The Rise Of The Teenager

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate September 2001

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Examine the rise of the "˜teenager' during the 1950s and 1960s and discuss the material culture associated with this emerging section of the population.

"The "˜culture' of a group or class is the peculiar and distinctive "˜way of life' of the group or class, the meanings, values and ideas embodied in the institutions, in social relations, in systems of beliefs, in mores and customs, in the uses of objects and material life. Culture is the distinctive shapes in which this material and social organisation of life expresses itself."� (Clarke et al.1991) This essay examines the lifestyle of the young in their different groups and subcultures and what effect this had on the fashion of that time. Was the youth movement fed by the media and rock music and it's idols, or was the social and economic climate the cause? We identify youth culture with its music, styles and leisure consumption.

Post war youth did engage in distinctive cultural pursuits and this was closely linked with the expansion of the leisure and fashion industries, directed at the new "˜teenage market'.

The rise of the teenager in the 50s and 60s came about for a variety of different reasons, namely due to the dramatic changes in the Western world, which was a result of the end of the Second World War. Social and economic changes had been underway throughout the 1950s: gains in private affluence, growth of consumerism, rise of commercial television, longer education, greater job opportunity and increased social mobility.

The post-war baby boom and economic boom was the underlying factor in the rise of the teenager. Youth culture was a product of the changing times. There was an increased importance of the market and consumption and growth in the youth oriented leisure industries. All of a sudden young people began...