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.