Very brief notes, almost a brief list of chapter contents on: Brake, M.  (1980) The Sociology of Youth Culture and Youth Subculture.  London: Routledge and Kegan Paul

Dave Harris


It is possible to develop the classic CCCS line, but also to see youth culture structured by masculinity.  The notion of class struggle remains as a route towards liberation.

Chapter one

Again the problem and potential lies in class struggle.  Groups are polarised through labelling, driven by a dominant ideology.  There are some American references

Chapter two

Skinhead racism is not amplified by them but by the media (78).  Rejection from school is also important, and this is supported by survey data.  Glam [ask your parents] is also a manufactured subculture.  Even hippies retain conventional notions of masculinity (82).  Empirical work on the 'focal concerns' of youth indicate that they are 'masculinity, football, a Puritan work ethic, fatalism, and realism' (84).

Chapter four

The chapter contains lots of figures and demographics representing the numbers in that particular period, and blames National Front demagogues for demonizing them (121).

Chapter five

The cult of femininity is one possible response to youth unemployment (138).  Domestic labour is a major factor as well.  Young women can escape into romance and develop 'bedroom culture' (143).  MacRobbie has studied female subcultures in ways which replicate Willis.  Generally, feminism has not had much influence in the dominant subcultures, any more than it has in 'respectable society'.  There are some emerging studies of gay subcultures.

The overall theme is one of complexity when discussing the class determinations or political implications of youth sub cultures.  Compensation is an equally likely theme.

Same sort of notes on: Brake, M.  (1985) Comparative Youth Culture.  London: Routledge and Kegan Paul

Dave Harris

[this book is basically a slight update with added comparative bits]

Chapter one

This cites Woods as arguing that middle class groups also want social change, while working class groups seem to want accommodation.

Chapter two

There is an American background to the cult of youth, seen, for example in the use of Parsons in Murdoch and McRon.  American studies indicate that youth is marginalized rather than comprising a separate class (45).  'Stratified domains' mediate between class and delinquent modalities [as in 'structures of opportunity'in the classic studies?].  Plummer has also pointed to some supportive socialising sub cultures.

Chapter three

The British work shows the interconnections of the National Deviancy Conference, the Leicester School, and CCCS, especially in the collection by Mungham and Pearson.  The criticisms in Cohen's introduction to the 1980 version of Folk Devils and Moral Panics are noted (70) [basically, Cohen argued that the concept had been over politicized].  We find more American themes in the work of Matza, connecting delinquency, radicalism, and bohemianism to class and ethnic cultures.

Chapter five

There is now a new bit on hispanics (129 F), and chapter six is on Canada.

Chapter seven

The work on girls now includes bits on fighting girls (173), and notes that Australian girls are not as interested in romance.  American female punks is shows certain class differences (176) so, for example, 'dressing rather than being punk' is more common among middle class young women, and is used as a kind of cultural resource and buffer against the notions of young motherhood and unemployment.  Peter Woods has also criticized the romanticism of CCCS perspectives [Youth Generation and Social Class, 1977, OU Press].  He's more interested in the impact of unemployment on youth, especially girls, and notes that empirical studies of attitudes show both conservative, even racist, stances and revolutionary ones, including a belief in violence.

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