The people as being a social problem. In

The term media can be defined as the main means of mass communication and it plays an essential part in developing and shaping public opinion (Ruddock, 2013). When the media represents people it often classifies them based on their age. Youths are commonly represented negatively. Prevailing representation of youth in the media is often stereotypical and the terms ‘hoodlums, ‘yobs’ and ‘thugs’ are often used when describing youths in the media (Ruddock, 2013). This reinforces judgement of young people as being a social problem. In this analysis I will be exploring the ways in which delinquents and delinquency are represented in the media. The media piece i have chosen to analyse is the trailer of the movie Kidulthood which came out in 2006. This piece is of relevance as it is set in Britain and the themes with the media piece is drug and alcohol abuse, sexual activities and violence; all of which are increasing social problems amongst youths in today’s society (Kaufman, 2017). Using the media piece I will analyse how young people are represented and relate it to subcultural theories such as Albert Cohen’s status frustration theory (1955), Walter Miller’s focal concern theory (1958) and Cloward and Ohlin’s three types of criminal subcultures (2013). Subcultural theories build upon the work of Merton’s strain theory. Instead of taking on the traditional perspective within criminology, Subcultural theorists asserts how deviancy occurs when a person does not conform to mainstream societies norms (Shoemaker, 2010). Instead they conform to the social group that they affiliate themselves with (Shoemaker, 2010). In other words Kaufman (2017) states that it is the peer group that encourages individuals to immerse in criminal behaviours and commit crime especially if the group the individual belongs to has different norms and values. Delinquency and crime is often the picture depicted by media regarding young people.  The piece i am studying is the trailer of the movie Kidulthood. Kidulthood (2006) is a British Drama Film directed by Menhaj Huda and written by Noel Clarke which addresses british street culture and youths. The movie focused on the  lives of the teenagers in impoverished areas in west london. After the tragic suicide of a bullied student Katie, school was closed for the day and the movie followed the teenagers looking at how they spend the day. Bullying, drugs, sexual activity, teenage pregnancy, money and violence was presented as a daily norm throughout the movie. Subcultural theories argue that particular groups develop norms and values that are different from those held by other member of society (Kaufman, 2017). Albert Cohen (1995) believes that deviance only occurs within lower class which results in the inability to achieve mainstream success goals by legitimate means. According to Cohen (1995), those most likely to commit deviant acts are generally found in the lower streams of schools, living in deprived areas and having the worst chances in the job market. Cohen (1995) argues that for adolescents the primary reward and punishment agency is the school. Thus juvenile delinquency represented in the media could be explained as status frustration. The chosen media piece was set out in two poor areas of inner west London; Ladbroke Grove and Latimer Road.  It is an area where many children face big challenges as they are deprived areas with a lack of social mobility such as good education, employment opportunities and poor housing. The three boys Trife, Jay and Moony align with with cohens working class boys. The boys suffer from cultural deprivation and they lack the skills to achieve. This media piece shows how these young boys are lacking in education and are of low social class. This is reflected in the their clothes which consisted of baggy clothing and hoodies and also the language they used. The characters used a lot of slang words such as ‘blud’, ‘fam’ and alot of swearing which can be seen as an extension of the particular youth subculture that the young characters identify with.  According to Cohen (1995) due to factors such as cultural deprivation Lower-class youths who cannot aspire middle-class cultural goals reject these mainstream cultural goals and create their own subcultural system of values.  This subculture reverses the norms and values of mainstream culture, offering positive rewards such as status to those who are the most deviant (Kaufman, 2017). Status may be gained by being malicious, intimidating others, breaking school rules or the law and generally. For example in the trailer of kidulthood, they gain status and respect by engaging in delinquent activities such as causing trouble. Mooney and Trife are seen smoking on the school playground showing no remorse for authority as the teacher calls them in to resume lessons. There is a lot of violence shown in this film, which is another way the teenagers gain respect and status. Sam is seen as the school bully who has gained status through his malicious behaviour and fear.  In the media piece Sam confronted the trio and stole Jays Game boy which belonged to his sister and when Trife tried to defend himself and the boys sam said ‘who the fuck are you talking’ and threw him on the floor , beating them up continuously. The media shows that In order to get what they want teenagers resort to violence. And in retaliation the boys decided to go round to Sam’s house tying his brother up and went on to beating Sam up when he came home. This pattern of boys rejecting mainstream values and forming delinquent subcultures first starts in school which is seen in the media and then becomes more serious later on, taking on the form of serious criminal behaviour. In the media piece Trife was being tempted into the world of crime by his ruthless gangster uncle and his uncle gave him money to make replica guns. The Focal Concerns Theory on the other hand emphasizes the roles of social networks by explaining how other people of the lower-class influence people from the lower-class. Walter B. Miller (1958) suggested that  that a deviant subculture doe not arise from the inability of the members to achieve success of mainstreams norms and value. Instead  he believes that lower clas cultures create their different the value system to the rest of society and with this there is a number of concerns and mechanisms that they use to cope with their situation (Miller, 1958. He called these focal concerns and they are toughness, smartness, trouble, autonomy, excitement and fate. In adolescent these focal concerns are exaggerated as individuals belong to peer groups which demand conformity as a way to gain status (Shoemaker, 2010). These focal concerns are seen in many parts of the media piece.  