Why does this relate to teenagers?
Our guiding course assumptions:
- Media Matters -
While looking at teenagers from both a critical and academic point of view, we approach the topic of teenagers in/and the media with the understanding that the media we produce and consume as a culture effects the ways in which we relate to ourselves and to others. In the case of this semester's class, the media we consume provides us with images and discourses about what we commonly think of when we think of teenagers. This context changes as time and media shifts, but the idea of influence is still upon us.
This assumption supplies much of the ground for my own arguments. In this project, I examine specifically what images we receive from hard drug culture and teenager culture as a whole. The combination of these subcultures offers a possible explanation as to why we as a culture have an understanding of teens as drug users and experimenters.
- Youth is Culturally Constructed -
There is a reciprocal relationship between the images and discourses we as a culture in a specific time and place create, and the lived experiences of the people who inhabit this specific live dynamic. Youth, as well as most other phenomena in life, is not a static category, but rather an ever-shifting and adjusting abstract category which is constantly redefined. Despite this, the categorizations of youths are still important despite their temporal socio-cultural specificity.
Much of my discussion on this topic is based on information that has arisen over the past two decades or less, usually. This, however, doesn't mean that the past has no significant weight upon the present/future. In fact, I would make the argument that the past representations of drug subcultures have had an enormous effect upon how we, as producers of information as well as consumers, form representations of these kinds of things - including teenagers, hard drugs, and the media about them. Without this history, it is nearly impossible to examine how youth especially is constructed in a particular context.
- Teenagers are Not Some Alien Life Form -
Teenagers are commonly viewed as being a separate species, something not human, and are often interpreted and treated as such. In this American culture, the teenager is commonly seen as having extremely different lifestyles, beliefs, and goals than adults. This assumption guides us into remembering that everyone will pass through the teenage years and that the people who are teenagers are still relevant to our understanding of human life and culture. They are not so far removed that they can and should be easily dismissed or feared.
This is another big grounding point for my project. Because of all the negativity that accompanies hard drug subcultures as well as teenagers, much of the information that I discuss on this website is aimed at exploring the sources of drug-use in teens. I aim to show that the media representations of drugs and drug culture provide certain images that attractive attention of people all ages, but are specifically aimed at youth.