Sociology Mind
2014. Vol.4, No.1, 58-60
Published Online January 2014 in SciRes (
Study of the Development of Youth Culture under
the Background of Advanced Culture
Yang Yang
Southwest University, Chongqing, China
Received October 14th, 2013; revised November 22nd, 2013; accepted December 19th, 2013
Copyright © 2014 Yang Yang. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Att ribu-
tion License, which permits unrestri ct ed use, distribution, and reproducti on in any medium, provided the original
work is properly cited. In ac cordance of the Creative Commons Attribution License all Copyrights © 2014 are
reserved for SCIRP and th e owner of the in tellectual pr operty Yang Yan g. All Co pyright © 2 01 4 are guarded by
law and by SCIRP as a guardian.
It refers to the sum total of value system, behavioral norms and social relationships accepted by young
generations for youth culture which has the characteristic of hierarchy, variability and rebellion. It has al-
so had positive and negative functions. It is the mutual influence and mutual promoting relationship be-
tween the youth culture and advanced culture. Comrade Hu Jintao puts forward three wishes to the major-
ity of young people, but also gives the youth culture three new elements, which are diligent in learning,
good at creating and making contribution. In the new period, the youth culture will further be boosted
when we are developing advanced culture.
Keywords: Youth Culture; Advanced Culture; Development
Researches on youth issues appeared with industrialization,
urbanization and modernization. As early as 1904, Hall, the
father of child psychology in the United State, had published a
monograph titled adolescence, which is thoroughly discussed
about some youth issues, such as the changes of adolescent bo-
dy, psychology and emotion, their desire for love, their feelings
for nature, their interest for literature, biographies and history,
their intellectual development, the social relationships, adult
ceremony, youth crime and so on (Wei, 1996). In the early
1980s, youth sociology that had gained a firm footing in China
as a discipline was established the foundation for the study of
Chinese youth culture. There is little information available in
literature about the youth culture. For the concept of youth cul-
ture, different scholars hold different views. Some scholars be-
lieve that the youth culture is a way of life for the youth. Some
think that it is the sum total of all the lifestyles of youth groups.
Others consider that it is the culture of young students and so
on (Yao, 2000). In these different concepts, some are too broad
and vague and some are too narrow. None of the other phases
have been examined in detail. We conducted this paper to in-
vestigate the concept, characteristics and functions of youth
culture, and to explore how to further prosper youth culture un-
der the background of advanced culture in new period.
The Definition, Characteristi cs and
Functions of Youth Culture
Its definition and characteristics The character of time is
the character of the young. Youth is the main force of social
life and the backbone of society in the future. The young age is
a life period filled with of fantasy, excitement, mystery and
loneliness. Nowadays, the youth culture in China is a special
subculture that is closely related to the background of main-
stream culture and the society, which regulated by its time, sig-
nificant transformation and short transition. For the concept of
youth culture, different scholars hold different views. Some
scholars believe that the youth culture is a way of life for the
youth, those think that it is the sum total of all the lifestyles of
youth groups, others consider that it is the culture of young
students and so on (Yao, 2000). In these different concepts,
some are too broad and vague and some are too narrow. The so-
called youth culture is the sum total of the acceptable value
sys tem, behavioral norms and social relationships shared by
young groups. Relatively speaking, the y out h culture refers to a
special subculture representing youth and its society, it is dif-
ferent from the subject culture that contains the state which
reflects the will of all citizens, the social formal organization
which is represented by school and the family which is repre-
sented by parents.
Youth culture has characteristics of hierarchy, changeability
and rebellion (Hao, 1996). Its hierarchy is embodied that it can
be generally divided into the following three levels. The first le-
vel is a variety of a specific youth lifestyle and phenomena,
such as the external quality of language, words, music, art, film,
fashion, lifestyle, taste, etc. The second level is the value impli-
ed in the above-mentioned phenomena, and it can be roughly
summarized by six aspects of experiential value, moral value,
religious value, political value, scientific value and aesthetic
value. The third level is the youth cognitive intention, aesthetic
taste and psychological change trend, which are limited by these
concepts and have not been theorized and systematized. Its
changeability is resulted by the fact that youth is a transition
period (José, 2 001). Fei Xiao tong said that there are two kinds
of different types for culture, one is a kind of culture to expand,
the other is a kind of culture to give birth to shell and cease to
grow (Fei, 1985). Youth culture belongs to the former. It firstly
is reflected in the first level and is the external appearance of
youth culture, and it is changeable. To a certain extent, this
expanding culture has a subtle inner link with the youth values.
It is usually the most important basis to observe the youth cul-
ture for the second level. Because these values are directly re-
flected the status and roles of the young in society. These val-
ues are essentially a kind of the evaluation standard and a kind
of the more solid and enduring belief that can determine a
young people to choose what kind of life form and behavior
patterns in groups to judge right and wrong, beauty and ugli-
ness, love and hate, etc. However, some ti mes they wil l be chan-
ged over time, and even be rapidly changed in a short period.
