The Events That Culminated to the 2011 London Riots: The Decay of Todays Youth Culture (Dissertation Sample)
Description of brief: Dissertation based on the 'The decay of today's youth culture' (The lost generation).
Incorporating certain elements as to why the 2011 London riots happened? Are modern day young people
affected by politics? Does the media misrepresent the youth? How has technology influenced youth culture?
The dissertation will be based on the decay of today's youth culture. The writer will look into the journey different
generations of young people have gone through and how we have ended up to this present day. It will be
dissected into every possible angle of young people today and figure out what went wrong. It has to be delved
deep into society in general and try to link a connection between the two. Questions will be asked and answered
if society is in a fit state? What is expected from the lost generation? Why the class system is still an issue?
The comparison between middle class and working class kids, and discover how they ended up so different,
but most importantly who is to blame for letting down the kids of tomorrow.
By Your Name
Unit/Subject Name and Code
10th June, 2014
Chapter I: Introduction
The level of decay of todayâ€™s youth is high, and there are several signs among the youths in the United Kingdom to demonstrate such moral crisis. According to Braham (2006, p. 311), "the kids are revolting" and going against the ideas of their parents. High rates of self-destructive behaviour, bad language, peer cruelty, disrespect for authority, cheating, bigotry, stealing, vandalism and violence among the youth of today mirror this cultural image. Social division also presents as a widely spreading aspect in the modern society. Social classes based on material and political factors continuously emerge, effectively causing rifts in the current society.
The contemporary world is characterized by a tremendous evolution in technology. As the technology expands, the means of communication also evolve in speed and coverage. Social media is one of the aspects of technology that is characterised by uncontrollable growth and traffic of information. The modern technology has influenced culture in a number of ways, and social media seems to play an enormous role in the erosion of the cultural values. For example, information trending on tweeter and other social pages may influence the behaviour of the subject individuals. However, the social media is a complex aspect to control because of the diverse nature. Therefore, the behaviors of the individuals need to be tamed by applying useful measure. Perhaps, the youth can only be corrected through effective parenting. Considering the seriousness of the current moral crisis, one should no longer depend on other social institutions to instil morality. Unfortunately, even the learning institutions are no longer keened on reinforcing moral values, but have become a fertile ground for breeding antisocial behaviors.
Most of the young people in the UK seem to have distanced themselves from politics. They just feel that they have been isolated and abandoned as far as the running of the country is concerned. Some even feel it is the responsibility of the older generation to make decisions and not them. According to the Electoral Commission (2002) Research report based on the 2001 general election, even though it recorded the worst voter turnout since "the advent of universal adult suffrageâ€, low voter turnout was particularly more pronounced in the youth age group of about 18-24 (It approximately stood at 39% of the total voters under the same age bracket). The following are some of the reasons attributed to the above phenomena: the youth disillusionment (they just feel it makes no difference whether if they choose to vote or not and whoever wins is none of their business), apathy (they just any interest in the politics of the country), they regard voting as time-consuming and hence an inconvenience to their time, they lack knowledge/do not know more about voting and politics in general, they feel a single vote wonâ€™t make much impact on the overall results and lastly, but most important, they feel that they are alienated as far as the politics of their country is concerned-politics is not for the young people (The Electoral Commission 2002, p. 6). This clearly shows that the youth in the UK are totally misrepresented and disinterested in the politics of their own country.
The youth in the UK hit the headlines of the mainstream media (Television and the Media) all for the wrong reasons (mostly being associations with violent gangs and crimes of all sorts). This heightened media attention of the youth group, evidently seen by flashy and sensational headlines on television and newspapers, is mainly due to the perceived view of the emergence of youth gangs in the UK (Cox 2011, p.1). In has directly led to the fear of the youth within the UK communities and the resultant numerous government responses (mostly through force bringing about large deaths to the youth in the hands of the law enforcers). (Cox 2011, p. 1). Ironically, it has not been established todate whether this perceived view of the youth is a reality or a mere myth.