People within the lower-class subculture value toughness as an important trait; however this can manifest itself in assault and violence (Shoemaker, 2010).  Assault and violence is seen repeatedly throughout the media piece and some of the characteristics that arise in the piece such as masculinity, fearlessness and daring all support Millers theory.  Seconds into the trailer a group of girls are been kicking, slapping and pulling the hair of another student inside the classroom. Straight after is the confrontation scene of Trife and his boys with sam. Sam is seen kicking trife to the floor and laughing. In another scene Jay was seen assaulting a shop owner throwing glass bottle as the owner refuses to serve him. Scenes portraying violence and assault is repeated and this emphasises and reinforces the idea that youth are a social problem as they always resort to violence.  Another focal concern seen in the media piece is autonomy. Miller (1958) describes how the lower class culture are highly ambivalent about being controlled by others. In other words they do not like being told what to do and in turn this brings them into conflict with authority figures. In the scene of the playground a teacher turns to trife and his boys and says “Get inside now before the second bell”. Trife approaches the teacher giving him direct eye contact as they stand centimeters apart. The confrontation amongst the two almost felt like a standoff. With in seconds the teacher looked away losing all power in the situation, only then was when Trife walked away. This was also repeated when Trife was stopped by a policeman. This shows that the media represents youths as being anti authoritarian. Media representation of youth often portray them as a social problem,  immoral or anti-authoritarian. The main themes that arise is violence and drug taking which arise from them being part of a deviant subcultures. The behaviour of youth has attracted disapproval of those in authority especially when it comes to drinking and drug taking (Ruddock, 2013). This links to another one of Miller’s focal concerns; excitement. This culture constantly searches for excitement and thrills which often means taking part in what Stanley Hall (1906) calls risky behaviour. Having the whole day off to do as they pleased. The characters in the media piece are experimenting and experiencing excitement.  The characters are seen smoking weed, drinking, sniffing cocaine and engaging in sexual activities. Young people are are usually associated with behaviours that are looked down upon by the reset of society however the mix of ‘focal concerns’ has  lead to a culture which accepts crime and deviance as normal. The representation of youth in the media often points to them committing crimes (Ruddock, 2013). One study found that a third of articles concerned the issue of crime (Hasley and White, 2008) and there was an overrepresentation of youth crime in news coverage. In the trailer of Kidulthood, the young characters are seen committing numerous crimes and  Cloward and Ohlin (2013) suggest the reason for this is due to the lack of opportunities which lead  to the formation of three types of delinquent subcultures. Cloward and Ohlin (2013)  suggest that there are two types of opportunity structures; legitimate and illegitimate and not everyone can easily access the legitimate opportunity structure due to what merton calls strain. In areas such as the one in the media piece people live in a location whereby there are existing deviant subcultures and therefore the young people are faced with material deprivation (Kaufman, 2017). They then turn to illegitimate opportunity structures as the legitimate one is blocked. This is evident in the media piece. Thus the characters display behaviour that fit in with Cloward and Ohlin’s deviant subcultures. These are criminal subculture, conflict subculture and retreatist subculture.  The criminal subculture is based around organised crime. In other words those within this subculture make a living from crime. Career criminals socialise youth into their own criminal career to gain success ( Shoemaker, 2013). This is seen in the media piece with Trife and is criminal uncle. As explained previously in the analysis Trifes Uncle was socialising him into a criminal career for economic gain and material success. What he was actually doing is exploiting Trife as he was vulnerable and this can be said for many young people who are involved in criminal activities yet the media just choose to portray them in a bad light. Conflict subcultures are involved in a lot of territorial violence and gang fighting (Shoemaker, 2013). These are usually organised by young people themselve. The media piece includes elements of conflict subcultures. In the playground scene different social groups form and everyone knows their place on the playground. Overstepping in a someone else ‘turf’ can lead to violence which is seen in the many violent encounters such as Sam and Trifes’. Cloward and Ohlin (2013) explain that Retreatist subculture often involve them dropping out of both legitimate and illegitimate opportunity structures. They then turn to drug abuse and other ‘kicks. The media piece did not necessarily paint this picture of a retreatist subculture but there was a lot of drug and alcohol abuse.The trailer of kidulthood looks at the stereotypical teenagers. It seems to focus on a number of isues faced by teenages.  it shows that youths are bullies, they blackmail, are aggressive, are carefree, very explicit, drug takers, drinkers. These stereotypes do occur within youths but they are highly exaggerated and does not provide a realistic representation of youths. However, it does provide realism on how youths act within certain subcultures. By using the trailer of kidulthood I analysed how the youths are represented in relation to subcultural theories of Cohen, Miller and Cloward and Ohlin. Cohen (2013) suggests that the juvenile delinquency represented in the media could be explained as status frustration. This is evident in the media piece as the film took place in deprived areas of london. Miller (1958) explained how lower class people use mechanisms that they use to cope with their situation which he calls focal concerns. Many of these focal concerns were seen in the behaviour of the youths displayed in the media piece such as toughness, excitement and autonomy. Furthermore Cloward and Ohlin (2013) identifies three different delinquent subcultures; criminal, conflict and retreatist subculture. The characters in the media piece display behaviour that fit in with their theory. Thus the way in which delinquents and delinquency are represented in the media can be explained by subcultural theories.  

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