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Youth subcultures: Theory, history and the Australian experience (revised second edition)

Youth Subcultures book cover
ACYS Publishing
Rob White
Publication Date
Nov 2012
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This fully revised second edition is based on the original two youth subcultures books and more recent articles from Youth Studies Australia, and is edited by Professor Rob White, Professor of Criminology, University of Tasmania.

Youth studies as a whole is flourishing. Yet, within this broad field, certain topics consistently stand out as subjects to which we continually return. There is a persistent interest in youth subcultures, and of the complexities, ambiguities and continuities of street culture and youth group formation over time.

Youth subcultures, in varying forms, share many of the attributes of similar phenomena in the past yet, they incorporate in dynamic fashion the latest developments in technology, the influence of globalised communications, ever-fluid ideas about identity and the self, and widely varying commitment, consciousness and purposes.

Through case studies and historical sketches of a wide range of experiences throughout Australia, the book explores young people’s activities and behaviour, from bodgies and widgies in the 1950s through to the metalcore subgenres of the 21st century. It also examines the factors underlying the formation of diverse youth subcultures and reviews the theoretical debates on the interpretation of the cultural experiences of young people.

This classic text provides the grounding for an informed understanding of such processes now and into the future across three distinct aspects:

  • The Australian context
  • The diversity of view and opinions on the nature and dynamics of youth subcultures
  • The key questions pertaining to youth subcultures and their continuing relevance




Youth subcultures revisited
Rob White

Part one: theory

1. Re-assessing street kids
Gordon Tait

2. Youth theory: Marx or Foucault?
Howard Sercombe

3. Marxism & subculture
Sean Moysey

4. Sub-versions
Sandra Taylor

5. Aboriginal young people and youth Subcultures
Dave Palmer & Len Collard

6. Islands in the mainstream
Roger Slee & Sandy Cook

7. Cultural studies, youth culture & Delinquency
Kerry Carrington

8. Australian hip hop as a subculture
Tony Mitchell

9. The continuing importance of the ‘cultural’ in the study of youth
Andy Bennett

Part two: research

10. ‘Youth culture’: Disturbing priorities?
Bruce Wilson & Johanna Wyn

11. Young people researching their own cultures
Bev Beasley

12. Doing ethnography with young people
Rob Watts

13. Young women’s complex lives and the idea of youth transitions
Jennifer Buchanan

14. Youth subcultures, deviancy and the media
Paul Walton

Part three: history

15. On the streets
Lynette Finch

16. A patchwork
Judith Bessant

17. Bodgies and widgies
Jon Stratton

18. Youth, class AND Subcultures In Riots at the Bathurst bike races
Chris Cunneen & Rob Lynch

19. In: Red Hot Chilli Peppers, Out: Jason Donovan
Carey Denholm

20. Reflections on youth subcultures
Kenneth Polk

Part four: experiences

21. Girls, schooling and subcultures of resistance
Linley Walker

22. Piercings and passports
Paula Rowe

23. Youth-generated cultures in Western Sydney
Linda Forrester

24. Young people, dangerous driving and car culture
Hannah Graham & Rob White

25. Skateboarders, streets and style
David Snow

26. Homies and homebrewz
Miguel d’Souza and Kurt Iveson

27. Bubbling acid
Sebastian Chan

28. Good Buddha AND TZU
Ben Connor

29. is dIY doa?
Anita Harris

30. Like, I’ll tell you what happened from experience …
Paula M Foote

31. Sociality online
Catherine Waite

The study of youth cultures and subcultures is highly relevant in describing, explaining and interpreting the life worlds of young people. How young people organise themselves, the groups they create, the fashions and fads of which they are a part, the activities and behaviours they exhibit – all of these provide interesting and fascinating insights into the nature of the times.
About the editor

Rob White is Professor of Sociology and Director of the Criminology Research Unit at the University of Tasmania's School of Sociology and Social Work. Professor White is an internationally respected scholar in the fields of youth studies, sociology and criminology, and environmental and ecological justice. Among his books are: Youth & society; Youth subcultures; No space of their own; Juvenile justice; Crime & criminology; Crime & social control; Crime & society; Controversies in environmental sociology; Crime prevention; and Crimes against nature. He has extensive practical experience in working with youth and community workers, police services, teachers, drug and alcohol workers, government policymakers and academic researchers.