Youth Sub-culture In The United Kingdom


Youth is considered as a constitution of an in-process phenomenon that is realised at an individual level in fact according Concise Oxford Dictionary; it is referred to as a state of being young or the period between childhood and adulthood.Fornas (1995), argues thatculturally, one would be considered a youth in the sense that he has a limitation of remaining a youth until he meets specific rites of passage. He also adds that one would still be considered young if he is associated with rebellious breaking of the codes and norms of particular societal laws while, Youth Culture refers to an ideological phenomenon emerging from the development of Western forms of modernity and the increased sophistication of individuals’ lifestyle and media services (Appadurai, 1990). However, Youth sub-culture refers to a youth-based mode of life with elaborate and distinct behaviours, styles, interests and social rules to be observed.According to Oxford Dictionary, it also refers to a cultural group within a larger culture that usually has a common believe and interest different from those of the larger culture.Some major examples of youth sub-cultures includemods, skinheads, punks, emos, Goths, geeks, ravers, metalheads, homeboys, ethno-hippies, rastas, technos, bladders, bikers, ckaters, chav and many more. This essay will discuss the disadvantages and the cultural valuesof chav youth sub-cultureas depicted in the United Kingdom, and suggestsomemotivational thoughts to the youths from other authors, to enable them to establish friendlier sub-cultures in the United Kingdom.

The emergence of Chav youth sub-culture has recently hit the shockwaves in the United Kingdom since 2004 asthe current alternative to the old and rejected youth sub-cultures like the emos and the Goths. Its origin can be traced from the cultures of middle class workers in the United Kingdom. In the UK, Chav subculture has combined both Burberry and Prada fashion brands that have long been considered as luxurious and lucrative wear. In fact, the media portrait of a Chav is that of a youthful white, underachieving, scantily educated and brand-obsessed Briton.Chavs have their fashion derived from the American hip-hop (Afro-American) and Guido (Italian-American) fashions where they value the inclusions of gold jewelleries for instance large and heavy neck chains, golden teeth braces, and golden earrings (blings). Their clothingincludes a fusion of both British working class and street fashions that are mostly associated with the Burberry pattern. Chavs also wear varieties of baggy sportswear and casual brands for instance hoodies, tracksuits, baseball caps, and many more.Chavs always treasure the latest commodities trending in the market for example, latest mobile phones, sophisticated computers (laptops or PCs), and the latest vehicles that can match their stereotype. Most of them believe in communicating their personalities through skin inscriptions principally known as tattoos. They as well complement their heavy clothing with dark sun glasses while others opt to keep dreadlocks. Their mode of feeding largely involves an irregular feeding pattern with lots of snacks and binging. However, like very many other Youth sub-cultures, Chavs have not been excluded on matters related to alcoholism and drugs consumption as; theyalso involve themselves in a lot of drug and alcohol abuse in the United Kingdom. Chavs indulge in such complicated lifestyles because many of them are always of the opinion of pursuing music as their careers or have intimate relations with hip-hop music. Chav subculture is sort of a gangster lifestyle but with relatively low levels of criminal activities in fact, Chavs are shares almost everything with the gangsters except the illegal possession of fire arms and other weapons of destruction but caution should be taken as it is very easy to change from a Chav to a gangster. Moreover, the Chavs have very low moral values as they like typical show off in almost everything that they do in their life.Surprisingly, the Chavs believe in the existence and the magnitude of God’s great power needless to say, many of them are regular church goers and strict followers of Christian doctrines.

