Monday, 3 February 2014

Exam Q: Analyse the impact of media representation on the collective identity of British youth in the 1960s.

Collective identity is the shared sense of belonging to a group. This allows individuals to have a sense of identity and to be a part of something. In particular youths are known for wanting to discover themselves and place themselves safely in a group as a way of fitting in. There are many different sub cultures that have varied over the years.

Teenagers are often misplaced in society, Dick Hebdige states “Subcultures try to compensate for the failure of the larger culture to provide adequate status, acceptance and identity. In the youth subculture, youth find their age-related needs met.” which suggests that for teenagers to have their own identity then they have to group up together to create one themselves. This allows them have a place in society. It is thought that media representation of the collective identity of British youth influences teenagers to behave in a certain way. For example sub cultures shown in violent light may encourage actual youth to become violent.

British youth in the 1960s had several sub cultures, for example Mods or Rockers. There are two main representations of British youth in the 1960s, either violent or fun. Quadrophenia is a film that came out 20 years after the 1960s that has a mainly negative representation of British youth. The whole film is based around violence, drugs and sex. The divide between British sub cultures creates conflict and riots break out between the Mods and Rockers. Newspapers also wrote about the riots and British youth were once again portrayed in a negative light. Headlines included "Wild Ones Invade Seaside - 97 Arrests", "Wildest Ones Yet" and "Charge of the Mods at Margate"

Still to this day teenagers are represented in in a negative way. One of the main British youth subcultures that are picked out in the media is 'Chavs' which are often dipicted as a group of individuals that cause trouble. They were associated with the 2011 riots showing that the British youth is violent and a threat. However we cannot be sure of cause and effect, do British youth act in a negative way because of how they are represented and feel they need to act in that way?

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