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Geeks CH1.docx

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Department
Anthropology
Course Code
ANT322H1
Professor
Marcel Danesi

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CHAPTER 1: Adolescents, Teenagers, and Youth Culture - Not so long ago, anyone reaching the age of puberty was expected to literally come of age  Take on the specific types of responsibilities and duties expected of adults - Nowadays, this period is perceived as constituting an unstable transitional phase towards the attainment of adulthood  Problems of emotional adjustment  Now see pubescent individuals as belonging to a distinct category of culture  Particular music, fashions, lifestyle, peculiar behaviours, language, material artifacts - Wee see the emotional adjustment period as a period fraught with danger, often producing traumatic psychological states and occasionally inducing pathological behaviours  Many incidents of massacre and murder are shown in television  Emotionality that characterizes adolescence can sometime goes awry and brings tragedy - Robert Epstein: beginning in the late 1800s, new laws and cultural practices began to isolate teens from adults  impose many restrictions and artificially extend childhood well past puberty” - Suicide is the third leading cause of death among teens, after accidents and homicides - Young people were rarely given a change to express their particular kinds of worldviews - How young people cope with the advent of maturity (incidents like Columine = aberrations)  They rarely engaged in pathological behaviours (usually in a group-based way) - Adolescent period has always been one of searching for self-knowledge and enlightenment - Search for meaning to life that such stories encode is what drives adolescents to this day - Adolescence = period of both prodigality and a Buddhist0type search for meaning  Essence of the search is the same from generation to generation; difference lies in the nature of the meaning  Experiences of young people remain the same; what changes are the expressive details that encode these experiences ADOLESCENTS - Nature segments human life into three distinct chronological periods: childhood, maturity, and old age - Crucial dividing line between childhood and maturity = puberty, period during which the child becomes psychologically capable of sexual reproduction - Other segmentation of the life cycle has a cultural etiology  Adolescence and teenage hood = historically based segmentations that reflect the ways in which we have come to conceptualize the maturation period - Terms puberty and adolescence were coined in the medieval period  Former denoted: individual became physically capable of producing children  Latter denoted: age at which pubescent boy left his family to earn a living in a trade - Term teenager is recent coinage; appeared in the late 1930s in America  Signaled the fact that adolescents were starting to set themselves apart from adults - More recently coined terms: teeny-bopper and tween: colloquial words that describe pre- pubescent children who manifest lifestyle behaviours that are imitative of teenagers  Tweens also constitute distinct cultural segment within the larger culture - Traditionalists, boomers, Gen X-ers, millennial: used to peg individuals as belonging to culturally meaningful age-based categories 1. Traditionalist: “silent generation”, oldest members of modern world (born 1925-1946)  Roaring Twenties, Great Depression, WW2, Korean War, advent of radio, records 2. Baby boomers: “sandwich generation”, tend to take care of both their children and aging parents  Rock and Roll, television, sexual and race revolutions, Vietnam War 3. Generation X: “Me” generation, children of baby boomers (1964-early 1980s)  Fall of Soviet Union, MTV, punk disco, birth of the Internet [Type text] [Type text] [Type text] 4. Millennials: “Gen Y”, born in the 1980s through to mid-to-late 1990s  Born after this period: digital generation  Internet, cellphones, Facebook, instant messaging devices - Today, it’s futile and meaningless to make clear-cut distinction between young and old  Changing social perception of aging: can be postponed/delayed due to advances in medicine  Prolongation of life expectancies  period of youth as extending well beyond adolescent years  “Stay young as long as you can” has become aphorism of the modern age - How the term generation and generation gap originated  Quotation attributed by Ernest Hemingway to Gertrude Stein  “Lost generation”: time when adolescents were staring to unite into distinct social category and viewed by adults as a lost generation  Jack Keruac and Allen Ginsberg’s term “new generation”, “Beat generation” - Using language as a key to understanding cultural trends is useful analytical technique - Word “cool”: emerged in the 15 century as a term of approval, suggesting calm and refrain  Spread in the 195s among teems to indicate attractive person  Recycled in the 1960s and 1970s by hippies to indicate new philosophical stoicism - Words gross, geek, icon, and nerd  “Gross”: disgusting, “geek”: denotes fantasy gamers, trekkies, neo-pagans, person with odd