You are on page 1of 14

Amanda Muzzy HIS 320: Youth Culture November 29, 2011 Research Project Class Plan Lesson Plan for

a College-Level Three-Week Unit: Adult Anxiety Toward Youth “Delinquency” in the 1950s.

Student Learning Outcomes Students who attend this three-week long unit on the origins of adult anxiety, desired youth social conformity, and anxiety, in regards to youth’s activities and culture will:

1. Describe the types of anxiety adults had post 1950s, what cultures exacerbated these fears of youth delinquency, and adult anxiety over the youth clothing and styles.

2. Be able to demonstrate their knowledge in the take home quiz by providing thoughtful responses to the key questions provided. Including, but not limited to the following; how delinquent youth was viewed at the time; why race played such a large role in adult anxiety; how did youth use rebellion as a tool?

3. Be able to participate fully in class discussions raising well thought out questions coupled with supporting evidence from assigned readings, the article read in class, and photos shown.

Page 1 of 14

Reading Assignments “College Men Turned gangs into Teams: Students’ Community Service Channels Youths’ Energies into Athletic Rivalry Delinquency Drops Sharply.” New York Times, January 13, 1950. (accessed October 28, 2011). There is an increase in anxiety, at the time; there was a need for the public to come up with a way to combat this rising juvenile delinquency. This newspaper article is interesting because it shows the different techniques the general public used at the time to decrease juvenile delinquency. One question this article raises is how officials and the general public would do today? Would they use the same example set in this article, which was to go into rival gangs and become “big brothers” and the college males say there is zero gang activity in the lower Manhattan. Another question this article raises is if it was this simple to rid the community of juvenile delinquency why didn’t everyone do it? The program even links education with community involvement which rerouted the gang’s activities into something productive. The article will get the class to see how media at this time played a huge role in the increase of adult anxiety.

Graebner, William. Coming of Age in Buffalo: Youth and Authority in the Postwar Era. Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1990. The book demonstrates youth’s relationships with adults and how youths actions increase adult anxiety. The book shows how youth created culture and how style, clothing, dancing and music directly related to anxiety. The author justifies this argument by showing specific examples of media used and since there was a huge spotlight on youth looking back at the 1950s one can infer Page 2 of 14

the relationship between youth and adults. The author shows a lot of photos to show the shift of values in youth culture and how this increased anxiety in adults (41). The largest source of the anxiety, the author demonstrates, was how the youth went against the “dominate culture” (43). Parents and the community placed an emphasis on youth clubs, organizations and gangs, which were formed by class, gender, ethnicity and neighborhoods aspect; in addition, adults saw this as social obstructions and didn’t want them around their children (74-8). The book will give the students firsthand knowledge of the anxiety at this time by seeing the photographs. Understanding the author’s argument will show why adults feared the rebellion to the dominant culture.

Hebdige, Dick. Subculture: The Meaning of Style. London: New York: Routledge, 1979. The author demonstrates the source of adult anxiety was linked to styles adopted by jazz (46). “There is unprecedented convergence of blacks and whites (culture), so aggressively […] it attracted controversy” (46). The factors were “race sex and rebellion,” that led to moral panic (46). The chapter goes on to explain how the Teddy bear subculture is formed and how rock and roll changed clothing styles which led to the race riots in 1958 and this led to a focus on delinquency (50). Also, this book explains the anxiety of gang’s distorted values of working class adult culture (76). For example, Teds were accepted by some working class (82). This event changed the future clothing styles and their meanings because in 1978 the statements styles made were more political (84). The media increased parental anxiety which came from challenging adult culture and fear on the parent’s part (82). The book goes over the main points of the learning objectives and the class will have to read pages 35-90 which is littered with examples of how the youth increased adult anxiety.

Page 3 of 14

Scwendinger, Herman, and Julia Seigel Scwendinger. Adolescent Subcultures and Delinquency. New York: Praeger Publishers, 1985. In chapter fifteen the book focuses on how delinquency is formed in subcultures (189). The key factor of delinquency, according to the author, are how youth identifies with a group, how delinquent groups run, pride in one’s group or commitment, discrimination and identity (189200). This book also will be used to addresses an interesting point of morals and how youth often, associated with a subculture, throw some of their morals away when they are in a “war of all against all,” and the economic, political and social upbringing a person had will shape their morals (123). One of the more interesting points was how the youth culture recycle culture or aspect form it, we will have a discussion on this point using the author’s examples of modern cultures compatible with the 1950s (60). The class will read excerpt from the book 122-126, 189203 and 39-64. The book overall, will help shed light on the delinquency associated with the vast subcultures.

