Effects of Social Divisions on Youth Cultural Practice

Subject: Art
Type: Argumentative Essay
Pages: 11
Word count: 2925
Topics: Music, Dress Code, Interpersonal Communication, Social Inequality


Effects of social divisions on youth cultural practice refer to given regulations that enshrine the youths and control their ability to make decisions in various aspects of life (Furlong, 2012). The regulations, refer to conditions within various social divisions that the youths need to abide by. Such social divisions include social classes and ethnicity. Social class is a system of grouping in various societies. Social classes have been used in organizing the society into some sets (Furlong, 2012). For instance, individuals with similar professions may be identified with a given social class (Giddens, 2005). Ethnicity on the other hand is a social division which refer to the state of being part of a given social group that has a common cultural tradition (Kalantzis, 2010). Conceptualization of given social groups, is also dependent on the perception of various individuals, depending on certain characteristics of distinction (Statistics New Zealand, 2001). 

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Effects of Social Divisions on Youth Cultural Practice

In the complex society of the youths, though gender can also be considered a division structure (Furlong, 2012), the two major ecological structures, highlighted above, that enhances diversity in their lives, also influences their development. The social class system encompasses various groups of youths and every group is like a subculture with specific attitudes and behaviours (Havighurst, 2015). The attitudes and behaviours define the groups hence a distinction between the groups (Robert & Tholen, 2005). Ethnic group systems instil sense of common originality hence they share certain traits. The social divisions affect youth’s aspects of life. These aspects include social relations, education, dress code, political life and music among others.  


The first cultural practice among youths is learning, and it cuts across all youths globally, the difference may only exist in structure and composition (Furlong, 2012). Various social classes and ethnic groups shape the youths’ educational experience (Boyd, 2014). Cultural diversity is the main cause of existence of various ethnic groups in Australia. Various social classes also became the basis of separation of learning institutions. However, since 1990s, youths in Australia have been exposed to multicultural education, a process associated to comprehensive reform of schooling. This has reduced various levels of discrimination and racism among youths in various learning institutions (Shildrick & MacDonald, 2006). On the other hand, it has enhanced pluralism, including diverse ethnic groups and the known social classes, that these youths represent (O’Neill, 2009). Most of the elements of pluralism interact with each other, hence it considers ethnicity in relation to social class. 

On the contrary, education attainment among the youth is globally associated with upper social class (Aguila & Roberts, 2012). Besides, its composition and structure vary with given ethnic groups. For instance, youths from upper class families are able to obtain quality education from exclusive private schools and the public state funded schools. However, youths from low social class can even fail to attain higher levels of education; the low level of education they receive is of low quality mostly. Since the time that education was introduction from North America and Europe, influence of social divisions as the ones discussed above, have slowed down convergence of global schooling system expected in various education institutions. The convergence, the world school culture, is intended to eventually generate a common culture in education among the youths (Levitt & Kathryn, 2003). This eventually neutralizes the social boundaries and enhances unity and socialization. 

Practically, the case of Turkish community in Australia has norms that impacts the interaction of their students with other students, such that their community bond is kept intact. Secondly, sexual norms, gender roles and other kinship obligations, are valued to an extent that the community allow girls to be in school up to a limited level, that enables them abide by the values (Windle, 2008). Being that they were immigrants, there socioeconomic level placed them in the lower class, hence the youths cannot achieve quality education, due to insufficient funding.  

Dress code

Dress code has become a cultural practice among most youths in the current generation, and is mostly influenced by religious ethnicities (Collins-Mayo, 2012). In this context, attire among the youths have been shaped by various social divisions. For instance, the dress code of the Australian youths is associated with multi-faith context which can be explained based on the religious ethnic diversity (Cahill, et al., 2004). Youths brought up in Muslim have different lifestyle from the youths brought up in Christianity. Muslims’ dress code is restricted to veiling and hijab for the ladies, therefore, this ethnicity shapes the way they dress.   

