Andy Bennett: Youth cultural practice and well-being
Academic research on youth cultures is now an established aspect of many disciplinary fields, including (cultural) sociology, cultural, studies, media studies, (social) history, criminology and psychology. During the 1970s and 1980s, the dominance of subcultural theory within and across different fields responsible for generating youth culture scholarship tended to produce a focus on deviant and / or resistance based youth leisure practices (see, for example, Hall and Jefferson, 1976; Brake, 1985). Problematically, such work has tended to skew the emphasis in youth cultural research towards aspects of crime, delinquency and other pathological facets associated with social inequality and exclusion. Although such matters cannot be disassociated from youth cultural practices, such a thematic bias evolved at the expense of work offering a more balanced view of such practices, including positive effects that contribute to the well-being of those young people involved. Twenty years ago Bennett’s (1998; 1999) work on the Frankfurt Rock Mobil project offered insights as to how creative involvement in rap and other music projects had positive effects for youth in terms of social inclusion and self-esteem. As the capacity for youth to engage in such creative projects, often utilizing skills they have acquired as part of youth cultures, for example, punk, hardcore and hip hop (see, for example, Haenfler, 2018; Golpushnezhad, 2018) have grown, opportunities to study and evaluate the connections between this involvement and aspects of youth well-being have also increased. The emergence of creative digital media technologies since the late 1990s have been an important part of this shift as has the increasing emphasis now placed on creative practices as an aspect of youth transitions. The purpose of this keynote lecture will be to provide a preliminary overview of this emerging field of research and how it may help provide a more comprehensive understanding of how young people’s involvement in youth cultural practices provide avenues for an increased sense of well-being in youth, and indeed post-youth, stages of life.
Keywords: youth; youth culture; music; creativity; well-being.
Sian Lincoln: Getting away from it all? Teenagers, Private Space and Wellbeing