Page 4 of 14

Additional Materials In addition to the readings students with view power points of photographs of the 1950s to see firsthand how the youth of this time period dressed. The photos will be used to draw a link between parental anxiety and youth’s extra circular activities, clothing they wore, and the types of people they surrounded themselves with. Baker, Patricia. Fashion of a Decade: The 1950s. Infobase Publishing: New York, 2007. The use of this picture is to show the style of the 1950s and to try and convey why there was anxiety of a clothing style. This style of the American greaser has been linked to anxiety in adults because it is associated with delinquency and violence. Davidson, Bruce, Photographer. “Brooklyn greaser gang: The Jokers.” Photograph. c1959. From Lifelounge, Bruce Davidson, and 1950s gangs of Brooklyn. (November 1, 2011). The picture shows anguish the youth gang member has by him screaming. The photo demonstrates the clothing styles and gives an insight of how this style might be thought of as violent or harmless. The overall question would be how did adults in the 1950s view this subculture? In addition to the photos the youth will read two primary resources, in class, from the New York Times newspaper. The articles will explain about the anxiety parents, families, and youth were experiencing during the 1950s.

Page 5 of 14

Wherry, Wm. “To Combat Delinquency: Modernization of Courts Dealing With Children in Custody Urged.” New York Times, June 23, 1955. (accessed November 1, 2011). The students will learn how adults dealt with anxiety during the 1950s. Anxiety over delinquency was so high among adults there was a letter to the New York Times that expressed a solution and an increase awareness of youth’s problems. There needs to be more shelters for "broken families" and clinics for when youth are released from custody, instead they go back on the streets. The author states that the state is neglecting them and should spend funds resolving the problem by providing adequate probation officers. The author argues setting up adequate shelters, having the properly trained staff in the shelters and in the court room would increase youth's "sense of responsibility" and belonging. The law is "breeding criminal conduct” use the law to combat it not “train them.”

“New York: Death in the Streets.” New York Times, Review of the Week Editorials, September 06, 1959. (accessed October 11, 2011).

The newspaper article interviews gang members to gain insight and their responses are linked to a sense of belonging, violence, and racial ties. The author attributes gang affiliation with low income, poverty, poor home lives, little education and poor surrounding neighborhoods which led to violence, racial tensions. The rise of delinquency is attributed to little court punishment and the author wants a change in funds which should go to programs, decreasing juvenile

Page 6 of 14

delinquency, increase police forces. The article gives students multiple reasons of how delinquency was categorized and viewed. The article will also give the readers a sense of why the fear of delinquency was a large factor in adult anxiety.

Page 7 of 14

Lecture Outline Since this course is only three weeks long an abundance of lecturing would not be necessary. By giving the students the primary resources, accurate historical knowledge, scholarly debates, and the proper evidence they will be able to engage thoroughly in the topic. One lecture in the beginning of the lecture will be sufficient. “Parental anxiety due to youth’s lifestyle in 1950s” I. Anxiety overview A. Aspects of Youth Delinquency and the “Origins” of Delinquency B. Adult Use of Media to Decrease Anxiety (Newspapers) C. The Role Immigrants/ Gangs, Race, Youth Convergence and Class Structure Played to Increase Anxiety II. Historical Context A. Change in Styles B. Role of Education C. Public Reactions to the Youth Going Against the Dominant Culture[Coming of Age] III. Significance of the Topic A. How Did Aspect of Communism and Conformity Increase Anxiety? B. How Did the Increase of Juvenile Punishment Add to Anxiety in Adults? Keep in Mind the Statistics From This Time Period Were Very High. C. Why should we learn about this topic in detail?

Page 8 of 14

Description of Assignments and Learning Assessments Discussions and Class Contributions Every day the students should have read the assigned reading and be ready to engage in the class discussion. Students will be able to raise important questions to help them clarify and strengthen their understanding of the topic. I will grade students on the following factors: Does the student participate with accurate comments using examples from assigned and past readings? Does the student use outside examples relevant to the topic at hand? Does the student raise clarification questions, if they do not understand, to further their knowledge and to increase their classmate’s understandings? Are they taking notes and paying attention through the lectures, PowerPoints, and discussions? Primary Reading Response Students will be assigned a review essay on the following articles, “College Men Turned gangs into Teams: Students’ Community Service Channels Youths’ Energies into Athletic Rivalry Delinquency Drops Sharply.” and “New York: Death in the Streets.” Students will gain more insight and be able to use the examples from the text to participate in discussion more efficiently; instead of a research project where students have to spend time gathering sources, the students will be given the sources in advance to write a two page essay response per reading. This assignment will help students answer the key questions raised in the lecture and complete the learning objectives. Students will be graded on the following factors: Is the paper typed on white paper and in black ink? Does the student make the connections of anxiety, toward youth, that parents have during the 1950s? Do they use specific examples from the text to support their point? Does the student explain why adults have the anxiety they do? Are the pages numbered? Are there

