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Hegemony and Youth Culture Essay

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Hegemony is a concept that involves uses of power. It was created by Antonio Gramsci in order to understand the difference between dominant groups in society that have power and that use “intellectual and moral leadership” in an attempt to win over the less powerful submissive groups (Storey 8). In this way, hegemony will be demonstrated in youth culture. Willard states that the cultural authority of the dominant society must be questioned as to its legitimacy in the dominant role as the authority plays an important role in its production (739). Talcott Parson (qtd. in Osgerby) says that youth in his view, established behaviours and values, often perceived by older generations as unique and different from the dominant society which spread among the youth to form what is now known as “Youth Culture” (109). Subculture groups were created within youth culture in order to express opinions and views, often political, which was reflected in their behaviour and what they wore (Osgerby 109). In this case main society remained a dominant power that youth try to rebel against, hence, the use of hegemony.
One subculture youth group created is called punk. This started in the 1970s in Britain and America (Griffiths 234). More recently youth in New Zealand have adopted a similar subculture group calling it anarcho-punk. These groups were formed to establish a common community that differed from the larger community. Resistance from a larger societal group is part of what anarcho-punks sought to do (Griffiths 234).
People who conform to society have expectations of how other people should act and what they wear in public. Anarcho-punk achieved resistance in one way by the clothes they wore. Instead of looking ‘fashionable’ they c...


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...as tried to find a way to barter over youth culture in order to conform to society. The conflict between them has established a struggle of power, and youth continues to defy the dominant society. This is hegemony.


Works Cited

Griffiths, Richard. “Wicked Wardrobes: Youth and Fashion in Aotearoa.” Cultural Studies in Aotearoa New Zealand: Identity, Space and Place. Eds. Steve Mathewman and Claudia Bell. Melbourne: Oxford University Press. 2004. Print.
Storey, John. Cultural Theory and Popular Culture: An Introduction. Fourth Edition. Athens: University of Georgia Press. 2006. Print.
Osgerby, Bill. Youth Media. Routhledge. 2004. Print.
Woolard, Kathryn A. “ Language Variation and Cultural Hegemony: Toward an Integration of Sociolinguistic and Social Theory.” American Ethnologist. Vol. 12, No. 4 (November 1985), pp. 738-748. 31 May 2010. Print.


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