personality  Pop icon: was used for the first time in popular culture to describe Madonna  Nerd: insult by teens hurled at other unfashionable teens NATURE VS. CULTURE - Traditionally, societies have marked and ritualistically celebrated the three main biological stages of life- birth, puberty, death- that symbolic rites = passage rites (used by anthropologist)  Designed to acknowledge the symbolic and spiritual importance of these stages  Term comes from Arnold van Gennep, used it to describe ceremonies  Complicated rites are those that signal the passage from childhood to maturity (coming-of-age rites)  In contemporary cultures, no such rites virtually exist; when puberty hits, young people are left to cope with the passage on their own, leaving them in an ambiguous state of mind - There are industry of theorists and clinical practices built to understand, deal with ravages of adolescence - Plasticity theory  Russian psychologist Lev Vygotsky (1930s), argued that the brain was endowed at birth with unique kind of plasticity, that rendered it highly sensitive and adaptive to stimuli, especially during childhood  Structure of the brain was constantly being subjected to modifying influences from env’tal stimuli - Adolescence has always had many critics  Epstein sees it as a product of cultural preference, thus nothing to do with nature  Margaret Mead: pointed out foolishness of seeing adolescence as a product of nature, not of nurture - Adolescence has generated its own nature-versus-nurture debate  Stanley G. Hall: adolescence was a natural stage in human development (1904)  Stated: emotional turmoil that pubescent children experience was result of natural maturation process  Claimed that adolescence was a stage of growth  Transition from childhood to adolescence was traumatic, b/c it required adaptation and adjustment CHAPTER 1: Adolescents, Teenagers, and Youth Culture  Being caught in between childhood and maturity, ambiguity produced Angst, feeling of dread or anxiety arising from awareness of hopelessness  His view gained acceptance because society at the time needed theory to rationalize the ravages produced by socially constructed category of the non-children-non-adults” - Hall’s Adolescence: introduced into the western mindset the view of adolescence as a period of traumatic emotional adjustment brought about hormonal changes at puberty  Trauma theory: explain why may aesthetic products of youth culture bear high degree of emotion - Disjunction of three critical sphere of personality development- sexual, emotional, and social  As puberty approaches and body undergoes hormonal changes leading to sexual maturation, child starts to feel that he/she is inhabiting new, strange, and lusty body  Adolescent becomes troubled emotionally, resulting in disjunction b/w the sense of sexuality  Become self-conscious, believing that the world around them is constantly looking, evaluating them - Nuturists declare that its cause is not nature, but rather culture that turned adolescence into artificla period of adjustment - Survey at University of Toronto suggested adolescents do not see themselves as children anymore. They would allow older individuals to be part of their circle of friends - Trauma theory if being reinvigorated by some neuro-scientific researchers who claim that the brain at adolescence undergoes drastic changes which constitute the source of stress, depression, angst, etc - Brain’s white matter, interconnecting part of the brain, is better able to transmit signals when it becomes thicker: called mylenation  This process starts and continues well past puberty  Maturation lag between emotional and cognitive brain centres in the brain due to this slow process - David Bainbridge’s book Teenagers: A Natural History  Teenage mind is distinctive and cannot be explained easily- behaves in a uniquely complicated way  Teenage brain is the central phenomenon of human race - Not sure if brain structure is result of innate biological processes or changes brought by env’t stimulation - Youth culture is Strum and Drang (storm and stress) culture (also synonym for trauma theory)  Alienation: evident in a lot of youth-based music - J.D Salinger’s The Catcher in the Rye  Took romantic view of youth and converted into first true narrative treatment of adolescent persona REPRESSION AND IDENTITY THEORY - Adolescence is a period of emotional Angst due to childhood repression, and that adolescence is a difficult period of adjustment b/c it involves construction of identity - Repression theory: Sigmund Freud  Adolescents undergo traumatic experiences b/c of repressive experiences they suffered in childhood  “Adults are still children, just taller”: childhood follows us around the rest of our lives  Peer group serves as a shelter system, adolescent can immerse himself socially  Membership in peer group = primary social locus where they seek protection against ravaging effects of repressed sexuality  Peer group allows adolescent the opportunity to blend in to structure that replaces the family [Type text] [Type text] [Type text]  All human emotional traumas, especially those su
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