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American Youth Cultures

Edited by Neil Campbell

Paperback (Printed to Order)

Surfing, punk rock, Dawson's Creek, teen movies, MTV and S. E. Hinton's The Outsiders are among the many popular cultural landmarks examined in American Youth Cultures. It considers themes such as race, class, gender, power, sexuality and authority and presents innovative and challenging analyses of texts from the post-war period. Key questions are raised about the significance of youth within American culture.

Contributing to the necessary and important debate over the meanings of youth representation within American culture, the ideological nature of youth and its centrality to a complex reading of popular culture are emphasised. In particular the issues of gender, race and sexuality are considered as central to the construction of youth identity and to other significant relationships between youth and authority. The contradictions in youth representation are asserted, denying any easy definitions that might serve to compound stereotypes or sustain vested interests.

The authors show how the cultural politics of youth are no longer only about being young but rather associated with both personal and public values, aspirations and ideologies that extend way beyond any simple consideration of the self.

Key Features

  • The only available book on the subject
  • Youth is shown to be central to contemporary American culture
  • Contributors bring a range of approaches to bear on representations of youth in American culture


Table of Contents
Introduction: On Youth Cultural Studies
Neil Campbell (University of Derby)
1. Fresh Contacts: Global Culture and the Concept of Generation
Charles R. Acland (Concordia University, Canada)
2. Children of the Revolution: Fiction Takes to the Streets
Elizabeth Young
3. Disposable Youth / Disposable Futures: The Crisis of Politics and Public Life Henry A. Giroux (Penn State University)
4. 'Splendid Fun' in 'Elsewhere': Textual Treats for Contemporary Readers in What Katy Did and other 'Classic' North American Stories for Girls'
Jenny Robinson (University of Derby)
5. Ideologies of Youth and the Bildungsromane of S.E. Hinton
David Holloway (University of Derby)
6. 'Something You Can't Unhear': Youth, History and the West in Larry Watson's Montana 1948
Neil Campbell (University of Derby)
7. Teensomething: American Youth Programming in the 1990s
Simon Philo (University of Derby)
8. The Body's in the Trunk: (Re-) Presenting Generation X
Jon Lewis (Oregon State University)
9. 'Be Childish, Be Irresponsible, Be Disrespectful, Be Everything this Society Hates': Punk, Youth and Protest
Simon Philo (University of Derby)
10. Wanting to be Lisa: Generational Rifts, Girl Power, and the Globalization of Surf Culture
Krista Comer (Rice University, Houston)

The Contributors
Charles Acland is Associate Professor in the Department of Communication Studies, Concordia University, Montreal.
He is co-editor of Harold Innis in the New Century: Reflections and Refractions (1999) and author of Screen Traffic: Cinema Going in a Global Context (2003) and Youth, Murder, Spectacle: The Cultural Politics of 'Youth in Crisis' (1995).
Neil Campbell is subject leader for American Studies at the University of Derby. He is co-author of American Cultural Studies (1997) and author of The Cultures of the American New West (2000).
Krista Comer is Assistant Professor in the Department of English at Rice University, Houston. She is author of Landscapes of the New West (1999).
Henry Giroux is the Waterbury Chair Professor at Penn State University. His most recent books include Fugitive Cultures: Race, Violence and Youth (1996), Channel Surfing: Racism, the Media and the Destruction of Youth (1997), Stealing Innocence: Youth, Corporate Power and the Politics of Culture (2000) and Impure Acts: The Practical Politics of Cultural Studies (2000).
David Holloway teaches American Studies at the University of Derby. He is author of The Late Modernism of Cormac McCarthy (2001).
Jon Lewis is Professor of English at Oregon State University. His books include The Road to Romance and Ruin: Teen Films and Youth Culture (1992), Whom God Wishes to Destroy… Francis Coppola and the New Hollywood (1995) and The New American Cinema (1998).
Simon Philo teaches American Studies at the University of Derby. He is author of American Popular Music (forthcoming).
Jenny Robinson is a teacher of English and American Studies at the University of Derby and Burton College.
Elizabeth Young was a freelance writer who published widely on contemporary culture and fiction. She was co-author of Shopping in Space (1992).

About the Author

Neil Campbell is Head of American Studies at the University of Derby. Author of The Cultures of the American New West (EUP, 2000) and co-author of American Cultural Studies (Routledge, 1997).


‘ strongly support the immediate paperback release of Neil Campbell's American Youth Culture. This text has been known to me, as a hardback book carried by my own institution’s library, but its reissue in paper is sure to make the book one instructors will order for undergraduate and graduate coursework.
- Krista Comer, Rice University
The style is lucid and concise, introducing a good deal of material in an engaging and straightforward manner without losing sight of the complexities and difficulties this material exposes. Major schools of thought and individual theorists (Chicago School, Birmingham cultural studies, Gramsci, Foucault, etc) are introduced and key terms explained with admirable lightness of touch and generosity toward the uninitiated… the volume is very coherent, accessible and topical.
- John Beck, University of Newcastle