Toggle navigation

Teaching Youth Studies Through Popular Culture

Teaching Youth Studies Through Popular Culture Cover image
ACYS Publishing
Sarah Baker, Brady Robards
Publication Date
Oct 2014
Order form

Teaching Youth Studies Through Popular Culture is the first book designed specifically to provide teachers of youth studies and related disciplines such as sociology with an introduction to the ways in which popular culture can be deployed in the classroom to scaffold student learning.

This book acts as a handbook, presenting a synthesis of previously published reports on the use of the various forms of popular culture in the classroom together with case studies of innovative learning and teaching practices in both introductory and upper level courses. In a refreshing and open style, the authors explain what they did and why, and – importantly – how their students responded.

The book first discusses different pedagogical approaches on the use of film, television, music, literature, and print media and advertising; it then turns to detailed case studies of how popular culture has informed the teaching practices of the authors, including, for example, the use of karaoke and social media.

Read a full chapter of Teaching Youth Studies Through Popular Culture

Preview chapter 1




Popular culture and the youth studies classroom

Popular culture forms

Facilitating sociological thinking

The Small Screen
Illustrating concepts and highlighting issues

Popular Music
Testing understandings

Literature and Creative Writing
Developing critical consciousness

Print Media and Advertising
Representing young people

Case studies

Case Study 1
Digital narratives: Documenting youth transitions

Case Study 2
‘Teenage Dirtbag, Baby’: A karaoke icebreaker

Case Study 3
Researching youth: Subculture, film and practice ethnographies

Case Study 4
Social media in youth studies education


I was surprised by this book – but in a good way. Teaching youth studies through popular culture is aimed firmly at teachers, providing a rationale, resources and methodology for teaching youth studies in the 21st century classroom. The approach is participatory, uses form to reveal content, and, while firmly rooted in a scholarly tradition, it is utterly responsive to the imperatives of the ‘now’. Asserting the continuing relevance of a cultural studies approach, Baker and Robards show how film, television, literature and social media offer methods for active learning as well as texts for analysis. Accessible, practical, yet intellectually nuanced, this book offers the educator a series of methodologies that are student-centred and research-led, and which promise to reanimate the teaching of youth studies.
Rachel Thomson Professor of Childhood and Youth Studies University of Sussex
About the Authors

Sarah Baker

Sarah Baker is an associate professor lecturing in sociology and youth studies at Griffith University in Queensland. An award-winning teacher, Sarah received the Vice Chancellor’s Award for Griffith University Teacher of the Year in 2012, followed by an Office for Learning and Teaching Citation for Outstanding Contributions to Student Learning in 2013. She has published widely on the everyday cultural practices of young people and is the lead Australian author on the first year sociology textbook, Think Sociology (Pearson, 2011).

Brady Robards

Brady Robards, previously at Griffith University, is now a lecturer in sociology at the University of Tasmania. His research explores how young people use and thus produce the social web. Brady's work appears in international journals and edited collections concerned with the sociology of youth. Brady is also the co-editor of several forthcoming anthologies and special journal issues related to youth culture and/or new media. To find out more, visit Brady's website.

Engaging, well-written and insightful …
Andy Ruddock, Monash University