Social class has also shaped youths’ dress code as a cultural practice among youths all over the globe. Most youths may prefer given type of attire depending on the fashion of interest, however, their social classes, relating to their economic status, practically determines what they have on. For instance, it is common to identify youths from upper class with expensive nice looking attires, while those from low class are capable of purchasing the second hand cloth.

Social Relations

Social relations are common cultural practice among most youths which is associated with various sexual practices among other behaviours. There exists different extent of behaviours and sexual activities by which the youths are culturally tolerated, discouraged or encouraged based on various ethnicity or social classes among other social divisions (Bucholtz, 2002). Social class has shaped this cultural practice among the youths such that, premarital sex has been associated with lower class youths which is evidenced by pregnancy before marriage among youths in such classes (Gabrenya, 2003). This is common in the US. However, in the same country (developed) the upper class youths engage in education for a long period and therefore end up into social relations when they are very mature in their youth-age. Due to their experience and maturity, they manage the sexual activities in their social relation such that no issues of pregnancy before marriage is common. Similar situation is common in Australia, however, the social relation among the upper and middle class in Australia, prolongs until it translates into cohabitation.

Ethnicity has also shaped social relations in various ways. For example, in Australia, social relation is reserved for youths with religious affiliation. Inasmuch as dating is accepted widely as a standard rule, other immoral sexual practices like lesbian/gay relationships and commercial dating services are also rampant in Australia (Furlong, 2012). Such practices are borrowed from British ethnicity which is the main source of Australian values. The borrowed British culture as an ethnicity is the key influencer of Australian social relations. 

European culture has shaped social relations such that they consider it as an activity with structured activities and formal rules. Their cultural regulations direct that the parents or specific members of community on the proposal of the potential partners. After that dating is limited to specific period, during which the parties are studied if they suit each other. This is similar with the social relations in Japan where the social relation is identified as Omiai (Thelmaw, 2015). Such requirements restrict the youths’ social relations. Generally, there is no uniformity in the global social relations practice among the youths, due to the numerous ethnicity whose values and beliefs are different. However, there are very few common elements in the associated activities, for instance, the social relation should lead to marriage. 

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Political Life

Though youths have been viewed as sources of creativity, innovation and various dynamics in the technological world, their earlier encroachment into politics has been established in the current generation (MacDonald, 2008). The Arab Awakening, influenced many youths globally to be active politically. This is evident in higher learning institutions like universities, where young men and women are members of various political movements (UNDP, 2012). Therefore, politics as an aspect of youths’ lives can be considered a cultural practice. The availed opportunities for youths to be involved in governance and political decision making, are solely dependent on their cultural context and their social classes. For instance, Bangladesh developed a youth organization known as National Youth Parliament (NYP). The organization is intended to empower the young generation of various social classes, who are willing and able, so that they may be able to adequately participate in the development of the national policies. Jordan is also increasing trainings that enhances political participation (UNDP, 2012).Hence their political life is controlled according to the NYP of Bangladesh and the Jordan trainings respectively, they do not have any free will in the political contexts of their lives. Globally, it is notable that socioeconomic aspects which is the key determinant of social classes, shapes political lives of these youths. Youths in upper and middle class, are prone to participate in politics than those in lower class. This is because, political success in most countries is identified with financial capability. 

Just like most of the western governments, Australia has recently turned to the political participation of the youths (Fyfe, 2009). Ethnicity has a strong influence on the political lives of the Australian youths. For instance, the immigrant youths believe that they have a future political role to play in Australia. This forms the main reason behind the Australian political storm in relation to the issue of ‘boat people’. This issue unveils immoderate sensitivity in the continent’s politics and society to immigrant and immigration settlement policy. Therefore, ethnic diversity in Australia which is generated by immigration, has influenced political participation among the Australian youths. Immigrants are keen on their political moves, while the migrants, are quite free as they claim to own the land. At this point, ethnicity (immigrant or not) is shaping the youth’s participation in politics. As mentioned earlier, upper and middle class youths in Australia, who are well-educated and wealthy are more capable to influence the public politically than the lower class, who may not have money to donate in political forums. Politics relates to a given level of expense that only favours the upper, hence the shaping. Therefore, the youths’ freedom to engage in politics have been controlled by their ethnicity and socioeconomic capability.  


