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The Role of Globalization of Social Construction of Youth Culture

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The role of Globalization of Social Construction of Youth Culture

The purpose of this paper is to address the role in which globalization plays in the social construction of youth cultures. The phenomenal impact of communication technology on youth culture has generated a continuous debate since the 1970’s (Andrew, 2003, p. 1). The

emergence of youth culture was a result of consumer market, which created diverse styles for young people worldwide (Grixti, 2008). Since the introduction of globalization, there has been a dramatic change in youth culture causing a greater shift within societies. As globalization rapidly changes, the world becomes more complex place for young people (Bourn, 2008). Therefore, a significant number of youth globally are having difficulties identifying themselves and finding their sense of belonging in this world (Bourn, 2008). Sociologist has provided strong evidence that globalization on youth culture has not only contributed positively to society but also have negative impact on the current global youth (Kahn & Kellner, 2002).

To outline the aforementioned statement, the scope of this essay will confine on youth culture and the influential paradigm that contour youth cultural globally. The theoretical perspective such as post-modernism will be explored to provide a depth understanding of cultural studies. Altogether, this discussion examines the impact of globalization on communication technology and music and fashion industry of youth culture by observing different perspective of youths from both developed and developing nations.

Youth is defined as a person who is no longer considered as child and not yet recognized as an adult (Bourn, 2008). Youth culture is a group of people who share similar values, beliefs and social experiences and these similarities distinct them from other age groups (Heaven & Tubridy, 2003). The age in which a person is classified as youth differs among nations due to rapidly change of globalization. However, the united nation’s describes youth as young people between the age of 15 and 24 years (Kahn & Kellner, 2002). Asians countries comprise 60% of youth and with a total of 1.1 billion young people worldwide (Heaven & Tubridy, 2003). When differentiating youth from their counterparts it is not only age that distinguishes them but, also the level of agency particularly through education and their role in labour markets (Heaven & Tubridy, 2003).

Youth culture have undergone a lot of changes since its emergence, from an era Thompson (1995) terms “an impoverished conception of the self in which the self is the product of an external symbolic system” to the currently where formation of identity has a become an individual’s work, young people have to contract an identity through the consumption materials exposed (Thompson, 1995). Nonetheless, social context such as friends, school and the work force makes it possible for young people to construct their identity as well provides the

opportunity for identities to be shaped (Nayak & kehily, 2008). In addition, growing factors such as communication technology influences the formation of identity of young people across the globe (Gidley, 2002).

Communication technology such as Digital media has strong influence on everyday lives, of youths around the globe contributing to the problematic of self identification (Crawford & Goggin, 2011). Mobile phones are viewed by young people as an effective tool which can be used as a form of individualism and personhood (Crawford & Goggin, 2011). This is noted through the study of Crawford & Goggin, (2011) which indicated that 80% of young people between the age of 9 and 19 use mobile phones, resulting to be an individual media

technology. Youth of today, do not use mobile phones to make statement about their class within society but more importantly, it is used as form of self expression (Nayak & kehily, 2008). The increasingly usage of communication technology within youth culture around the world is due to young people desire to form popular image to others; to express their social status and to create visible personal characteristics to make an identity which can be notified externally (Gidley, 2001).

Postmodernism is one of many sociological theories that clarify the role of communication technology in the construction of youth cultures (George, 2004). Wallace et al (1998) argues that through the expose of commercialization of popular culture, today the age in which youth emerges is very early compared to previous youths. Therefore, the hybrid form of consumption by young people provides the central concept of post modern of youth culture (George, 2004). George (2004) point out that young people’s consumption of communication technology causes the shift within society creating boundaries of personal and the public. Evidentially, many contemporary youth cultural researchers have agreed that youth creates their identity through consumption and thereby, leisure such telecommunication and fashion is central to identity formation instead of social classes. Marketers of communication technology specifically targets young people by understanding the behaviour of young consumers and what their demands (Gidley, 2002). However, it is controversial to weather escalating of globalization and high-tech have imperiled or enriched youth culture globally.

Historically and currently, the changes that resulted in post-modernity cannot fully be conceived without understanding the role of western world in the production of new technology (Andrew, 2003, p. 176). Developed countries such as the United States are the cause of globalised communication technology due to their dominant economy and popular cultures which profoundly had influenced others nation in particularly the developing world

(Andrew, 2003, p. 179). Youth from developing countries who are exposed to communication technology.

