ABSTRACT

The concept of everyday struggles and strategies can enliven our understanding of the lives of young people and how social class is made and remade. This book invokes a Bourdieusian spirit to think about the ways young people are pushed and pulled by the normative demands directed at them from an early age, while reflexively understanding that the rewards that are meant to be on offer to them for making the ‘right’ choices and working hard – financial and familial security, social status, job satisfaction – are a declining prospect, even for the well-educated. By analysing the media representation of young people through the figures of hipster and bogan, and young people’s engagement and participation in cultural politics, precarious labour markets and their everyday notions of morals and values, by thinking through different modalities of struggle, we will be better placed to understand the means by which young people make choices, adapt, adjust, strategise, succeed, fail, get by and make do. The book is organised into three sections. Part 1 sets up the theoretical lens, situating the study in the field of youth studies; introducing Bourdieu’s thinking tools and developing those tools to help think about morals, emotions and affects. Part 2 presents a case study of cultural politics of class in the media by considering the figures of hipster and bogan. These figures illustrate the ways youth cultural practices are a key resource drawn upon by media and creative industries to distinguish class-imbued moral and taste boundaries, all the while creating online snark and outrage in the ever-present need to attract clicks. Part 3 analyses the practices of young people in an underground DIY music scene who are striving to carve out their own affective space to be creative while trying get by. For these young people, their punk ethos is something that is struggled over and with, while also influencing their decisions about careers and everyday ethics.