Youth generated cultures in Western Sydney

by Linda Forrester

Institution: University of Western Sydney
Degree: MA(Hons)
Year: 0
Keywords: youth; culture; economic; pedagogical; graffiti; skateboarding; street dancing; creative process; Western Sydney
Record ID: 1069613
Full text PDF: http://handle.uws.edu.au:8081/1959.7/440


The study focuses on the types of cultural practice that are, in the main, generated by the young people themselves (hereafter referred to as youth generated cultures) who fall within the age group of 14-20 yrs of age. The research was undertaken in the Western Sydney region, which is the largest expanding population in Australia, and is regularly defined as a socio-economically disadvantaged region, therefore, an important factor within this study is the issue of class determinants. The paper explores the youth generated cultural practice of graffiti, skateboarding, street machining, and street dancing. These creative practices challenge traditional notions of culture and the arts, however the young people also employ strategies of an aesthetic nature in their creative process. Youth generated cultures are actively engaged in criticism through the use of instrumentalist aesthetics such as Monroe Beardsley describes. The thesis proposes that youth generated cultures have, in a united and structured manner, provided for themselves a framework of economic and pedagogical support that has afforded them a place within the cultural mainstream without the recognition or approval of mainstream cultural establishments. It is argued that these particular youth generated cultures are not rebellious or destructive subcultures, that they are creative in nature and have been established primarily to produce and display their creative cultures. Youth agency is essential to the character of these youth generated cultures and it is this agency that is under challenge from the cultural hegemony. The young people involved in youth generated cultures demand that any account of their cultural practice must also accept the agency of youth as fundamental to their cultural status. Master of Arts (Hons) (Art History and Theory)