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Functionalist views of youth culture

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lucas clements

on 3 February 2014

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Transcript of Functionalist views of youth culture

Functionalist views of youth culture
Eisenstadt 1956
Eisenstadt argues that young people need to find a way to distinguish themselves from their parents.
They do this by moving from their ascribed to their achieved status however this can be financially difficult and stressful.
Eisenstadt believes that youth culture provides a way of dealing with that stress by providing a group of peers who are like-minded and of similar age who acquire same styles of dress and attitudes.
However, he believes that the style and dress and content of youth culture in NOT important, only the transition to adulthood is.
Criticisms of Functionalism
Functionalists see youth cultures as homogenous (all the same) despite their difference in personal taste and style
This means that functionalists only see youth culture as a whole and not as separate sub-cultures e.g. punks, mods, skinheads
By emphasising shared features of sub-cultures they are ignoring the clear, substantial differences between youth sub-cultures
They treat youth culture as age-specific and therefore to consider youth to be a state of mind if adults or small children adopt similar styles
Talcott Parsons 1954
Parsons talks about youth culture being a bridge between childhood and adulthood. He argues youth culture helps to detatch young people from their families and they can begin to achieve their own status as an adult.

During the phase of youth culture it is not uncommon for young people to get similar responsibilities as adults such as money management. Young people often get part time jobs while still in full time education..

To expand this view youth culture becomes a 'rite of passage' which all young people must journey throughout in order to integrate into adult society.
Functionalists believe that if something exists in society it must have a purpose. And youth culture exists with the purpose as a transitory phase for teens to move from childhood to adulthood.
Roszak 1970
Roszak argued that a gap emerged between young people and older generations and this was called the 'generation gap'
He implies that the values, interests and behaviour of youths was replacements for divisions based on class, race and gender
Roszak said that age is more important than all differences making the other divisions outdated and irrelevant.
Functions of youth
Reducing the gap between childhood and adulthood

Transitioning period to help young people to integrate as adults

Promoting social integration through youth culture and teaching young people the values of adulthood
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