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.