The general basis of modern youth culture is together made up
of the third level and the objective background of the period,
the social environment and the traditional cultural in which the
youth live, which also has the characteristic of change. Its trait
of rebellion means that youth who is always curious about the
new things and won’t be conformist and atavistic, recognize the
traditional and modern society by themselves and express their
ideas from their own perspective. So, a certain rebellion and de-
viation against mainstream culture will be emerged. Its rebel-
lion is fully reflected in its vanguard and emotion (Li, 1997).
Parsons believes that the youth culture is an independent cul-
tural sy stem all shared by the y oung . A different degree kind of
irresponsible youth culture has conflicts with the adult concepts
which emphasis the duty, obedience and productive labor and
youth culture stresses the uninhibited lifestyles and resists the
hopes and constraints from the adults (Huang, 1993).
Its functions From the perspective of structural functionalist,
youth culture, as a part of social consciousness, assumes some
social functions that have both positive and negative sides.
About the positive features, youth culture is necessary for the
survival of social consciousness and has made a positive con-
tribution to it. Firstly, youth culture can be beneficial to econo-
mic and social development. Then, it may create an active and
rich social life. Meanwhile, it also can promote the cultural pro-
gress, consciousness changes, and shape new values. It as well
can create a new life and form a new lifestyle. Specific to the
youth, youth culture can help the young to do the self-reali-
zation and develop the personality. It may assist them in gain-
ing recognition from groups. Besides, it also can satisfy their
divergent needs and improve the life quality and so on. About
the reverse functi on, youth culture may waste the social re-
sources, and to some extent, it increases social costs. Specific to
youth again, youth culture may make youth lose themselves,
waste money and even cause a bad motive and behavior. Then,
from the perspective of structural functionalist, youth culture
lets young people have their own culture, helps them to have
self-realization and satisfy their individual needs, and at the
same time makes the young people release a certain degree of
confusion about the society and the reality. All of these achieve
the function of culture as a safety valve to the whole society.
Developing the Advanced to Further Boost the
Youth Culture
Young people are the hope of the motherland and the nation.
Mao Zedong, Deng Xiaoping and Jiang Zemin all have made
many brilliant expositions about the youth and youth work,
which reflects the Chinese Communist Party has a high atten-
tion, enthusiasm and ardent hope to the youth and also shows
the importance of youth to a state or nation. Youth, who are the
main force of the great rejuvenation of the Chinese nation and
the national reunification, take on the significant task of build-
ing a moderately prosperous society. Therefore, correctly guid-
ing, supporting and booming the youth culture is the important
step to cultivate mainstay for modernization construction.
The relationship between advanced culture and youth
culture Advanced culture and youth culture are the dialectical
relation of mutual influences and mutual promotion. Advanced
culture is a result of the human civilization’s progress and his-
torical development, is the thought basis, the spiritual motive
power and intellectual supporting to promote the progress of
human society. The culture’s power is deeply rooted in the na-
tion’s vitality, creativity and cohesion. The youth culture is in-
fluenced by advanced culture. Advanced culture makes its na-
tional, scientific and popular socialist thought toward moderni-
zation, the world and the future into the youth culture by osmo-
sis. Because youth culture is their own culture for the young
people and deeply influences their values, cognitive, aesthetic
and psychological tendence, and will further affect their social-
ism practice in future, such as to build an advanced civilization
of socialism, the development of the advanced productive
forces and to achieve the socialist modernization strategic task.
Only by strengthening the advanced mainstrea m culture of Three
Representatives, it can provide the final standard of the core
idea and the value selection for the society and the youth. The
young people are improved themselves by the mainstream cul-
ture to get the noble pursuit, the positive way of life and beha-
vior and they will really be the hope of nation and society and
really become the spokesperson of society and nation.
In turn, the advanced culture is also influenced by the youth
culture. As the young people possess their self-esteem, self-re-
spect, self-confidence, self-reliance and have a high spirit and
noble character, the advanced culture is pour into a fresh impe-
tus by their pione ering and creative spirit ual culture. It will make
us cohering public feeling and refreshing, and it will compre-
hensively boom the economic construction and other undertak-
ings in our count ry. With the te nde ncy of society becomin g more
younger and young’ experience tends to be consistent, youth
culture and the social mainstream culture showed the tendency
to be close and mix together. Youth culture no longer has the
property that the previous youth culture have the simple and
general ly not have the ma in str eam cu lt ura l c harac t eri sti c s, but i t
has the characteristics of the mainstream culture in some degree.
In such conditions, it has been greatly improved for the reaction
that the mainstream culture is influenced by the youth culture.