On the other hand, technologies, especially the internet and television (to some extent synonymously associated with the media), have promoted immoral desires. Social and mass media frequently show episodes of violence, which cause psychological trauma among the young individuals while other children tend to watch such events persistently. Therefore, as individuals grow, the negative actions witnessed during the tender age, contribute in shaping their values, beliefs, and personalities. As a result, the subject will exhibit aggression and lack the differentiation of fiction from reality (Braham 2006).
The above analysis of the youth in the UK, clearly characterizes todayâ€™s generation X-commonly referred to as the lost generation (as brought out in Couplandâ€™s (1991) book: Generation X: Tales for an accelerated culture), and is what led to (to the larger extent) the chaos witnessed in the 2011 London riots.
Chapter II: Literature Review
Criminality cannot be dissociated from moral disintegration in the society (The Daily Telegraph 2011). There was frustration and widespread anger as the police engaged rioters on Tottenham streets. Collaboratively, London School of Economics (LSE) and the Guardian conducted an extensive interview on the participants of the unrests in Birmingham, Nottingham, Manchester, London, Salford, and Liverpool. First person accounts of the above revealed a complex mix of the grievances brought to the Tottenham streets. Antipathy and distrust toward police was identified as a major driving force. Many rioters cited simple opportunism given by the suspicion of the normal rule as a golden chance to acquire luxury items and goods they could not afford. Therefore, the disturbance was widely described as an opportunity to acquire "free stuff," and not justifiable as a theft. Even though, rioters gave mixed opinions pertaining to the unrest, and many of the participants indicated that they were executing an anti-police riots provoked poor policing, which saw Mark Duggan shot (The Guardian 2011).
After the Tottenham riots, the affected area appeared like a battlefield, which illustrates the intensity of the violence (BBC, 2011). In commenting on the Tottenham unrests, BBC (2011) highlights that the criminality witnessed on the street of Tottenham cannot be dissociated from the cultural disintegration within the British society. According to Peter Oborne (chief commentator of the Daily Telegraph), "the moral decay of the modern society is deep-rooted" (The Daily Telegraph 2011, p.3). Elsewhere, Fusch notes that "when the British political class grouped to condemn the rioters, the focus was on the moral decay of the contemporary society" (2013, p. 256). However, the issue of class also seems to emerge from the critical analysis of this situation. Perhaps the universal culture of greed and selfishness has gone up in the British society. As The Daily Telegraph (2011) further highlights, most inhabitants of the expensive streets are young and unemployed individuals forced to pay taxes as an obligation of the British government to which they do not feel part of as they feel alienated from it. In this perspective, the political stand of condemning violence seems ineffective because such a step ignores the common decency. The rioters went for the consumer goods as opposed to the politicians who go for the big scandals and cost a fortune to the rest of the society. Moreover, the double standards exhibited by the minors of the society would be a reflection of the double standard at the top of the British society.
According to the Economic Collapse (2013), the economy level of the developed countries continues to get out of control. Poverty continuously expounds as the middle class experience evisceration, and the youth lack decent jobs. Doom characterizes the financial institutions as foolish decisions are executed endlessly. Therefore, middle class and poor individuals experience enormous challenges, which widen the social rift.
The Tottenham riots injured many individuals physically and psychologically (BBC 2011). During the rioting process, several police officers were hurt. Residential houses and business premises also underwent serious damages, which include burning and looting. In the course of the riots, the BBC satellite captured the process, which mainly consisted of the youth. Following the rioting process, several individuals were arrested and charged for committing offenses, which include theft and burglary and violent disorder. However, major blames were pointed to the social media because of the provocative messages circuited within.
According to the State University (2014), ineffective education system would influence the erosion of a given culture. As State University (2014) further highlights, the education system of the contemporary society only emphasizes on good grades and instil no moral values in children. A good education system should instil moral principles, such as respect, social responsibility, civility, and honesty. However, teachers in the modern systems spent minimal amount of time educating moral principles because success of their work is based on the academic performance of the subject students. Moreover, the contemporary syllabi carry sensitive topic unworthy for some given age groups. For example, "safe sex" have been introduced as part of the reproductive health studies, therefore; any minor reading through such content might think that sexual pleasures are allowed at all ages (State University, 2014). Therefore, lesson in schools have just been set for exam purposes ...
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