Understanding Youth Culture

Understanding Youth Culture

Subject: Risk and Marginalization

According to Amarasuriya, Hettige and University of Colombo. (2009), increasing levels of risk in capitalist societies in today’s modern world confronts the youth with harsh ramifications of new poverty. A study undertaken by Andersson (2003) reveals that the high unemployment rate and non-involvement of young people in mainstream undertakings have resulted in the creation of a marginalized group of the youth. Kelly (2001) refers the group as an impoverished discriminated class. The scenario confronts the group with feelings of uncertainty as well as insecurity. Riele (2006) explains that social marginalization characterizes the everyday culture of the young person. Research work by Riele (2006) notes that the precarious contexts intrinsically links the youth and risk. The world continues to disengage the group from activities such as leadership. In a study by Hooks (2009), Kessl and Otto (2008) found out that the result of disengagement includes rise in levels of disruptive and anti-social behaviors such as crime. The paper will employ the subject of risk and marginalization in examining a youth and activity text responding to questions such as who young people are, the undertaking the young people are engaging in, what it means, for who and why.

Kessl and Otto (2008) postulates that role playing activities enable the youth at risk to develop abilities in making wise and informed life decisions, face life hurdles and devise meaningful means of living. The young people through activity involvement build positive interactions with potential supervisors. Kessl and Otto (2008) note that the undertakings simulate theatrical exercises teaching the youth communication skills, team building as well as leadership development. The three aspects address the acute social marginalization as well as poverty risk. The engagements occupy the time that the young people would have spent engaging in disruptive as well in antisocial behaviors such as petty crimes. The young people involved include the group that the society has marginalized and failed to engage the group in active community activities such as governance. The group includes the youth who are unemployed, living under substandard and deplorable conditions who are confronted with anxiety and uncertainties about the future Kessl and Otto (2008). The young individuals in this context are engaging in activities such as sports and other exercises helping the group gain confidence in listening as well as in speaking. Furthermore, to address the aspect of risk and marginalization facing the young group the youth should engage in role playing activities such as theater arts and career development undertakings. The projects help the young people find logic in educational as well as in employment futures.

In an article by Kessl and Otto (2008) the activities assist the socially marginalized youth at risk in clarifying the myriad uncertainties confronting them in life. Hooks (2009) asserts that the individuals can repel the widespread cultural marginality through active involvement in such activities. Turning to Kessl and Otto (2008) one finds that urban young people at risk can undertake activities such as working with compassionate adults as well as contextualized teaching programs. According to Hooks (2009) the young people in question learn vocational skills enabling the group manage career paths, handle adolescence challenges and adequately plan for the shift from schooling to joining work industry. The undertakings comprise of more programs such as Career and Technical Education helping the youth align to values of youth development (Kelly, 2001). Undergoing through the initiatives provides clarity of career paths taken by the young people ultimately lowering the anxiety and uncertainties about the future as well as instilling more hope for a brighter tomorrow. The young people undertake the activities under the guidance of caring and competent adults. Kelly (2001) draws attention to the fact that the role-playing activities engage the socially marginalized youth in life-long learning, civic involvement and leadership as well as in careers creating meaning for the group’s lives. The array of roles stipulated in the program enhance youth development through holistic, ecological and relational world-view. The activities cultivate a meaningful future through providing programs that are grounded in values such as equality, justice, compassion and sustainability.

Research by Kelly (2001) has shown that the today’s modern world has socially excluded the young adults. The resultant outcome include declining revenues following high unemployment rate. Andersson (2003) notes that decline in labour intensive manufacturing, globalization, technology and a rise in neo liberal economic reforms characterizes the world today and has put the young people at risk and presented low-status employment that fits the youth less. Andersson (2003) observes that the harsh economy continues to deny the group access to labour market creating a difficult situation for the young adults. Unemployment leaves the marginalized youths with little reserve income to cater for healthcare, housing as well as creating constrain in meeting basic needs such as food. Amarasuriya et al., (2009) present an example whereby in the United States the immigrant young people face challenges such as language barrier and cultural shock. The individuals opt to segregate themselves in locations that present limited opportunities for education and job retraining. The scenario creates a marginalised group of young people termed as ‘underclass’ because of the poverty inflicting the individuals. Andersson (2003) points out that long-term unemployment, family disintegration, and homelessness epitomize the social exclusion and risk facing the young person.