In the past most youth subcultures have been criticised and directly associated with the following specific qualities;language, style, music, rebellion, gender, deviance, stereotype, class, and many other features. Most of the youth subcultures have been viewed as deviant, rebellious, and avenues of moral degradations in the entire youth fraternity in the United Kingdom. In fact, the earlier works of Clarke et al. (1976) portrays the youth subcultures as mere institutions of youth rebellions that could only solve their problems imaginarily whilebulks of theirshortcomings remained unsolved. Moreover, Cohen (1972) argues that “the societal reaction not only increases the deviant’s chance of acting at all, it also provides him with his lines and stage directions” (pg. 137). Whyte (1943) also adds that youth subcultures found in financially and ethnically marginalised regions of a given town or city usually forms part of a collective defiant mentality that they develop in such illegitimate environments. However, this perception has recently changed and many researchers have proven that the youth subcultures can and should be viewed as institutions that enables the youths to peacefully transform from childhood to adulthood, help the youths to manage social pressures from their peers, andto minimise adolescent crimes and deviance amongst the youths. Therefore, discussed below are some of the motivational ideologies that can be deployed by the youths to construct more peaceful and community friendlier subcultures.

Due to increased levels of fragmentation, youth individualisation and uncertainties, the modern UK youth must portray exemplary efforts of trying to curb societal woes by designing their subcultures in the most suitable way to accommodate the correct consumer culture, mentality, religion, and diversificationsin their modes of life to engulf social injustices that comes with the subcultures (Bauman, 2001). For instance, Bauman (2001) advices that instead of having lives and identities fully fixed to a particular tradition, community or ideology; the youth subcultures should be designed in a manner that renders individualism. Cartmel and Furlong (1997) advices that the leisure activitiesstipulated in various youth subcultures should be destined at enabling the targeted youth groups to undergo a smooth and safe transition from childhood to adulthood through the consuming the right goods and upholding morally acceptable fashion styles. In as much as each and every youth subculture always tends to put clear-cut boundaries between their styles and fashions, they are obliged to diversify their styles and emphasise on the importance of individual rather than collective disparities (Muggleton, 2000).Due to the inception of digital media, internet and individual-centred portals of communication, most youth sub cultural policies, including Chavs’should be designed in a manner that can easily allow for youth fragmentation and identity instability for instance, online journals like emphasises on single individuals; other social websites like facebook, twitter and many more first emphasises on individual accounts hence the need forthe orientation to discrete individual portfolios of tastes and interests rather than joint youth sub cultural styles (Chandler, 1998; Rosen, 2005; Bull, 2005; Reed 2005).

Livingstone (2002) adds that today various commodities are personally owned including iPods mobile phones and household equipments for instance personal computers and televisions hence all youth principalities should be individual-centred instead of collective. Even though much emphasis on the individual-centred approach of instituting youth subcultures might be considered as an act of either tribalism or neo-tribalism, Bennett (1999) argues that neo-tribalism is a healthy complement of youth subculture since, it captures the “the shifting nature of youth’s musical and stylistic preferences and the essential fluidity of youth cultural groups”(pg. 614). Nonetheless, caution should be taken by the Chavs when they integrate their cultural values in their subcultures because of the effects of youthful ‘scene’ on a particular neo-tribe. Peterson and Bennett (2004) advices that a ‘scene’ is well felt to show flexibilities and individual differences in music practices in a way that specific subcultures don’t. Harris (2000) adds that ‘scene’ is also used to express sub cultural levels of flexibility on“everything from tight-knit local music communities to isolated musicians and occasional fans” (pg. 25). There is need to categorically differentiate Chavs’ neo-tribe from ‘scene’ as far as youth subculture is concerned since, they are usually contrasted with Chav subculture in the sense that the ‘club-culture’ brought by the two actually complements youth ‘subculture’. In regards to this phenomenon, Redhead (1997) warns against the overindulgence in the club-culture but proposes that the increased clubbing activities witnessed amongst the varied youth sub-cultures are distinct and very important elements since, they’d rather involve in these activities at their youthful stages of life rather than later in their lives when they’ll have increased responsibilities and dependants to cater for. In fact, Malbon (1995) emphasizes on the roles of collective classification of clubbers’ practices and the functions of the media in creating a youth subculture with shared ideologies, boundaries and tastes. However, in as much as emphasis have been put to boost the Chavs’ incorporation of individual differences, media, commerce and the web to define their specific youth subcultures; they can as well be used to improve the commitment of the youths to their varied subcultures (Hodkinson, 2006).