Music is part of a cultural practice among most youths. Though youth culture can be considered a subculture with behaviours, norms, values and beliefs, social divisions have imposed significant influence in their music. Basis of the influences of these social divisions relies on the fact that, music is a product of given timely intension (Laughey, 2006). That is why some youths are lovers of a given music genre but not the other. For that reason, social class has influenced popularity of some music among the youths. For instance, towards late 1970s, upper and middle class youths constituted the counter culture. Many scholars of that period recognised the fact that various styles of music were interwoven in different social classes of youths. Therefore, various meanings that these social groups had for every music generated clear homologies between them and music preference (Roe, 2000). Considering ethnicity, most African youths in Europe identify with Jazz and Blues; this has made it common that they be identified with that set of music. Rastafarian youths have also identified with Reggae in Europe, as they consider it a music of protest, that draws adherents from the inner cities’ young blacks. 

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Drawing from Australia, youths in its northern territory emphasizes on the relationship that exists between social identity and musical performance. This is because these youths consider themselves as aboriginals; that is, the land has been inhabited by their ancestors since before the arrival of the colonist. That ethnicity has made them to identify with various forms of aboriginal popular songs (Wu, 2014). Globalization is a threat to this culture in that the same youths from that territory have been influenced to love other songs due to high level of immigration in Australia. However, the contemporary music in Australia is based on various ethnic groups like UK and US among other ethnic groups, which has eventually led to emergence of Australian country music or Australian rock. The Australian youths from middle and upper class like identifying with such contemporary music, while the low class are known for the local songs in various local indigenous languages (Australian National University, 2015). This is because, environment of the social classes in which these youths have been brought up in are different, and have adapted them to the different kinds of music, Globally, music is considered as a fashion among the youths. Its intention for passing message still holds as they are identified based on such messages; hence the reason for love songs, sacred songs or political songs among others. The identifications are shaped by the various social divisions. 

Development of Various Social Divisions in other Countries

Development of the social classes in Korea is mainly restricted by the country’s general economic development. This was evident during the twentieth century’s second half when its per capita GDP increased significantly (World Youth, 2003). This led to a general alteration in the number citizens in various social classes. For instance, citizens in middle class and upper class increased in number due to the increased rate of employment among most of the youths. On the contrary, the low class reduced in number.  

The economic development in China on the other hand has reduced the significant difference between various social classes, that is, reduction in economic inequality (World Youth, 2003). This has been enhanced by the high rate of youths’ rural-urban migration. The migration is greatly propelled by not only by employment search, but also by the urge to fit in various social classes. Generally, the evident struggles in the youth to fit in the upper social class is a trending global issue. More youths are interested in higher level of education today, than it was sometime back. After the completion of their education, they have always secured employment through different means including self-employment.  

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From the study above, is evident that social divisions play a significant role in shaping youth cultural practices and global culture consumption. The study has analysed five cultural practices among youths and how ethnicity and class has shaped them. These include education, religion, social relations, political life and music. The study has revealed the fact that variation in ethnicity is the key cause of different educational settings all over the globe. On the other hand, social classes have led to the difference in the level of educational achievement. Religion has been shaped by ethnicity, which has determined various religious practices. Social class determines the sets of youths who are members of formal or informal denominations. Social relations have also been influenced by ethnicity and class in that it is commonly encouraged among members of the same ethnic group and class. Upper and middle class youths are prone to engage in politics and succeed than the low class youths. Various nationalities have developed different reasons for engaging youths in politics. It has also been unveiled that given sets of youths identify with specific music based on their ethnic originality. Similarly, different social classes identify with different style of music. Lastly, development of social divisions in Korea and China have been analysed, specifically based on social class. 

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