Essay on How Mass Media Affects the Image of Adolescence

Essay on How Mass Media Affects the Image of Adolescence

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Since the “invention of adolescence”(Clarke 2009:1) at the start of the 19th century, we have seen multiple images created in regards to youth, created both politically academically and in the mass media. For the most part these images created are portrayed as problematic and damaging to society. They very often carry negative connotations such as lazy, disaffected, binged, unruly and broken. It could even be argued that just the word “youth” used alone could be seen as a negative connotation in its own right as it’s so rarely used positively. The aim of this paper is to see how the discourses that arise from these political, academic, and media led images effect how young people in modern day Britain are seen. This will be done by seeing how the mass media create this image of youth in western society, through the use of language, labeling and the development of moral panic. The effects these discourses have had on social and legal policy will then be discussed by looking at the cases of James Bulger and the English riots of 2011.
The representation of youth as a problem is not just a modern phenomenon it can be traced back to Victorian England, were many poor children were seen as a problem, for example the portrayal of the pick pockets in Charles Dickens Oliver Twist (1838).This negative image has continued over time within television and literature, from the image portrayed of mods and rockers in the movie Quadrophenia (1979) the unemployed “chav” and “hoodie” culture highlighted in the movie Kidulthood (2006) to the drug taking, binge drinking students, featuring in the television series Skins (2007-2012). Despite these images been written and created amongst different generations against different political and economical...


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The Guardian (2011) English riots were 'a sort of revenge' against the policehttp://www.theguardian.com/uk/2011/dec/05/riots-revenge-against-police [accessed 2/01/14]
The Guardian (2011) The Full Picture of sentencing Handed down to rioters. http://www.theguardian.com/uk/2011/aug/18/full-picture-of-riot-sentences [accessed 08/01/14]
The Guardian (2012) Police up to 28 times more likely to stop and search black peoplehttp://www.theguardian.com/uk/2012/jun/12/police-stop-and-search-black-people [accessed 24/12/13]
The Guardian (2013) Were James Bulger's killers too young to stand trial?http://www.theguardian.com/society/2013/feb/05/bulger-killers-young-stand-trial [accessed 2/01/13]
Gov.uk (2013) Preventing more young offenders from re-offending https://www.gov.uk/government/policies/preventing-more-young-offenders-from-re-offending [accessed 08/01/14]

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