Youth in Society


This issue of Snapshot showcases the work of a number of students who undertook Understanding Youth in the 21st century in semester 1 2014. This subject is a second year elective in the Sociology department running alternatingly during summer session at the city campus and session 1 at the Bendigo campus.

Sociology is concerned with the study of the structural arrangements and cultural patterns that shape group behaviour at every level of social action. In this particular subject students examine the place and position of young people in our society from a sociological perspective. Consequently, students explore questions such as: how and why do young people create subcultures? What does it mean to be a ‘citizen’? What are the benefits and drawbacks of youth social capital? What do we mean by ‘place’ and how is identity tied to it? And what roles do peers play in the life of young people? In short, in this subject, students explore important social issues affecting young people today.

In these particular contributions, students were asked to examine their own engagement in youth culture and explain their experience through sociological principles. Students chose from a set of broad questions relevant to their experience as young people and created a written piece (not necessarily in essay format), which explored their particular topic.  Their contributions represent academic research brought into ‘real life’ by the writer’s personal experience. These contributors have evaluated the position of young people within the Australian context through a social, economic and cultural framework, and explored how youth culture manifests itself within these contexts.

In this issue: Viktoria Graham and Monica Dunlop each write about experiences of young women within gaming culture; Evalyn Charalambous examines the experiences of young women in Sharpie subculture in the 1970s, and Rachael Gibson recounts her observations of how an everyday item – a pair of jeans – can change through cultural conventions and connote multiple meanings across generations.


Paulina Billett

Associate Lecturer, Sociology

La Trobe University


November 2014