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Subject: LCSH





Researchers have long been fascinated with youth subcultures. Decades of study have yielded several competing paradigms, which attempt to interpret these subcultures in diverse ways, with each succeeding paradigm criticizing, and attempting to improve on, those that came before it. Rather than offering criticism of a specific youth studies paradigm, this article provides a critique of this body of theory as a whole by delineating several theoretical assumptions that have persisted across these perspectives. These include: (1) the tendency to group all youth phenomena under a monolithic conceptual umbrella; (2) a preoccupation on the part of researchers with style and the consumption of goods; and (3) the assumed lack of rational behavior found in subcultures and an accompanying inability on the part of subcultures to achieve real goals or effect social change. It is argued that such assumptions trivialize subcultures, have led to a priori understandings of these without adequate empirical grounding, and must be addressed if subcultures are to be adequately understood and appreciated.


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Publisher Citation

Debies-Carl, Jeffrey S. 2013. “Are the Kids Alright? A Critique and Agenda for Taking Youth Subcultures Seriously.” Social Science Information 52(1), 110-33. doi: 10.1177/0539018412466636

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