Also vital in the youth subculture is the incorporation of acceptableethnic cultures (either local or imported) in order to be at par with the understandings and changes within the United Kingdom and the entire globe for instance, according to Back (1996) and Gillespie (1995), they believe that the changes in hybrid cultural practices in the 2nd and 3rd generation youths in the United Kingdom was realised through a mixture of transnational cultures from both local and global societies.However, they are quick to warn that partial fragmentation of ethnic values can benefit youthsubcultures only when they offer stable solutions in areas related to social, cultural and economic development of the youths for instance Chavs should, avoid overindulgence in alcoholism and drug abuse, and avoid criminology and other societal vices. Bennett (2000) adds that: “… neo-tribal modes of musical expression symboliseextremely fluid and transient forms of collective identity, at the same time they are not very fluid and transient as to cancel out any form of meaningful interaction with the local environments from which they emerge.” (pg. 84) Finally, the youth subcultures should be wary of the contemporary issues that would divide its members in lines of gender (either male or female) for instance, Lincoln (2004) adds that youth subcultures should lay principles designed to avoid discriminating the female gender as “passive” than their male counterparts within the youth group.


From the above description we realise that the current discourse on the Chavs derives it ideologies and modes of articulation from the blend of various individual cultural choices that have been portrayed by discussing their all-compassing consumption-driven social, cultural and economic styles. However, as Hall and Winlow (2004) put it, they are still considered as a subculture marred with profound social injustices and mild crime levels. As a youth subculture, Chav is therefore considered as rebellious and a defiant group albeit with low levels of crime. Hence, it is like very many other youth subcultures, a representation of resistance and with an anti-establishment stereotype especially from their rampant abuse of drugs and alcohol at their youthful ages. Discussed below is a report illustrating the extent with which the Chav youth subculture can benefit from the provision of the world youth centres.

Report on the possible benefits of chav subculture from myplace youth center in UK


This report will entail an extensive research on the roles played by myplace world-class youth centres in improving the lifestyles of the young generation. The extensive research will include a scrutiny of the major aims and objectives of these youth hubs in order to check whether the Chav subculture could be endorsed by myplace as one of its world-class youth centres in the United Kingdom. The research methods involved in this extensive report includes a close evaluation of standard practicesin myplace centres all over the UK and asking questionnaires oncertain issues including how the youths are portrayed in their views? Whether the Chav culture is considered as a defiant behaviour? Or is it considered anti-social? Also asked in the questionnaires are the roles played by the youth centres in fostering citizenship to their subjects? Finally, they were asked to show how their facilities could lead to the empowerment of the young generation? The respondents from various representatives within each centre were then sent back via email for further analysis to compile this final report. After duration of about two weeks all respondents from the 61 Centres were received and their ideas blended in the following report.


