Credit points


Campus offering

No unit offerings are currently available for this unit



Unit rationale, description and aim

Professionals working in fields related to sociology do not just require an understanding of the socially constructed nature of age categories like 'youth', but also an appreciation of how young people form a distinctive subculture within wider society. Across the world, young people are at the forefront of cultural innovation, creating identities, styles, rituals and practices that challenge and confront 'mainstream' cultures. This unit offers a sociological perspective on youth cultures, focusing on the development, dynamics and social significance of young people's participation in subcultures. It explores the historical emergence of 'youth cultures' in the mid-twentieth century and considers the relationships between youth subcultures and social change. Our examination of youth cultures in Australia and internationally will encompass core concepts in youth subcultural studies such as belonging, resistance, marginalisation, authenticity and space. It will also consider the importance of the internet and social media in youth cultural experiences, as well as how youth cultures intersect with gender, race, sexuality, ethnicity and class. The overall aim of this unit is to familiarise students with subcultural theories and concepts necessary for a sociological understanding of young people's diverse cultures, practices and lived experiences.

Learning outcomes

To successfully complete this unit you will be able to demonstrate you have achieved the learning outcomes (LO) detailed in the below table.

Each outcome is informed by a number of graduate capabilities (GC) to ensure your work in this, and every unit, is part of a larger goal of graduating from ACU with the attributes of insight, empathy, imagination and impact.

Explore the graduate capabilities.

On successful completion of this unit, students should be able to:

LO1 - Identify different sociological approaches and perspectives relevant to the study of youth cultures in Australia and globally (GA1, GA5) 

LO2 - Communicate clearly and comprehensively through written and oral forms (GA9) 

LO3 - Demonstrate skills in sociological analysis and critical thinking through the collection and analysis of empirical data through a range of methods (GA4, GA8) 

LO4 - Apply relevant sociological theories, concepts and evidence to the analysis of social phenomena associated with youth cultures (GA1, GA4, GA8) 

LO5 - Construct specific sociological arguments using relevant theories, concepts and evidence relevant to Australian and global youth cultures (GA4, GA8, GA9) 

Graduate attributes

GA1 - demonstrate respect for the dignity of each individual and for human diversity 

GA4 - think critically and reflectively 

GA5 - demonstrate values, knowledge, skills and attitudes appropriate to the discipline and/or profession 

GA8 - locate, organise, analyse, synthesise and evaluate information 

GA9 - demonstrate effective communication in oral and written English language and visual media 


Topics will include: 

  • The historical development of youth subcultures in Australia and globally  
  • Subcultural theories 
  • Deviance and dissent 
  • Resistance and political activism 
  • Moral panics and media portrayals of young people 
  • Marginalised or minority young people, e.g. Indigenous, LGBTIQA+ 
  • Race and ethnicity in youth cultures 
  • Gender and sexuality in youth cultures 
  • Cultural globalisation 
  • Identity, belonging and authenticity 
  • Fashion, style and ritual 
  • Internet, social media and online subcultures 

Learning and teaching strategy and rationale

This unit employs two formal ways of learning and teaching. It additionally makes use of online materials and activities to facilitate flexible and accessible supplementary learning. Lectures are structured to promote case-based learning, a format that involves collaborative deep learning. You will explore real world issues, a process that requires them to demonstrate their investigative, problem-solving and decision-making skills. Case-based learning requires learning specific theories and concepts that will complement the conceptual tools and theoretical knowledge critical to analysing divergent approaches to the sociology of youth cultures and young people. Tutorials for this unit provide students opportunities for active learning. You will engage in activities including reading, writing, interrogating ideas, exploring case studies, doing role plays, debating, and giving presentations. These activities, as well as promoting acquisition, assimilation and synthesis of lecture content, are designed to build skills appropriate to second year study in Sociology. 


This is a 10-credit point unit and has been designed to ensure that the time needed to complete the required volume of learning to the requisite standard is approximately 150 hours in total across the semester. To achieve a passing standard in this unit, students will find it helpful to engage in the full range of learning activities and assessments utilised in this unit. The learning and teaching and assessment strategies include a range of approaches to support your learning such as reading, reflection, discussion, webinars, podcasts, video etc. 

Assessment strategy and rationale

The assessment tasks for this unit have been designed to contribute to high quality student learning by both helping students learn (assessment for learning), and by measuring explicit evidence of their learning (assessment of learning). Assessments have been developed to meet the unit learning outcomes and develop graduate attributes consistent with University assessment requirements. These have been designed so that they use a variety of tasks to measure the different learning outcomes at a level suitable for second year study in Sociology.  


The assessments in this unit encourage students to apply a sociological perspective in understanding a youth subculture (cultural analysis task), critically examine the representation of a youth subculture or changes in youth subcultures over time (written task) and investigate youth cultures through the collection and analysis of subcultural objects (portfolio). The schedule provides scaffolded learning with opportunities for students to monitor their own progress, practise their skills and receive feedback. This assists students to develop metacognitive awareness, thereby promoting ongoing learning. 

Overview of assessments

Brief Description of Kind and Purpose of Assessment TasksWeightingLearning OutcomesGraduate Attributes

Cultural analysis task 

Students will apply a sociological perspective to a case study of a youth subculture. 


LO1, LO2, LO3  

GA1, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9 

Written task 

Students are required to undertake a major written piece exploring the representation or historical development of a particular youth subculture. 


LO2, LO4, LO5 

GA1, GA4, GA8, GA9 

Portfolio task 

Students are required to undertake a thematic engagement with a specific youth subculture through the development of a portfolio. 


LO1, LO4, LO5 

GA1, GA4, GA5, GA8, GA9 

Representative texts and references

Abraham, I. (2017) Evangelical youth culture: Alternative music and extreme sports subcultures. London: Bloomsbury. 

Baker, S., Robards, B. & Buttigieg, B. (2015) Youth cultures and subcultures: Australian perspectives. London: Routledge. 

Bennett, A. & Robards, B. Eds. (2015) Mediated youth cultures: The internet, belonging and new cultural configurations. Hampshire: Palgrave Macmillan. 

Bentley, N., Johnson, B. & Zieleniec, A. Eds. (2018) Youth subcultures in fiction, film and other media: Teenage dreams. Cham: Palgrave Macmillan. 

Blackman, S. & Kempson, M. Eds. (2016) The subcultural imagination: Theory, research and reflexivity in contemporary youth cultures. Oxon: London. 

Cann, V. (2018) Girls like this, boys like that: The reproduction of gender in contemporary youth cultures. London: Bloomsbury Academic. 

De Kloet, J. & Fung, A.Y.H. (2017) Youth cultures in China. Cambridge: Polity Press. 

Dhoest, A. et al. Eds. (2017) The borders of subculture: Resistance and the mainstream. Oxon: Routledge. 

Garland, J. et al. Eds. (2015) Youth culture, popular music and the end of ‘consensus’. London: Routledge. 

Gildart, K. et al. Eds. (2017) Youth culture and social change: Making a difference by making a noise. London: Palgrave Macmillan. 

Have a question?

We're available 9am–5pm AEDT,
Monday to Friday

If you’ve got a question, our AskACU team has you covered. You can search FAQs, text us, email, live chat, call – whatever works for you.

Live chat with us now

Chat to our team for real-time
answers to your questions.

Launch live chat

Visit our FAQs page

Find answers to some commonly
asked questions.

See our FAQs