Giddens (1991) defined Globalization as -‘the intensification of worldwide social relation which links distant localities in such a way that is local happenings are shaped by events occurring many miles away vice versa’. Globalization provides economical benefits while on the other hand it presents substantial cost which highly affects the cultural and social implication of young people at an unpredictable rate. Sociologists supports the concept that globalization is creating inequality between the developed and developing world (labour market) and the increase globalised world leads to disconnection of youth from the rest of society and difficulties in youth identities ( Griffin C, 2001 pg 2).

Globalization has lead to the increases of inequality of youth between and within countries. This is observed through that in era of globalization where global is becoming local, the gap between the richest countries and the poorest in the world has increases (Joyce, 2008). However, at the same period the World Bank have witnesses the decline of poverty in industrialized countries like India, whereas in Africa, the growth rate per capita has dramatic reduced (Joyce, 2008). Nevertheless, young people from the world poorest countries that are exposed to capitalized world are facing complexity of following the latest paradigm of mass media and surviving the daily live. On the other hand, young people globally are pressured to meet the demand of their social groups such as having the latest communication device which highly affects those from least socio-economic backgrounds.

There are numerous contradictory theses that emerge in the popular imaginaries of young people because of mobile media and social networking. Youth is the period where identity is contracted, however, social changed due to mass production and mass consumption of

globalization makes difficulty of adolescent to making meaning of their life and what is expected of them Averagely, young person see a day about 400-500 advertisement through digital media of everyday usage (Crawford & Goggin, 2011). Therefore in society, there is greater fear that, mobile phones and communication technology used by youth culture which allows individualism possible leads to social isolation and addition to social networking (Crawford & Goggin, 2011). For example, research by tejada D (2010) found out that young people in America send around 3, 146 text message a month through mobile phone which is similar to most youth from western nations, furthermore, the easy accessibility of social networking have complicated the process of youth Identity formation (George, 2004).

Another raising issue of globalization on identity social –construction is the impact fashion and music industry is having on global youth culture which results is the broadening shift between young people and society. The increase exposition of latest fashion and music emphasizes the theory of young people’s responsibility and maturity level depends on their role in individualism and therefore causes the cultural shift from us to personalized society. John (2010) supports this idea by his research one effect global youth in Nigeria. He argues that young people in Nigeria are abandoning their traditional dress and values and are in favor of western fashion and lifestyle especially that from Hollywood America. Also, hip hop music from American streets is overtaking the tradition music of many developing nation and therefore communities are gradually lose grip of the influence they once had on their youth identity formation (John 2010). India and also many muslin countries are facing the same challenging as Nigeria as cultural shift sweeps across the countries however, it is not only the western values that impact them, many young people yearns the Indian Bollywood for Materialism and hedonism (Sonia, 2008, p, 16). Altogether, youth cultures from developing world are hunting the western trends in the course of fashion, communication technology and music genre.

The ways in which globalization impact upon global youth culture is complex as it rapidly changes forcing youth to regularly re-think and reshape their sense of identity and place within society. The cultural, social and technological is continually influenced by new trendy of fashion and music; therefore young people have to create some form of identity that fits within a particular a social group. Globalization have substantial negative effects on youth because commercial media often shows rich celebrity with the latest fashion, music and device through technology that reinforces the youth to be distinguished between losers and winners due to their social appearance and consumption (bourn 2008).

Communication technology has many positive aspects on today’s youth, it allow them to communicate globally, instantly, simply, and more efficiently (World Youth Report, 2003). There are two major forms of communication technology that are common amongst young people these are cell phones and the internet (Sonia, 2008, p, 1). The usage of communication technology on youth has phenomenal impact. The Internet allow youth of similar interest to engage and, share personal information in an anonymous forum and stay in touch with people. Globalization allows young people to be who they wish to be, to express their desire and communicate with each other across the global. They have control over their social life, globally on a daily basis for example using the popular social networks of facebook, it give them the opportunities for them to construct their social profile and only allows people they wish to view. Scholar argue that, globalization made possible for young people to also have ‘online friends’ for the first time they can connect live chat. Global Youth, uses cell phones to represent the important demographic and an integral part of youth (Sonia, 2008, p, 1).

Another advantage role associated with globalization on youth culture is how young people can express their feeling and opinion through the free downloads of music. The music industry produces songs that relate to situation that global youth face in everyday live. Nayak & Kehily (2008) argues that because of globalization, hip hop and rap music can be transformed into other languages and can yet create an environment that entertains all young people with an

interest (Nayak & Kehily, 2008). This provides strong evidence that globalised music have become important part in cultural identity of young people.