The constraints and other obstacles make the group unable to make a seamless transition from school life to labour environment (Andersson, 2003). The marginalized youths opt to penetrate the labour environment taking low-status jobs with part time hours and few incentives. The risk, conditions of uncertainty, instability and susceptibility to crises increases activities proposed by policies created. The developmental projects direct the alienated groups into formal schooling to secure employment and subdue marginalization. Andersson (2003) expresses a view that the tough economic conditions and high rate of youth marginalization have continued to deny the young person access to jobs and education. Kessl et al., (2008) explain that the outcome of the denial includes complete alienation from the community. In some situations, the training program that is supposed to act as the saviour to the ordeal facing the youth rejects the group thereby putting the young person into social abyss.

Hooks (2009) argues that to minimize the adverse implications of social exclusion the young people undertake activities such as critical work education projects to reverse the exclusion. The group organizes and hold conventions where the participants share common experiences. Through capacity building the group acquires confidence, standing and recognition that enhances clarity of career paths and provides meaning to life. Hooks (2009) further explains that the role activities make the youth optimistic about future amidst that hopelessness created by social exclusion and unemployment. Furthermore, the undertakings provide motivation, emotional self-confidence and transform the marginalized group into disciplined and docile individuals as well as impacting the young person’s life positively (Riele, 2006). The school to work programs entrenched in the activities recognize and increase the likelihood of employability. Through training, the young people reinvent personal identities that impose a turnaround to negative outlooks and viewpoints.  The career education offered in the programs as well as the guidance and mentoring facilitate pathways to employability (Riele, 2006).

Undergoing through the system promote skill formation and cultivates the young people’s competencies resulting to self-improvement. Moreover, the activities also entail volunteering into post-industrial work places where the youth receive training on aspects such as customer relationship management and building friendly relations with the public. The socially alienated individual learn production methods and specific trade terminologies giving the youth competence in skills such as communication and teamwork, thereby increasing the employability chances (Hooks, 2009). The training address aspects such as aesthetics and personal effects ultimately motivating the individuals physically and emotionally. The skills attained aim at making the youth trainees impress the potential employers who look for abilities such as social skills, team working and communication. Hooks (2009) cites an example that the socially marginalized youths in states such as Lisbon, Portugal and England get the opportunity to explore through theater arts to identify and nurture personal skills as well as build self-confidence to redesign their life course and reverse the social marginalization. The platform provides an opportunity to master rendition performance techniques enabling the youth to pursue a career in arts (Amarasuriya et al., 2009). The developmental project activities allow the young people at risk make sense of the personal biographies and simulates the today’s everyday realities. The youth through the programs assesses self-strengths and weaknesses and effects necessary improvements to raise personal competitiveness in the job market (Andersson, 2003). Undertaking the program assist the young people to learn, comprehend and accept the transitional passages in the life course.

The role playing undertakings offer a chance for the socially discriminated group to undergo self-reflection and carry out alternative career planning. Andersson (2003) postulates that the current traditional and training scheme emphasize on undertaking a project solely, have inconsistent training characterized by short duration jobs and long unemployment periods making the young person more marginalized as well as increasing the risk further. Andersson (2003) reveals that the scenario raises apprehension and fear heightening social exclusion. The activities enshrined in policies created allow the young person explore personal experiences. Engagement in arts by the youths legitimizes the work performed in the community projects. The moderators in the development projects avail guidance creating a platform for expression in relation to career advice and job readiness (Riele, 2006). The activities provide skills enhancing vocational learning and acquisition of technical abilities that bring motivation and optimism despite the wide range despair created by social marginalization and state of lack as a result of unemployment.


Amarasuriya, H., Hettige, S. T., & University of Colombo. (2009). Political and social exclusion of youth in Sri Lanka. Colombo: Social Policy Analysis and Research Centre, University of Colombo. N.p.

Andersson, M. (2003). Immigrant youth and the dynamics of marginalization. Young, 11(1), 74-89. Doi: 10.1177/1103308803011001077. N.p.

Kelly, P. (2001) ‘Youth at risk: Processes of individualization and responsibilisation in
the risk society’. Discourse: Studies in the cultural politics of education. 22(1): 23-33.N.p.

Riele, K. (2006) ‘Youth “at risk”: Further marginalizing the marginalized?’ Journal of
Education Policy. 21(2): 129–145. N.p.

Hooks, B. (2009) ‘KIDS: Transgressive subject matter – reactionary film’. In Reel to Real: Race, Class and Sex at the Movies. London: Routledge: 75-85. N.p.

Kessl, F. and H.U. Otto (2008) ‘Marginalized youth: An introduction’. Social Work and Society. 6(2): 234-235. N.p.

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