Representations of Youth Theories

Report
By Ellie Beazley
Giroux (1997)
Giroux theory
 Media representations youths
= ‘Empty category’
 DUE to media = ADULTS (No
teenagers)
 Means – DOES NOT reflect
reality of teenagers
The role of media representations in
society
By looking at this theory we are able to
see that the representation of youth is
moulded together through what adults
believe and think. Thus then would lead
to uprising of stereotypes through the
media and also cause moral panics of
youths. When all of this has just been
created through hegemony and the media
raining down their ideas onto the adults
Representation of youth
 Giroux views show how the youth are
mistreated within the media. Describing them
as an ‘Empty category’ explains that adults do
not really understand what it is like to be a
youth in this generation. Therefore they just
plonk their own ideas into this empty space of
what they believe the representation of youth
it.
Effects of these representations
 Media involving just adults therefore
greatly effects these representations. The
adults do not want their generation to look
bad therefore use teenagers as a scapegoat to
place the blame on.
Acland (1995)
Acland theory
 Media representations –
Delinquent youths = enhance
hegemony
 Done by ideal of ‘NORM’ adult
and youth behaviour =
Contrasts deviant youth
behaviour = Unacceptable
The role of media representations in
society
By looking at this theory we are able to
see that adults believe that it is necessary
to show youths in such a disastrous way.
This is so they can tell youths how to act
an how not to act so they can enforce
middle class hegemony.
Representation of youth
 Media representations of young people =
allows state to control them (EG ASBOs)
 This is known as ‘Ideology of protection’ 
Idea that youths need to be CONTANTLY
watched
= Youth is the time where they learn about
social roles/values  State needs to confirm
these values
Effects of these representations
 This therefore effects the representations
as the adults see youths as all being reckless
and they have to keep enforcing that these
actions are bad. This is to enforce the
hegemony of how the should not behave
when I comes to adulthood. This means that
there will be more negative stories in the
media
Hebdige (1979)
Hebdige theory
 Studies British youth subcultures
(Late 1970’s)
 Focused on the reality of youth
cultures.
 Subcultures = Youths to express
themselves and to challenge
hegemony (Mostly through style)
The role of media representations in
society
By looking at this theory we are able to
see that the media in society tends to
ignore the good and the hard working and
focuses on the fun and the trouble. This
therefore makes adults believe that all
Youths behave in this manner.
Representation of youth
Hebdige argues that the
representation of youths is VERY
limited  Either shown as Trouble or
fun there is no inbetween.
 Suggest media representation of
youths in NOT REALITY
Effects of these representations
 Therefore this would effect the
representation of youths dramatically. Due
to them either being shown in two different
ways of being trouble or having fun in the
media it suggest that we never get to see
the good and hard working teens of society
who just fade into the background (Being
seen by the media as boring)
Cohen (1972)
Cohen theory
 Studied media response to mods
and rockers riots (60’s)
 Time ‘Folk devils’ emerge in society
 Reflect anxieties at the time
= Causing a moral panic to occur
The role of media representations in
society
By looking at this theory we are able to
see that the media places the blame onto
the youths seeing them as an easy target.
This causes the moral panic cycle to
happen in order to stamp down hard onto
anything that youths try to do that is out
of the norms.
Representation of youth
 The effect of the moral panic is to
reinforce hegemony by the media making
it clear what values society do not accept.
This shows that when youths try to
express themselves in a way that adults
have not seen before they try stop it by
showing it as a negative aspect
Effects of these representations
 Therefore this would effect the
representation of youths as it shows that
they are not allowed to express themselves
within a different way that society does not
see as acceptable. Therefore this places a
more negative effect on the youths as
everything they do out of the norms of
society is seen as bad.
Gramsci
Gramsci theory
Developed concept of cultural
hegemony  Social class (Middle class)
dominate society by: Their life = Normal,
natural and common sense.
The role of media representations in
society
By looking at this theory we are able to
see that the media always still with the
hegemony of the higher classes as these
are seen as more acceptable. Also that
they do not take into consideration how
other people live within society
Representation of youth
Therefore other social groups/classed
ACCEPT these values and class these as a
normal way of life. This meaning that lowe
social classes will always be shown as
negative as they are unable to have the
same lifestyle as middle class people.
Effects of these representations
 This would effect representations as all
representations of youth will always be
contrasted with middle class youths. Thus
meaning that if the lower class youths are
not living up to the standard of the middle
class youths then they will always be looked
down upon within society
Greg Philo
Greg Philo theory
Argues that  Contemporary ‘Hoodie
cinema’ reflects middle class anxiety
about the threat of the working class
The role of media representations in
society
By looking at this theory we are able to
tell that the media link social classes with
strong stereotypes. With the middle class
being the ideal person and anyone lower
than this being a hooligan.
Representation of youth
 This shows that anyone under middle
class is inserted into this ‘Hoodie cinema’
which is basically summing up that in all
films that if you are not middle class then
you are a thug in a hoodie.
Effects of these representations
Therefore this would effects working class
youths as by everyone else they would be
seen as thugs and upper class people would
be more threatened of them. Also it would
be harder for them to make something of
their life if they believe that they will always
be linked with the ‘hoodie cinema’ idea.
Gerbner – Cultivation theory
Gerbner – Cultivation theory
Studied effect of television 
Perception of crime.
Found  Watched loads of TV =
Overestimate crime (Mean world
syndrome)
News reports/TV dramas/ films = Lots of
crime = influence perception of world
(CULTIVATION THEORY)
The role of media representations in
society
By looking at this theory we are able to
tell that representation is closely linked to
what we see on the television. These then
cause peoples perceptions to change on
representations depends on what has
been shown on the television.
Representation of youth
 This shows that youth are always the
victims of being involved within crime
throughout many media platforms. This
therefore would give people the
perception that youths do all the crime
thus making them being represented
badly.
Effects of these representations
Therefore this would effect the
representation of youths by automatically
giving them a bad name no matter what
they are like. This is because of all these
programmes indoctrinating the public to
place the blame onto teens automatically

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