ANT322H1 Chapter Notes -Lev Vygotsky, Youth Culture, Ernest Hemingway

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5 Mar 2013
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CH1: Adolescents, teens, and youth culture
Intro
Struggles with the ―coming-of-age‖ pubescent period
o Columbine incident, 1999
13 high school students killed by 2 boys who then killed
themselves
both were deeply troubled young men who saw the
other teenagers at school as ‗losers‘ with inferior minds
o showed the world how the emotionality that characterizes
adolescence can sometimes go awry and bring about
overwhelming tragedy and heartbreak
o the peer group provides a sort of ―sheltering system‖ and
without it, some young ppl will strike out pathologically on
their own
attempting to destroy that peer system as a hypocritical
and ultimately deleterious one
Adolescents
o Danesi believes always existed, but that they were
marginalized, repressed, or at least ignored in the past
o Expected to assume adult responsibilities straight away
o For these reasons, young ppl were rarely given a chance to
express their particular kind of world views
Columbine incidents are mostly just aberrations (not the norm)
o In fact, adolescent period has always been one of searching
for self-knowledge and enlightenment
o Not one of criminality!
Examples of this matter-of-fact period of life:
o The biblical story of the Prodigal Son
Tells of a father‘s great joy at the return of his wayward
son, who had left to ‗find himself‘ and had plunged into
satisfying desires and urges, only to come to his own
personal understanding of who he was
o The Buddha
Tells the story of Siddhartha
Left home in search of enlightenment
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Upon finding it, changed the society of his era by
introducing a new philosophy and religion in the world
Known as Buddhism
Danesi suggests that the search for meaning of life that such stories
encode is what drives adolescence to this day
o The experiences of young ppl remain the same at an
unconscious level
o What changes are the expressive details that encode these
experiences
Adolescents
3 chronological periods of life set by nature: childhood, maturity,
old age
o dividing line between childhood and maturity = puberty
o any other segmentation of life has a cultural etiology
o maturation period has come to be conceptualized by
categories such as adolescence and teenagehood
the terms puberty and adolescence were coined in medieval period
o puberty = the period during which an individual became
physically capable of producing children
o adolescence = the age at which pubescent boys left his family
to earn a living in a trade, by choice or economic necessity
term literally means ―he who grows up (on his own)
teenager coined more recently late 1930s in America
o coinage signaled the fact that adolescents were starting to set
themselves apart noticeably from adults
e.g. through dress, behaviour, lifestyles
teeny-bopper and tween
o indicative of prepubescent children who manifest lifestyle
behaviours imitative of teenage ones
traditionalists, boomers, Gen X-ers, millennials now also used to
peg individuals as belonging to culturally meaningful age-based
categories
o traditionalists = aka ―the silent generation‖ among the oldest
members of the modern world (born b/w 1925-1946)
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o baby boomers = ―sandwich generation‖ because they tend to
take care of their children and their aging parents, the ones
born between 1946-1964
they were the original teenagers
world views shaped by rock and roll, Elvis Presley, JFK
assassination, Beatles, FM radio, Vietnam war, and the
sexual and race revolutions
Gen X = children of the boomers
The ‗slacker‘ or ‗Me‘ generation
Born between 1964-1980s
Influences on their lives: fall of Soviet Union,
MTV, punk, disco, grunge, video, birth of internet,
google, dot-com industries
Millennials = aka Gen Y, born in 1980 to mid-to-late-
90s
Digital generation often crops up to describe those born
after this, though not really named in any way (haven‘t
reached adolescence yet at the writing of this book)
Primary influences for them + millennials include
the internet, cellphones, facebook, youtube,
ipods, instant messaging devices
Most eclectic taste in music of any of previous
generations
Ranging from early rock to rap, alternative,
even ballroom dance music
Particularly fond of musical styles that
emphasize melody and harmony
To be discussed in last chapter, millennials
are vastly different from any other previous
generation in this way (that‘s us!)
Note how the terms generation and later, generation gap originated
o Quote attributed by Ernest Hemmingway to Gertrude Stein
On the title of his novel The Sun Also Rises, he writes
that Stein had called her own circle of writers in post-
WWI America a ―lost generation‖
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Document Summary

Struggles with the coming-of-age pubescent period: columbine incident, 1999. 13 high school students killed by 2 boys who then killed themselves. Attempting to destroy that peer system as a hypocritical and ultimately deleterious one. Columbine incidents are mostly just aberrations (not the norm: in fact, adolescent period has always been one of searching for self-knowledge and enlightenment, not one of criminality! Examples of this matter-of-fact period of life: the biblical story of the prodigal son. Upon finding it, changed the society of his era by introducing a new philosophy and religion in the world. Term literally means he who grows up (on his own) . Teenager coined more recently late 1930s in america: coinage signaled the fact that adolescents were starting to set themselves apart noticeably from adults. Teeny-bopper and tween indicative of prepubescent children who manifest lifestyle behaviours imitative of teenage ones.

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