Rethinking the Youth Question

Education, Labour, and Cultural Studies

Rethinking the Youth Question

Book Pages: 414 Illustrations: Published: May 1999

Author: Phil Cohen

Cultural Studies, Sociology

Phil Cohen is a founding scholar in the study of British youth subculture and a key figure at the Birmingham Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies. In Rethinking the Youth Question, essays representing twenty years of Cohen’s work—beginning in 1969—are presented together for the first time. Some of these essays have not previously been published, others have been difficult to locate, and together they provide a precise conceptual history of the development of British cultural studies and a thoughtful contemplation of the significance of the entire cultural studies enterprise.
With a preface that contextualizes Cohen’s essays for an American audience, Rethinking the Youth Question reflects his tenure as a community organizer and activist in inner-city London and includes ethnographic, theoretical, and historical studies of Britain’s urban youth. Cohen offers an enlightening analysis of British educational policy, develops historical and structural accounts of generational and gendered divisions of labor, and discusses such topics as racism and the rise of the New Right. Also exploring broader questions such as the theoretical and sociological significance of youth as a category, this book is a model of useful methodology and engaged cultural reflection.
With empirical research that combines biographical, autobiographical, critical, cultural, and social elements, Rethinking the Youth Question is sure to impact debates surrounding the pedagogical value of cultural studies and the nature and future of this field in both the United States and Britain. This collection will be informative reading for students and scholars of cultural studies, sociologists, and others interested in the category of youth.


from an Artforum review of the British edition
“There are many rewards throughout (this) collection. . . . Rethinking the Youth Question demands attention for its implicit dissent from the media-saturated condition of the new establishment in cultural studies.” — Thomas Crow, Artforum

“This is an important collection of essays by an influential (but underacknowledged) participant in cultural studies in England.” — Lawrence Grossberg, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill


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Phil Cohen is Director of the Centre for New Ethnicities Research and Reader in Cultural Studies at the University of East London. His numerous books include Multi-Racist Britain and Knuckle Sandwich: Growing Up in the Working Class City.

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Paper ISBN: 978-0-8223-2270-2 / Cloth ISBN: 978-0-8223-2136-1
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