaining the compliance of citizens within liberal democracies.

What the above discourse analysis does not reveal within these curricular documents is a response to the question of who gets to be a good citizen within neoliberal times.

"'We are the Mods': A Transnational History of a Youth Subculture"

Yes, the citizen ought to be responsible, reasonable, informed, and active, but what happens if these forms of citizenship are only available to a few? More on this in Chapter 7. The social realities of young people within this study suggest otherwise, however. As noted by van Dijk , while discourse analysis can help to reveal some of the ideological aspects of particular texts in this case, the neoliberal ideology of the self-perfecting subject , it is not always possible to directly associate the forms of discourse used with the broader conditions of social inequality to which they may otherwise be linked.

This is why discourse analysis is best understood within a wider context of sociological and socio-cultural inquiry, and why I am using it as only one aspect of this wider study. These issues will be the concern of the remaining chapters of this thesis. Thus the history of citizenship education in Canada reveals, as a trace of the past, the priorities and concerns of this particular nation-state.

For related critiques of citizenship and the state in Canada and elsewhere, see Brown, ; Gilroy, ; Lister, ; Phillips, ; Razack, Citizenship education has taken a specific turn in the last 30 years or so, a turn that is particularly relevant to the young people within this study who attended school in the latter part of this period. I located these within the curriculum documents of the three provinces where I carried out my ethnographic study: British Columbia, Ontario, and Quebec.

Since the s, the liberal welfare state of the post-war period has begun to give way to the neoliberal state of social service retrenchment and economic globalization. In its wake has come a renewed interest in ensuring that young people take up appropriate citizenship virtues, and this has resulted in a renewed emphasis on citizenship education across the country.

Each of these elements, while occasionally contradicting one another, are also manifested in some of the varied moral claims made by young activists today, as they attempt to navigate the contemporary context of the Canadian nation-state.

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  5. It can also be found within the wider cultural sphere of representations of citizenship, such as the media images documented within the next chapter. As such, they cannot help but have an impact on youth activist subcultures, navigating as they are the nexus between citizenship and dissent, state participation and state rejection, and all the accompanying pressures and expectations that settle on the shoulders of young contemporary subjects within the current milieu.

    It is to this complex context, and the stories of the young people living within it, that I now turn. This now well-established picture tells us little about how young people actually experience these cultural forces as they navigate the contemporary political and social order. This chapter attempts to address these issues at least in part, by turning to the ethnographic data collected over my year of field work in Toronto, Vancouver, and Montreal.

    Cultural studies and the question of urgency. The ways in which culture shapes our experiences of the world is thus difficult to explain; the ways in which culture shapes our experiences of the nation-state is particularly elusive. Such a view of culture is commonly held amongst those cultural studies theorists trained within or influenced by the Birmingham School for Contemporary Cultural Studies. As noted in Chapter 2, culture is understood to exist in intimate, although not always identifiable, relation to the nation-state. Following the work of Foucault, Althusser, and Bourdieu, culture is seen not as an independent entity evolving in some separate sphere of its own, but as dialectically linked to the priorities and preoccupations of the state within which it exists.

    These relations, however, do follow particular patterns — always with exceptions, never immutable, but with patterns nonetheless. It is my concern here to trace these patterns, drawing links between what I have witnessed and been told by participants with a larger theoretical conception of the role of the state and culture in relation to the every day.

    As discussed in Chapter 2, this concept allows us to better understand how young activists encounter the state and the broader cultural sphere through emotional experiences and anxieties -- things that appear as personal dramas but which are not that Bourdieu, — that shape their capacity to participate within the public realm. For example, I was more able to discern feelings of guilt and responsibility as remnants of Canadian liberalism versus the urge to participate in activist projects in order to create much-needed change.

    I also gained new insights into the ways in which I perpetuated class and race harms in my interactions with others, and felt more capable of scrutinizing my own behaviours for these hidden intentions. I critiqued this approach as one manifestation of the wider ideological influence of neoliberalism, with its emphasis on self- regulation and self-perfection.

    Various participants noted the way in which community involvement had come to be conflated with the idea of good and successful citizenship. Nancy age 20 made the following remark: Nancy: The school did encourage participation in extracurricular activities, universities required it, or highly recommended that kind of, a portfolio that included community participation and a lot of non-academic criteria like that.

    So those were, like highly, definitely incentives.

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    Nancy: To get involved and stuff like that. And it was just part of the, you know, the portfolio of a good student is one that even though [one] succeeds academically but [one also succeeds] otherwise. Nancy notes that her community involvement was recognized and encouraged by the school as one manner in which to enhance her chances of getting a good position at a university, and that this, unsurprisingly, acted as an incentive to her own participation. That activism and forms of community work encouraged by contemporary schooling were conflated was noted by participants, often with some trepidation.

    And, so yeah. I had attended two events that day as part of my ethnographic research, the first a speech by Craig Keilburger, founder of Save the Children, the second a memorial put on by the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty. It was being given by Craig Keilburger, who founded the international anti-poverty organization Save the Children at age The auditorium was filled with something students and well-heeled professor types. Keilburger was relaxed and confident; now age 23, he was an accomplished public speaker. His message was that one individual can make a difference, and he emphasized the benefits of volunteering, stating that it would make us feel better about ourselves, giving us the same endorphin high that can be had from a good run. He stated that for about a third of what we spend on perfume, we could eradicate world poverty. Rather than stay and enjoy the generous spread of post-lecture delicacies, I headed for the subway, knowing that it would take some time to get over to the far west side of the city where the Ontario Coalition Against Poverty OCAP was holding a memorial service for Vasyl, a former member of the Pope Squat.

    Two mounted police officers prodded their horses back and forth along King Street, also surveilling the small gathering. She spoke of his contributions to the Pope Squat, of how he had been happy being part of a community, of how he had been living on the streets before that, and that after the Pope Squat closed, he had been forced back on the street, as had all of the people who had lived in the Squat.

    She spoke of how after his death by suicide, the City of Toronto had refused to pay for his burial. I shivered as I listened to her, thinking about how difficult it would be to be homeless on a night like this. They did this by memorializing a man who had been marginalized literally to death within its structures.