Youth cultures

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In a broad sense, youth cultures refer to how youth social experiences are expressed collectively through the formation of distinctive lifestyles, located primarily in leisure or interstitial spaces. In a narrower sense, we define the appearance of "youth micro-societies" with significant levels of autonomy relative to "adult institutions".

Youth cultures are configured in specific times and spaces and developed, historically, in Western countries after the Second World War. It is the culture that developed among a group of peers, the cultural world of young people and adolescents, which is independent and even opposed to the adult one. In this sense, as Gillis remarked “the discovery of youth belonged to the middle classes, who monopolized it until the early twentieth century (...) Then, simultaneously in every Western country, the concept of youth was democratized, being offered, or rather, being required to all adolescents” (Gillis, 1981: 165). The specificities of different youth cultures are how they manage everyday life, not the more spectacular lifestyles that have appeared in Western societies that are difficult to find in other cultural contexts. Therefore, proper treatment of the forms of social relationship created by young people and adults should contemplate, with embedded knowledge at all times, a range of cultural possibilities. For young people, this knowledge is determined by the changes in the life cycle and the experience of the passage from childhood to youth, the imminence of other transitions and cultural structures. Youth cultures have a particularly keen understanding of the contingent nature of any cultural experience, dealing with it in the most appropriate way and strategically placing it beyond social labels.

Contemporary young people are affected by the influence of global cultures that face entirely new forms of socialisation, where they find no prototypes in previous generations. The production of this youth cultural construction happens at school, at work, at play, in the street, in relation with friends, teachers, parents, siblings and leaders. This process is influenced by both transnational and local cultural elements intertwined with class, gender, ethnicity and/or religious identities. The result is the diversity of youth culture that such a multiplicity of circumstances forces