Page 9 of 14

minimal awkward sentences, run-ons, or typos? Does the paper seem as if it has been edited? Does the student demonstrate why we should learn about the topic by proving its importance in their response? Does the student demonstrate the factors that exacerbated adult anxiety? Take-Home Test A take home test will be given out on the first day of class. This test will help the students record their thoughts in an essay format to demonstrate their knowledge from the class entirely. Student will answer the questions provided: Overall, has your view of juvenile delinquency changed over the course of this class? How if so? What factors or events did adults use to justify their anxiety over youth in the 1950s? Where the parents justified in having anxiety over youth? What could the parents have done differently, if anything, to reduce youth delinquency or their anxiety? How delinquent youth was viewed at the time; why race played such a large role in adult anxiety; how did youth use rebellion as a tool? In a four, to six, page essay students should use at least two examples from each assigned reading and from every class reading. This will help the students achieve the learning outcome by using the resources to explain their arguments. This quiz will be given out at the start of the course so students can use the information every day to think critically about the essay question; as opposed to remembering all the material three weeks later. I will assess the assignment by the following factors: Does the student answer all the points of the question fully? Is it typed with minimal errors, minimal awkward sentences? Are the pages numbered? Does the assignment seem as if it has been proof read? Does the student address the learning objectives? Does the student use two supporting examples from every reading? Are the readings cited properly? Does the

Page 10 of 14

student include a supporting example from every discussion, and lecture? Is there sufficient evidence used to support the student’s thesis? Does the student engage fully in the topic using relevant examples?

Page 11 of 14

Summary of Why This Topic is Important The topic of adult anxiety during this time is significant because it shows the underlying privilege status, how social norms can play a significant role in creating conformity and increasing anxiety in older generations. The topic shows how a whole nation became scared over youth’s friends/ immigrants because of race relations and the adoption of different styles; one supporting factor would be how clothing and youth created cultures can become so controversial.1 To understand this topic the students will have to see firsthand, through primary resources, that there were large social implications due to the people they hung around, the clothing they wore, delinquency and increased incarceration.2 Styles have changed over the years, anxiety has shifted with them, implications of governments have changed along with stereotypes, and public opinions. This topic also represents the significant use of media, statistics and how fear drove adult anxiety at this time. In reference to juvenile delinquency many parents used gang affiliation or even being friends with immigrants as a breakdown of morals; It is important to see that adults thought a break down in education was the root of delinquency because the youth were seen as abolishing their family morals for gang ties.3 Understanding the root to the anxiety will show the class the many social implications and stereotypes of this time. Understanding this topic will promote the students to think objectively in their day to day life and see how clothing, culture, lifestyles, and certain affiliation with groups will bring about social stigmas and stereotypes. The photographs demonstrate social class, delinquency association and rebellion coupled with gang affiliation. The topic of adult anxiety ruled by youth decisions show the relationships of the time and how there are social implications in every aspect of life. The topic represents the role that

Page 12 of 14

every person has in a society faced with hierarchies and stigmatizations. The existence of anxiety in adults is, in my opinion, mainly attributed to youth’s loyalty to gangs, not family. In addition, there is an extreme amount of fear that family values will breakdown resulting in the diminishing of cultural ties; the youth replaced cultural ties with their own creation of youth driven culture and clothing.4

William Graebner, Coming of Age in Buffalo: Youth and Authority in the Postwar Era

(Philadelphia: Temple University Press, 1990); Dick Hebdige, Subculture: The Meaning of Style. (London: New York: Routledge, 1979); Herman Scwendinger, and Julia Seigel Scwendinger. Adolescent Subcultures and Delinquency. (New York: Praeger Publishers, 1985).

Patricia Baker, Fashion of a Decade: The 1950s. (Infobase Publishing: New York, 2007);

Bruce Davidson. Photographer. “Brooklyn greaser gang: The Jokers.” Photograph. c1959. From lifelounge, Bruce Davidson and 1950s gangs of Brooklyn. (November 1, 2011); Wm. Wherry, “To Combat Delinquency: Modernization of Courts Dealing with Children in Custody Urged.” New York Times, June 23, 1955. (accessed November 1, 2011); “College Men Turned gangs into Teams: Students’ Community Service Channels Youths’ Energies into Athletic Rivalry Delinquency Drops Sharply.” New York Times, January 13, 1950. (accessed October 28, 2011); “New York: Death in the Streets.” New York Times, Review of the Week Editorials, September 06, 1959. (accessed October 11, 2011).

Page 13 of 14


Michael Brake, Comparative Youth Culture: The Sociology of Youth Cultures and Youth

Subcultures in America, Britain and Canada. (Britain: Rutledge and Kegan Paul, 1985).

Brake, Comparative Youth Culture; Graebner, Coming of Age in Buffalo; Hebdige, Subculture.

Page 14 of 14