From bad to worse? Marginalised youth and ‘Road life’ (mis)representations and realities

Gunter, Anthony (2016). From bad to worse? Marginalised youth and ‘Road life’ (mis)representations and realities. In: Blackman, Shane and Kempson, Michelle eds. The Subcultural Imagination: Theory, Research and Reflexivity in Youth Cultures. Youth, Young Adulthood and Society. London, UK: Routledge, pp. 46–62.




Considering the rich history of academic research examining working class youth subcultures in post War Britain, it is interesting to note that contemporary youth cultural studies and in particular ‘post modern subcultural theory’ (Blackman, 2005) has largely moved away from studying deviant and/or resistant cultures of poor and marginalised youth. Instead the field has been left to a small but growing number of youth gang criminologists who are largely detached from the ongoing debates about youth subcultures, transitions, identities, race/ethnicity, hybridity, and agency (see for example Alexander, 2000; Cohen and Ainley, 2000; McDonald et al., 2001; Bose, 2003; Nayak, 2003; Sanders, 2005; Gidley, 2007; Gunter, 2010). Consequently, rather than challenging police-media driven discourses that portray contemporary urban youth cultures as inherently violent and criminogenic, gang academics have similarly tended to fixate solely on the negative aspects of the ‘Road based’ subcultures and lifestyles of marginalised urban youth.

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