Youth, Class and Everyday Struggles
The concept of everyday struggles 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, whilst they reflexively understand that allegedly available incentives for making the ‘right’ choices and working hard – financial and familial security, social status and job satisfaction – are a declining prospect.
In Youth, Class and Everyday Struggles, the figures of those classed as 'hipsters' and 'bogans' are used to analyse how representation works to form a symbolic and moral economy that produces and polices fuzzy class boundaries. Further to this, the practices of young people around DIY cultures are analysed to illustrate struggles to create a satisfying and meaningful existence while negotiating between study, work and creative passions.
By thinking through different modalities of struggles, which revolve around meaning making and identity, creativity and authenticity, Threadgold brings Bourdieu’s sociological practice together with theories of affect, emotion, morals and values to broaden our understanding of how young people make choices, adapt, strategise, succeed, fail and make do.
Youth, Class and Everyday Struggles will appeal to undergraduate and postgraduate students, as well as postdoctoral researchers, of fields including: Youth Studies, Class and Inequality, Work and Careers, Subcultures, Media and Creative Industries, Social Theory and Bourdieusian Theory.
Part 1: Youth studies and theoretical foundations
A mix tape for Part 1
1. Youth, class and everyday struggles
2. Sociological practice: Towards a Bourdieusian understanding
Introduction: Bourdieu’s thinking tools
Bourdieu’s conception of class
Struggle, illusio and social gravity
Social games and strategy
Habitus and field
Doxa and misrecognition
3. Bourdieusian prospects and theory in youth studies
Reflexivity and inequality
The symbolic, the moral and ‘value’
Affect and emotion
Part 2: Classification struggles in the field of representation
A mix tape for Part 2
4. Hipsters and bogans: Distinctive figures of classed anxieties
Hipsters and bogans in the news
What is a bogan? What is a hipster?
Hipsters and bogans as ‘figures’
Classification struggles in the field of representation
5. Hipsters and bogans in the news media and comedy: Two case studies
Case study 1
Case study 2
The affective economy of hipsters and bogans
Conclusion: Global hipsters and local bogans
Part 3: DIY cultures: Struggles about creativity, identity and meaningful work
A mix tape for Part 3
6. A DIY scene: Cultural struggles and meaning making
‘DIY’: From punk to sociology to co-optation and beyond
Everyday struggles in a DIY music scene in Australia
7. A DIY career? Labour and creativity struggles
Class, labour and creativity
DIY cultures to DIY careers
Subcultural capital and illusio
Choice, struggle and making do: Strategic poverty?
8. Coda: Hipsters, bogans and class in the DIY scene
Modalities of everyday struggle
Bourdieu, affect and reflexivity
Youth, modalities of struggle and the ‘future’
‘Struggle’ is one of those over-used words we use to evoke a political ‘feel’ to analysis. In Youth, Class and Everyday Struggles, however, Steven Threadgold takes the idea of struggle seriously, and develops a multi-layered understanding of struggle to provide an exciting and insightful analysis of the challenges young people negotiate in everyday life. Drawing together a thoughtful reading of Bourdieu through theories of affect, risk and reflexivity, Threadgold shows that struggle is fundamental to the constitution of young people’s classed and gendered existence in a world shaped by precarity. Through an examination of hipsters, 'bogans' and DIY music, the book argues not only that there are modalities and temporalities to struggle, but that struggle is creative and mundane, agentic and oppressive. It offers an original and thought-provoking contribution to the field of youth studies.
Greg Noble, Professor, Institute for Culture and Society, Western Sydney University, Australia
A smart, sensitive and sophisticated analysis of how youth figures in the ways class is produced and contested in conditions of precarity. Centring the concept of struggle, Threadgold incisively addresses the cultural politics and quotidian material realities of new and old class relations through careful attention to the everyday lives of young people. This book is an important contribution to the theorisation of social class today, and a shining example of truly generative scholarship at the intersection of youth transitions and youth cultures research.
Anita Harris, Research Professor, Alfred Deakin Institute for Citizenship and Globalisation, Faculty of Arts & Education, Deakin University, Australia
This is an excellent book that pushes the boundaries of theorising in youth studies to another level. By using the notion of ‘struggle’ and other Bourdieusian concepts, Steve Threadgold is able to create a more nuanced understanding of the contemporary forms of class social reproduction and youth reflexivity. As such this book is a must read for all students and scholars interested in the youth question.
Alan France, Professor of Sociology, University of Auckland, New Zealand
Youth, Class and Everyday Struggles is a masterfully researched and compellingly written book. Casting an expert eye over an increasingly diverse field, Threadgold has produced a much needed synthesis of key ideas relating to youth cultures and youth transitions that will be of seminal value to both experienced youth researchers and students in search of a critical introduction to youth studies.
Andy Bennett, Professor, School of Humanities, Griffith University, Australia