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Reconsidering the Sociology of Youth

Anthony Alexander Dean

Abstract

Young people are considered here, in sociological terms as actual or potential labour power and hence in terms of their relationship to the organisation of production. They are further located within the institutional setting of the school, allowing for a consideration of the extent to which age acts as a mediation of class within an institutional setting.

Our findings point to the problems involved in a consideration of the relationship between age and class in sociological discussions of youth. They indicate the necessity of not only considering age as a mediation of class but of remaining sensitive to variations and contradictions within specific class cultural formations and, where applicable, including the important variables of gender and ethnicity.

Our conclusions indicate that the Althusserian notion of the school as an Ideological State Apparatus which simply reproduces a "dominant" ideology is far from adequate. We are obliged to conclude that analyses which accept this notion uncritically necessarily reproduce an essentially functionalist problematic.