Mods, teds, rudes, skins:coming of age in the 1970s

Resistance through Rituals

May 25, 2007

Resistance through Rituals broke new ground when it was first published in 1975. It decisively showed how pivotal class was to the understanding of postwar youth subcultures, and in so doing artfully drew out the distinction between sub and countercultures. Thirty years on, it remains a key work. It describes the methodological and theoretical issues at stake in such a project, and draws together short and still fascinating studies of teds, mods, skinheads, rastas, rudies and more.

The book models a sensitive Marxist approach and illuminates a particular intellectual and academic moment, which, in this new edition, is set in context by a detailed preface. This explains the genesis of the youth subculture project at the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies at Birmingham University in the early 1970s; it charts the influence of the centre's work on subsequent studies and highlights some shortcomings of this pioneering research - particularly in relation to gender and in the ways sub and countercultures shape young masculinities, femininities and sexualities.

The original contributors were not blind to these issues: a final section critically interrogated the methodologies deployed, for example, and on gender several authors noted the almost exclusive focus on young men. There is, though, a sense of uncertainty about how to address these problems - and if the book is of continued relevance and importance because of what it tells us about postwar subcultures, it is also significant because it alerts us to the extent to which some perspectives and frameworks for analysis have shifted. It is on both counts an invaluable text for undergraduate and postgraduate students engaged in the analysis of society and culture.

Resistance through Rituals: Youth Subcultures in Post-war Britain. Second Edition

Author - Stuart Hall and Tony Jefferson
Publisher - Routledge
Pages - 252
Price - £18.99
ISBN - 9780415324366

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