Despite all the positive aspect of globalization on youth the culture, the most effective one is how mass media encourages young people to take action against the harmful issues that is globally impacting humans. Media is a powerful tool to raise young people’s awareness of global matter such as poverty and marginalization as well indicating their responsibility on this world (Youth in Action, 2010).

Globalization provides beneficial employment opportunity in the communication technology and fashion industries for young people globally. Academic writers including Gidley (2001) have state that, in today’s world, businesses and organizations use communication technology to share and gain information which involves emails, sending messages and good phones manners. Therefore, in western countries many industries are targeting you people with high technological communication skills. As the world becomes technology dominated, young people are getting for opportunities in the workforce than other age groups that is due to they engage in the globalised word at an early age. Young people are more likely to be employable at fashion industry due to their modernity and keeping up with the latest trends.

The finding in these report suggested that, globalization has impacted youth culture both negatively and positively after looking at the role of globalization in the social construction of youth culture such as communication information technology, fashion and music. In order to understand the role of globalised world in the identity social construction of young people, one must examine youth culture and identity, the role of post- modernism and the global scale of developing and developed nation.

As the globalization increase over the year, young people have changed their youth culture and identity through fashion, information system and music. This form of mass media helps young people to shape and reform their identities through consumption, which allows them to express themselves and their role within society. Conversely, the major disadvantages

associated with globalization is the inequality it creates within and between nations, youth from developing countries who also wants the western lifestyles but economically cannot afford the expenses and being with the latest trendy are facing the challenges of media. Whereas, the western youth are also struggling with their identity as the globalised world rapidly changes, they shift further from the rest of society making them feel isolated. On the other hand, in the globalised world, young people are benefiting from the technology dominated world because it provides them with opportunity especially, in the technology and fashion industry where they have more and knowledge and understanding then they counterparts. In addition, the social network connects youth culture of same interests together, which help them to express their feeling in anonymous way.

Consumer market understands the consumption behaviour of young people and their digital media such mobile phones are individualized to make statement about their consumer testers. Altogether, the weight of evidence suggests that globalization presents slightly more disadvantages effect on the social contraction of youth culture than advantages.

1. Bourn, D (2008) ‘ Young people, identity and living in a global society’ in Policy & Practice: A Development Education Review, Vol 7, Autumn 2008, pp. 48-61, available Crawford, K 2011, ‘Handsome devils: Mobile imaginings of youth culture,’ Global Media Journal, cited June 10, 2011



Griffin, C. “Imagining a new narrative of youth: youth research, the ‘new Europe’ and global youth culture”, Childhood, vol. 8, No. 2 (2001), pp. 147-166. Grixti, J 2008, ‘Glocalised’ youth culture as linguistic performance: media globalisation and the construction of hybrid identities,’ Noves SL. , viewed on June 1, 2011



George, S 2004, ‘Emerging Youth Cultres in the Era of Globalization Techno culture & TerrorCulture,’ cited May 22, 2011


Heaven, C, and Tubridy, M 2003, ‘Global Youth Culture and Youth Identity,’ Oxfam, cited May 29, 2011 YOUTH_PARLIAMENT/Chapter6_Global_Youth_Culture_and_Identity.pdf Kahn, R. and Kellner D 2002, ‘Global Youth Culture,’ London, cited June 8, 2011 Nayak, A and Kehily, M.J (2008) ‘Gender Youth and Culture: Youth Masculinities and Femineities, New York, Palgrave, chapter.




Andrew, B 2003, 'Globalization and race in the United States' Rowman & Littlefield Publisher. Inc, United States of American

10. World Youth Report, (2003), ‘Young People in Globalizing World,’, cited June 10, 2011 11. John, S 2010, ‘Global Youth Culture and Nigerian Youth,’ Kaduna State, Nigeria, cited June 10, 2011 12. Tejada, D 2010, ‘Teens Send 3,146 Text Messages a Month,’ Youth Media, cited May 28, 2011 13. Gidley, J 2001, ‘Globalization and Its Impact on Youth,’Academia, cited May 28,2011

14. Youth in Action, 2010 ‘European Year for Combating Poverty and Social Exclusion,’ cited May 20, 2011 15. Livingstone, Sonia (2008) ‘Taking risky opportunities in youthful content creation: teenagers' use of social networking sites for intimacy, privacy and self-expression. New media & society, 10 (3). pp. 393-411 16. Joyce, J 2008 ‘Globalization and Inequality Among Nations,’ cited June 3, 2011

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