Youth Resistance

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In many ways the term “resistance” alone serves as an emblematic description of the contradictory, oscillating dynamic of youth. Society labels youth as a period of great resistance: resistance to parents, to institutions and education, and to the cultural norms of modern society. At the same time, youth is seen as a vulnerable period of blind impulsivity and naive acquiescence. Many understandings of resistance are contradictory. Young individuals are criticized for rebelling from what is expected of them but also seen as susceptible to the influence of peers, media, and delinquent behavior. “Resistance” is as amorphous and complex a term as youth is a liminal phase of life. Resistance is often romanticized for its provocative nature but …show more content…

At a developmental level, teenage rebellion is common in young adults attempting to create their own identity that is detached from, and often in response to, that of their parents. MacLeod observes the formulation of individual identities and the establishing of social networks through looking at resistance in the context of social reproduction in the education system. MacLeod is well-versed in the complexity of resistance and still is careful to acknowledge the positive aspects of resistant behavior among youth populations especially in marginalized communities. MacLeod evidences the intentionality of youth resistance in stating, “the oppositional behavior of the Hallway Hangers is a form of resistance to an institution that cannot deliver on its promise of upward social mobility for all students” (108). Thus, the young men who make up the Hallway Hangers have made an informed decision about how they are interacting with and responding to the injustices they are confronted with. More importantly however is how through resistance the Hallway Hangers were able to create a network with the potential for greater social mobility and support. In many ways the “rituals of resistance” became a bonding factor that helped the boys to develop a collective identity and learn how to maneuver a world that disenfranchises …show more content…

Not only do youth populations serve as trendsetters in propagating new popular culture, they also have used resistance to mobilize for large-scale social change. Resistance is not always lawless and chaotic as images of teenagers in mass media continue to suggest. The transition to adulthood is jarring and the realization that the future is not as bright as you were taught it would be as an adult creates a platform for unified resistance. Many declarative moments of history would not have occurred without the mobilization of youth communities. In just the past few weeks, it has been high school students who have been spearheading action against gun violence in the United States. The collective movement illustrates that the potential for constructive youth resistance is still strong. Students have been organizing protests, orchestrating sit-ins and teach-ins and giving eloquent, impassioned speeches on national television. These recent manifestations of resistance are reminiscent of young students in the 1960s who staged a walkout with a force of over 200,000 participants in Chicago public schools. The liminality of youth may make the time frame confusing and difficult but it also allows for an innovative perspective on how to confront faults of the adult world. Certainly there are institutions that deeply fear teenage resistance because they know how powerful of a tool it can be for uprooting flawed

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