myplace is one of the greatest Government programmes that rose from aiming High for young people: a ten year strategy for positive activities (Human Management Treasury in 2007). This elaborate program was instituted to create world-class vicinity for the young generation in order to give positive activities and access to a range of modern services to improve the youths’ subcultures and their influence. myplace is a world-class youth centre that is aimed at delivering world-class youth facilities across England realised by full participation of the young people to eradicate incoherent and blemish youth subcultures.myplace is actually a multi-million pound project initiated by the government to create better institutions for the young people in the United Kingdom. Inspired by Ambassador Sir Steve Redgrave, myplace is a £270 million programme destined to develop world-class youth facilities across Britain and offer grants of up to £5 million to construct youth amenities in the local areas within England.myplace have numerous youth facilities (63 centres) across England including Newcastle, Blackpool, Bristol, Chesterfield, Leicester, Hartlepool, Liverpool, Derbyshire, Lancashire, Bearsden Glasgow, and many more.myspaceis directly funded by the Big Lottery Fund (BIG) and has operated from a simple charity institution in the past 20 years. The chief aim of the program is to offer: “World-class youth amenitiesmotivated by the active involvement of young generation and their views and wants.” Their main ambition is to bring a change in the value and breath of facilities, activities and services given to the youths with the available resources.This ranges from youth development and empowerment to fosterproper and efficient youth governance. From the survey and questionnaires conducted it evident that the citizens are confident that myplace will be able to increase its holdings across England, since they always offer up to five million five million sterling pounds for the purposes of either revamping their current facilities or opening up the remote areas by constructing more social amenities for the youths across England. Below is the site map for myplace Rotherham in South Yorkshire on Saint Ann’s Road in the United Kingdom(+44 1709 837428).


The rationale behind the entire myplace scheme is to integrateand strategically plan to improve youth facilities (including relating with schools to allow them to focus on hub teaching and learning). According to a respondent in Blackpool, he explains that since the youths originate from different localities, backgrounds, cultures and societies; myplace is obliged to ensure that the young people are fed with the best information, skills, training and education to enable them to compete equally in the current job market and in extra-curricular activities.These institutions focus on the proper interpersonal relationship between the youths in order to foster adequate learning and genuine happiness amongst the young generation (Smith, 2008). They youths in their sponsored facilities are often engaged in voluntary works on the streets, at home with a central interest of nurturing their positive abilities and boosting their job expertise.myplace appreciates and identifies with individual youth problems ranging from cultural, social and economic constraints; and offers them the best solutions from the very many uncouth alternatives that present themselves to these juvenile groups of people (Jeffs, 2001). In fact, in the questionnaires given to the Norwich security department, the Police confessed that there were low criminal and ant-social activities recorded in Norwich City when the Mineheadmyplace centre was opened as it advocated for peaceful coexistence amongst the young people but while the Mineheadcentre was closed the criminal activities amongst the youths rose acutely. The welfare of the underclass youths are well checked in the sense that myplace centres in the United Kingdom puts much emphasis on the material wellbeing, educational wellbeing and proper family and peers relationship in order to boost a wholesome wellbeing of the youths enjoying their facilities (Richardson &Bradshow, 2009). myplacesponsored institutions are very much wary of the youths’ citizenship ties and responsibilities hence their policies are designed to emphasise on the mental and physical wellbeing of the youths to offer equal opportunities for volunteering and citizenship education.Moreover, our respondents from Oldham (Bolton Lads and Girls) and New Horizon Youth Centre explains that their policies actively engage the youths in the positive activities to foster scholarly innovations and support curricula citizenship amongst the young people. myplaceis therefore an avenue for the young generation to create the best morals, characters, reasoning and required skills at very manageable costs to enable the UK youths to squarely compete with their international peers while minimising the effects of the widespread youth subcultures and creating an integral youth. Our respondent in myplace-Sutton confirms that their policies actually anticipate three major strands of work including,improving the youths’ developed-citizenship, life skills and friendlier subcultures.

