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Youth Culture Tasks

Read the text Youth Culture and then try these tasks.


Try the interactive comprehension tasks.
Youth Culture Comprehension Part 1
Youth Culture Comprehension


Topic 1: Definitions of culture

  1. Look up the definition of culture in various dictionaries and encyclopedia. Why do you think the definitions differ? Which definition do you prefer?
  2. Why do you think most definitions of youth culture highlight “social belonging, music and fashion”?
  3. Discuss and make a chart of the best films for young people.

Topic 2: Youth culture as an expression of rebellion

  1. Why do you think that some (adults) claim that youth culture is negative, and even destructive? Do you think that it is the same things that provoked parents in the 1960s that provoke parents today?
  2. Why was rock and roll seen as provocative and radical? Can you think of a music genre that most adults would label as provocative today?
  3. Why were the parent generation in the 1960s and 70s opposed to their sons’ growing beards and long hair? What in the line of fashion, accessories and body decorations may cause parental “condemnation” today?
  4. “Don’t follow leaders” is a quote from a Bob Dylan song from the 60s. Discuss its relevance to youth culture.
  5. Can you think of present subcultures/organizations among young people where rebellion and protest are among the primary goals/means?

Topic 3: Teenage Stereotypes

  1. Discuss what stereotypes are. Look up definitions. How do your observations agree with the definitions?
  2. In groups, discuss what a stereotypical young male/female in Great Britain or the USA might be like in a certain period of time (see below). Consider: socio-economic status, ethnicity, relationship to parents, essential values and beliefs, interests, preferences within music, entertainment, clothing and literature. Make up examples of teenagers who are representative of the periods:
    • the 50s
    • the 60s
    • the 70s
    • the 80s
    • the 90s
    • after 2000
  3. Present the teenagers and compare and contrast them. Discuss how youth culture has developed since the 1950s and the possible causes of this development.


Make a collage or poster where you display “your” character from one of the periods - the 50s to after 2000 (see above). There are numerous online resources that will give you valuable information regarding how people were dressed, what they listened to and their spare time activities. Study photos and illustrations from the period. You may, for example, make your character as a paper doll


Arrange an encounter where you play the characters, e.g. where a teenager from the 50s meets one from the 80s and so forth. Here you should try to keep in mind the type of language/slang used.


How do you pronounce these words:

  • rebel(noun) – rebel (verb) - rebellion – rebellious
  • specify – specification –specific
  • provoke – provocation – provocative
  • identify – identification – identic
  • represent – representation – representative
  • photograph – photographer – photography
  • rebel(noun) – rebel(verb) - rebellion – rebellious
  • specify – specification – specific
  • provoke – provocation – provocative
  • identify – identification – identical
  • represent – representation – representative
  • photograph – photographer – photography

Little Boxes on the Hillside by Pete Seeger

Peter Seeger immortalized the song Little Boxes On the Hillside in 1964. The song is written by Malvina Reynolds. By following the link below, you'll find the lyrics. Read the lyrics and answer the questions provided. Note that the term "ticky tacky" is now credited to the songwriter. According to Merriam Webster's Dictionary it means "a sleazy or shoddy material used especially in the construction of look-a-like tract houses". Little Boxes

Analysis of the Lyrics

1. Explore the metaphor Little Boxes. What do you think is implied?
2. Is this satire, why or why not?
3. Can the song be considered an attack on American middle-class conformity?
4. In what way do the lyrics capture the spirit of the 1960s?
5.To which extent may this song be considered a protest song?
6. What do you think of music in general as a means of protest? Is it effective?

Rebel Without a Cause - Film Analysis

In the film James Dean portrays the 17-year old protagonist, Jim Stark. His part in the film and his tragic death, before it was released, contributed to Dean's iconic status. This film challenged middle-class values and accentuated the generation gap. Watch the trailer Rebel Without a Cause .

  1. In which way does Jim Stark seem to oppose parental values?
  2. Judging from the trailer, what can you say about the setting?
  3. Why do you think it was seen as very provoking that a white middle-class boy behaved like this?
  4. To which extent do you think this film complies with what is stated in the text about youth culture in the 50s?
  5. Reflect on the film title Rebel Without a Cause. In Norwegian the film is called Rotløs ungdom. Do you think that covers it?


  1. James Dean and Justin Bieber have both become teenage icons. Discuss what made/makes them top teen heartthrobs.
  2. Discuss this complaint about young people which is attributed to Socrates with the article about youth culture as a backdrop: "The children now love luxury, they have bad manners, contempt for authority, they show disrespect for elders and love chatter in place of exercise.....They contradict their parents, chatter before company, gobble up daintities at the table, cross their legs, and tyrranize their teachers." (Attributed to Socrates by Plato)


Cultural Aspects

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