Define the advanced culture Youth culture, which is des-
tined to change-forward or backward, cannot be stagnant. Ad-
vanced culture determines the youth culture. Culture also fol-
lows the law that everything is from less advanced to advanced,
but to what extent can we consider that culture is advanced? In
history, many scholars have made exploration and statements
about the criterion of the advanced culture. For example, the
American anthropologist Morgan stated that culture has three
stages which are barbarism, half-civilization and civilization,
and each stage was divided into low, intermediate and high le-
vels of evolutionary concept. There is a typical view that Pope-
noe divided the culture into the material culture, cognitive cul-
ture and cultural norms. In cultural anthropology, culture has
been classified into the material culture, spiritual culture and
institutional culture. Besides, Marxism divided the social pat-
terns scientifically with the mode of production and regarded
the development level of productive forces as the symbol of ad-
vanced culture. Thus, the Three Represents itself is a manife-
station of advanced culture. Youth culture is bound to accept
the Three Represents, and then continues its life on the right
Strengthen the guidance of advanced culture Now, China
is in the changing period which is comprehensive and multi-
latitude, the social administration system is switching from the
highly centralized planned economic system to the socialist
market economic system. In terms of the social structure, the
society is changing from the agricultural, rural, closed and se-
mi-closed traditional society to the industrial, urban and open
modern society. During this process, some young people may
misunderstand the traditional culture and public morality, and
then violate the social rules. However, we can prevent these
problems effectively through the guidance of advanced culture.
Firstly, youth culture, which is affected by the advanced culture
and also has deeply rooted in the country’s advanced culture,
develops in accordance with the advanced culture. Secondly,
weakening advanced culture can make subculture lose support
and the youth culture may turn into its opposite. Meanwhile,
the young generation may also feel depressive and lose them-
selves in social life, from which one can easily image the cha-
racteristics of youth. According to the dialectical relationship
between them, the cultural ecological balance must be the mul-
ti-culture which is guided by the advanced mainstream culture.
Otherwise, multiculturalism may lead the cultural confusion.
Finally, to prevent the cultural confusion, we should develop
advanced culture and strengthen its guidance. Jung called the
adolescent as a binary stage of lifea kind of resistance/ac-
ceptance of the dual structure, full of all kinds of conflicts. As
we described above, youth culture has both positive and nega-
tive functions. After the 80s of this century, the core of China’s
social and cultural development has changed into material cul-
ture, the spiritual culture has released the burden, yet it is rela-
tively vulnerable. The culture has not gotten a balanced devel-
opment, as a result, the problems will be exposed naturally as
time goes by. Culture is rich and diverse, but lack of regulation,
which reflects in both the management of cultural transmission
channels and the management of cultural contents. After Chi-
na’s reform and opening-up, through various channels, some
non-rational, vulgar, superstitious ideas reach youth’s spiritual
world without hindrance, which lets some youth who are in an
unstable personality state go astray. For example, people born
in the 70’s pursue the diversity and freshness of life. Bars, rock,
sex and nightlife become their label. This kind of lifestyle,
which also has both positive and negative sides, is caused by
foreign culture. If one is indulged in, it is actually a kind of
depravation. Conversely, it is to release the stress f rom the city
life. As people has analyzed from the perspective of functional-
ism, youth culture itself does not have any praise or derogatory
meaning. However, if we do not choose the foreign culture
carefully which is shared and accepted by youth and let culture
flow into disorder, this will inevitably lead to its contradictory
opposite of bad direction. As a result, there will be the deprava-
tion of youth-violent crime, terrorism, drug trafficking and de-
moralization, etc. which is described by pessimism young soci-
As youth culture has trait of hierarchy, variability and rebel-
lion, we should take actions from two aspects when we streng-
then the positive guidance function of advanced culture. Firstly,
we ought to start from the management of the dissemination
content. Youth culture is not only a popular culture, but also a
phenomenon of public social psychology. Many people in so-
ciety pursue a certain lifestyle, which makes this lifestyle seen
everywhere in a relatively short time and causes a chain reac-
tion between people. Mass media plays a vital role in this pro-
cess, so selecting the positive, healthy and advanced communi-
cation materials can create active guidance for youth culture.
Secondly, we should strengthen the management of communi-
cation means. Modern media is a multi-dimensional informa-
tion channel which consists of television, movies, newspapers
and networks. China does very well in all aspects except the
network management, to which we have to pay more attention.
The network allows the recipients of information to become
more active and it’s very popular among the young people
yearning for independence, so the network users are mostly
young. Nevertheless, more and more network crime, which is
undoubtedly a great discredit of the youth image at the same
time, points out the focus and direction of our work-scientific
management and reasonable guidance to create a good external
environment for the prosperity of youth culture. Only in this
way can we ensure that the youth culture can be more develop-
ed and boomed.
Acknowledgmen ts
The research is supported by Collaborative Innovation Cen-
ter for the Southwestern University’s Balanced Urban-Rural
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