Youth Sub-Cultures, Popular Music and Social Change

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Youth Sub-Cultures, Popular Music and Social Change


From the Teddy boys to the Ravers, and from the Rockabillies to the Punks, the youth culture itself has undergone a rapid succession of stylistic and aesthetic changes. Young people’s social, economic and cultural life has been concerned more than any other social groups. Youth culture sometimes could lead fashion that becomes the popular debate for a continuous stream of media investigations, government reports and academic literature. Actually, the study of youth sub-cultures tells that it is the production of era, and change itself along with the evolution and change of the society. It exists in any changing society, whatever capitalist USA, or communist China. At the meantime, the focus of youth as a social problem has moved from the issues of crime and delinquency to the symbolic of the scale and dynamics of wider patterns of social change. In the years following the Second World War a proliferation of style-based youth cultures, especially in Britain, as invaluable:

‘It tells us not only about the social and economic experiences of young people, but also provides us with an insight into the broader climate of social and political opinion at specific historical moments.’  (Osgerby, 1998) <1>

It may be inevitable that conceptions of ‘youth’ will prominently figure in attempts to make sense of social change. At instances of profound transformation, however, youth’s potential capacity has become powerfully extended.

Popular music as an important symbol, or element of youth culture is now familiar of everyday life in a range of global diffuse social settings. Initially restricted to the developed industrial regions where the musical and stylistic innovations had the greatest cultural impact on youth, music and style have gradually become important cultural resources for young people all over the world.

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Popular Music and the Social Change

In many different parts of the world popular music is a primary, if not the primary, at least the main leisure resource for young people. Popular music features in youth’s lives in a variety of different ways and in a diverse range of contexts. Whatever nightclubs, live concerts, cinema movies or TV commercials, pop music fulls our lives. The significance of popular music as an aspect can be traced back to the advent of rock’n’roll in the early 1950s, especially with the release of Rock Around the Clock, a feature film ...

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