According to myplace institutions, the young generation is portrayed as a diminishing stock especially when the precisearbitrary measures are avoided and the youths are not adequately directed on the right path to follow. In as much as many respondents recognised the vast potentials of the youths in the UK (Newman, 1852), they were quick to warn that their enormous energy and power when not guided, is habituallyused in destructive and criminal activities.In fact, our respondents from Northern Lights Academy, Hartlepool and The Salmon Youth Centre, Bermondsey emphasised thatthe young generation are highly disadvantaged and endangered hence should always be guided to participate in positive leisure activities that can boost their morals.They portray the youth as a group that likes merry making and indulging in exciting as well as destructive leisure activities. Moreover, they depict the youthsas individuals with capabilities of accessing lots of information, advices and guidance only from their places of convenience hence, caution should be taken when attempting to guide and counsel the youths since they always have pre-formed views over certain issues that seem pleasing to their course. The programs at myplace aredesigned to target the youths’ points of weaknesses and help them improve on them. For instance, our respondent in Chichester believes that their facilities are ideal in dealing with non-scholarly issues that affects the youths like, the happenings outside school including sexual abuse, cyber harassment, interactions in social websites (facebook, twitter and many more), and the tracking of the youths’ alcohol consumption levels. The extensive facilities built by myplace in these world-class centres plays a major role of confining the youths and training them on the best societal demands despite the high levels of moral degradations in the larger society. By the help of myplace the youth is well trained and empowered to survive the odds that might come with the socio-cultural and economic patterns of life. In fact, our respondent in Salmon and Minehead argues that in myplace youth centres their policies have fully integrated the youths’ participation and empowerment by training them as both volunteers and mentors to other youths. They are also trained on self-directed activities and on structures of governance hence, the youths are fully empowered to face their never-ending challenges both mentally and economically.

Keen assessment of the respondents’ view onChav youth subculture inregards to the requirements, conditions and expectations of myplace world-class youth centre suggests that it cannot qualify to be considered for any grants due the following reasons. First, myplace as an institution advocates for the youths’ high moral levels but the Chavs are a group that takes pleasure in indulging in leisure activities that corrupts their morals for instance, Chavs believe in a lifestyle that is complemented with alcoholism and abuse of other drugs like dope, cocaine, marijuana and expensive cigars. This is a lifestyle that is completely unacceptable and contradicts the philosophy, aims and the visionof myplace youth centre as, they strictly educate and train the young generation on the negativities associated with such extravagant lifestyles amongst the youths. Even though myplace does not put much emphasis on the right fashion and music to be listened to by the young generation; it is important to note while the modes of dressing of the Chavs are dauntingly expensive especially for the underclass youths, they should be substituted with other modest wears in order to win the affection of myplace. Chav subculture is characterised by a predominant ghetto-hood lifestyle that would easily lure them into different forms of crime since they always believe that their situations are as a results of being neglected by the government hence they always try fighting the authorities for “liberation” from their struggles in life. This is also unacceptable as,myplace centres are built on foundations of peaceful coexistence amongst the young generation in the entire United Kingdom, they also advocate for amicable means of conflict resolution to empower the youths. Also worth mentioning is the fact that hip-hop (a music genre that has been largely associated with Chavs) has been a music genre characterised with lots of morally polluted songs either by abusive words or by pornographic contents. This kills the morals of the young generation, a factor that myplace keeps fighting to the bitter levels.

Chav subculture is also characterisedby extravagant lifestyles especially in the usage of expensive ornaments like rings, necklaces, braces and many more made of gold and other expensive resources. Their widespread use of tattoos is also anpricey act that can’t be advocated for by myplace as; they intend to train youths on matters related to economic management and expenditure. The Chavs’ renowned blings and tattoos are inclusions that are viewed as supplementary to their subculture. However, due to the requirements of myplace, they fall short and do not qualify as a celebrated group. But upon a review of their sub cultural demands and marking the necessary corrections, they can be considered as target groups by myplace world-class youth centre in the UK.

Conclusion and Recommendation

From the above research, it is evident that myplace have in no doubt offered excellent facilities as far as youth management is concerned, they have constructed wonderful and amazing centres that have been of tremendous help to nurture the full talent, abilities and skills of the young generation. myplacehas provided the best and most effective means of cultivating the proper morals of the youths enabling them to curb the environmental pressures that might lead to a degradation in their societal and cultural demands. Much credit has been given to myplace especially due to their collaboration with schools to implement their policies. However, myplace should provide mechanisms and strategies to efficiently accommodate the rising subcultural units in the United Kingdom in order to avoid discriminations based on youth subcultures.


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