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sociology youth

Lectures: 17.04.03
Lecture One
Theoretical perspectives: early beginnings to present day
Lecture Two
Feminist challenges to youth and trouble: focus on teenage pregnancy and crime
The academic literature on 'delinquent youth arises in part from official concern over young peoples activities outside direct adult supervision by parents, teachers or employers.
Griffin, C. (1993) Representations of Youth: The Study of
Adolescence in Britain and America, Cambridge: Polity
Press.
and:
A set of concerns about the activities of young people and their supervision by
institutions or individuals representing the social order.
Johnston, L. (1993:96) The Modern Girl: Girlhood and Growing Up, Sydney: Allen & Unwin
Youth and trouble: theoretical perspectives
Biological determinism
Psychological theories
Sociological theories
Blumers symbolic interactionism rests on three premises:
humans act towards things on the basis of meanings that the things have for them
the meaning of things is derived from, or arises out of, the social interaction that one has with ones fellows
these meanings are handled in and modified through an interpretative process used by the person in dealing with the things he encounters.
Hester & Eglin, 1992.
In relation to criminal behaviour, symbolic interactionists concentrate on processes of social interaction in which:
certain behaviour is prohibited by law, i.e. the process of crime definition through legislation
certain acts and persons become subject to law enforcement, i.e. the process of crime selection by the police
certain acts and persons become fitted with the label 'criminal i.e. the process of crime interpretation by the courts
criminal identity is developed, maintained and transformed (e.g.notion of careers).
Labelling theorists interpret deviance not as a set of characteristics of individuals or groups, but as a process of interaction between deviants and non-deviants.
Giddens, 1997: 178
Deviance is not the quality of the act a person commits but rather a consequence of the application by others of rules and sanctions to an offender. The deviant is one to whom that label has successfully been applied; deviant behaviour is behaviour that people so label.
Becker, 1963:9
Critique of labelling theory
Some acts are intrinsically wrong, such as murder.
There are differences e.g. people from a deprived background may shoplift more than rich people; although deviant behaviour may increase after conviction, there may be other prior explanations for this.
Labelling theory did not fully explain how what came to be seen as deviant was defined the questions whose definitions, whose interests and why were not explored.
Mainstream vs radical
The mainstream perspective is positivist, empiricist and conservative, presenting itself as an apolitical and objective project. It is characterized by the tendency to investigate young people as both the source and the victims of a series of 'social problems, adopting the victim-blaming thesis in the search for the cause(s) of specific phenomena. The radical perspective has been more likely to adopt structuralist and post-structuralist analyses, and to de-construct the association between young people and 'social problems, asking different questions and viewing research as part of a consciously political project








Outline
Feminist challenge to the sociology of youth
Teenage pregnancy: a social problem or not?
Crime and invisible girls
While we were doing the research I was asked hundreds of times what my research was about (as researchers usually are). Almost invariably the response to my explanation was in the nature of 'How awful! 'Poor/Silly girls! Or 'I bet you find some problems there! As the research neared its end I began to reply that actually te women and children were mostly doing fine, that lack of money was their major problem and that given their educational and family background it did not appear that their financial circumstances would necessarily have improved if they had deferred motherhood beyond their teenage years. Many people either simply did not believe me or added 'Yes, but caveats to my account. Other people were astonished that the stories 'young mothers might have to tell would not simply be full of doom and gloom
Phoenix, A. (1991:1) Young Mothers, Cambridge: Polity Press.
Reasons Phoenix asserts that there is a perception that young motherhood and poor outcomes for the child are linked:
Moral.
Ambiguity of adolescents status.
Perceived to be most common among
groups which are seen to be
problematic.
Reflects reality i.e. outcomes are
poor (Phoenix argues this is not the
case).
Phoenix, A. (1991:1) Young Mothers, Cambridge: Polity Press.
Contribution of feminist critiques
Made girls and women visible.
Challenged theories which ... more

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Problems With Society

There are many problems right now in the society. Some of these problems can be easily solved, or can be impossible to solve depending how bad it is. Many people think these problems should be solved by the governments, since they are in charge. But we can also solve these problems if we get together. Not all the problems, but some that can be solved. I think the three major problems in the society today are: unemployment, violence, and pollution.
The first problem in the society right now is unemployment. Many people today are either unemployed or underemployed. Some of these people just stay home and collect their welfare cheque every month, when they should go out and at least try to get a job. If there are more people like this, the country would be poor and therefore the government would have to collect more taxes. Also the standard of living would decrease because of their income that is way below the average income. Right now, there is also a big gap between the low-income people and the high income people and this is becoming a problem. Low-income people are starting to get lower wages and higher income people are starting to get higher wages.
Another problem in the society is violence. Today, there are many violence in the streets, some schools, and also in the media. These violence in the streets can cause the neighborhood to become a bad place to live. This will cause people not to go there or move in there because of these violence. There are also many violence and gangs in some school, causing some of the school to be very unsafe to go. With these violence and gangs, students will probably be afraid of these people. In addition, the media can contain violence too. These violence, can cause kids to do what ever is on TV. For example, my little brother likes to watch wrestling and he sometimes does wrestling moves on me for no reason and thinking it's fun. Even though it doesn't hurt me because I'm bigger than him, he might hurt someone smaller in school or something.
The third problem in the society today is pollution. Many things these days cause pollution such as cars, air conditioners, refrigerators, factories, CFC cans, etc.. All these things together can cause a pollution problem in the society today. The CFC cans used to be a serious problem to the ozone layer, but luckily it was taken off the market. Refrigerators and air conditioners are also a problem to the zone because of the liquid called freon. These machines use this liquid that makes it cold, but when these liquids are released from damaging the machine, it releases a gas that breaks down the zone layers. In addition, cars also can cause a lot of pollution because of the carbon monoxide it produces. This would cause the air to be bad, cause global warming, which would cause the earth to have longer summers or vice versa, longer winters, and would also cause acid rain.
In conclusion, unemployment, violence, and pollution would consider to be the three major problems in the society today. People and the government should get together and try to solve these problems in order to make this planet a safe and good place to live. If these problems are not solved, there might not even be an Earth in the future to live on.

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