Britain has one of the most innovative and vibrant youth cultures in the world. It has come to define post-colonial British identity and it has helped to make London the cultural and commercial capital of Europe. This course will examine the history, sociology, aesthetics and economics of British youth culture, from the early days of jazz and rock ‘n’ roll, through to Beatlemania, Punk, Britpop, Rave and the latest contemporary developments.
How was British youth culture formed, to what extent is it different from America’s and what effect has it had on the wider world? To answer these questions, the course looks at the impact which the black and white cultures of America have had on Britain, as well as charting the influence of Europe, the Caribbean, Africa, Asia, and indigenous British folk traditions. The unique fusion created from these elements is set in the context of social change in the second half of the 20th century, primarily: class mobility, female independence, black migration, technological progress and the birth of the consumer society.
As well as amplifying the creative relationship between music, fashion, cinema, art and design, the course will assess their links with business and the media, showing how underground cults become mainstream culture and how moral panics are turned into material profits. This course should not only benefit students majoring in the arts and social sciences but also those majoring in business and communications.