Sunday, December 14, 2008

Street Photography # 9: Bandung's Youth Culture

Look at the T-shirt this young man is wearing.

Terrorism is horrific, but to fight it and fall into that other thing written on his t-shirt is like escaping the mouth of a tiger and falling into the mouth of a crocodile.

However, I don't think this young man is serious about smoking the homegrown thing (I certainly hope not). Like any young people anywhere, the t-shirt he has chosen to wear may just be a rebellious expression of his young mind.

Rebellious and out of the league expressions are one of the many distinctive features of youth subculture. These expressions can be found in their behaviors, fashions, choices of music genres, vehicles, and even the slangs and language they use.

There are many theories that have been proposed or used by experts to explain about youth subculture. Among them, Stuart Hall's and Tony Jefferson's (1993) and that of the Frankfurt School of Marxist Theory are, I think, most interesting. According to the former, youth subcultures are the symbolic and ritualistic manifestations of attempts to defy the hegemonic power of the bourgeois by a deliberate adoption of symbolic actions that challenge the establishment. The latter theory, meanwhile, suggests that the intrinsically consumerist characteristics of the youth subculture is an inseparable part of the divide-and-rule strategy of capitalism.

I took this photograph at the HELAR Fest held in Bandung last August. The HELAR Fest, as I mentioned in a couple of my previous posts, is an annual event that celebrates Bandung as an emerging creative city. Creativity, as well as the HELAR Fest itself, is the domain of the youths. They are the powerhouse of the future.


babooshka said...

As always your text transports you to another level ie to think, which sadly people seem to have stopped or incapable of doing. Youth shouls and will always rebel sometimes with very beneficial results. Have you studied moral panics at all? Fascinating.

uncleawang said...

It's happened everywhere in developing country.Social culture of to-day's youths.

JM said...

I think the T-shirt is so ironic I just love it! It's a very funny and cool way to get someone's attention on serious matters.

Catherine said...

Very interesting subject, picture and text. That brings us to a Universal discussion, because this kind of tee shirt could be worn in most countries. (Except legally, we don't homegrow this in France, but, maybe I'm naive?)

ramblingwoods said...

At least his pants are up and you can't see his underwear as loose pants are the style here..Interesting theories about youth. I've read that kids need to show they are different than their parents in order to prepare to be on their own.. We all did it in some way or another.