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youth culture

Definition of Youth Culture

(noun) The unique behaviors, norms, and values typified by adolescents (young adults) in a larger culture.

Examples of Youth Culture

  • distinctive dress
  • music tastes

Youth Culture Pronunciation

Pronunciation Usage Guide

Syllabification: youth cul·ture

Audio Pronunciation

– American English
– British English

Phonetic Spelling

  • American English – /yOOth kUHl-chuhr/
  • British English – /yUth kUHl-chuh/

International Phonetic Alphabet

  • American English – /juθ ˈkʌlʧər/
  • British English – /juːθ ˈkʌlʧə/

Usage Notes

  • Plural: youth cultures
  • Youth culture expression differs depending on locality and socioeconomic factors.
  • A type of culture.
  • Also called youth subculture.

Related Quotations

  • “We have then a situation where at the same time the inevitable importance of family ties is intensified and a necessity to become emancipated from them is imposed. This situation would seem to have a good deal to do with the fact that with us adolescence – and beyond – is, as has been frequently noted, a ‘difficult’ period in the life cycle. In particular, associated with this situation is the prominence in our society of what has been called a ‘youth culture’, a distinctive pattern of values and attitudes of the age groups between childhood and the assumption of full adult responsibilities. This youth culture, with its irresponsibility, its pleasure-seeking, its ‘rating and dating’, and its intensification of the romantic love pattern, is not a simple matter of ‘apprenticeship’ in adult values and responsibilities. It bears many of the marks of reaction to emotional tension and insecurity, and in all probability has among its functions that of easing the difficult process of adjustment from childhood emotional dependency to full ‘maturity’. In it we find still a third element underlying the prominence of the romantic love complex in American society” (Parsons 1943:32–33).
  • “Western nations have postponed the entrance of their adolescents into adulthood for economic and educational reasons, segregating them in schools and colleges and effectively relieving them from competing with adults for wealth, power and status in society’s mainstream until they are 21 or older. This has created conditions favorable to the development of a unique culture among youth” (Hughes and Kroehler 2008:55).

Additional Information

Related Terms


Hughes, Michael, and Carolyn J. Kroehler. 2008. Sociology: The Core. 8th ed. Boston: McGraw-Hill.

Parsons, Talcott. 1943. “The Kinship System of the Contemporary United States.” American Anthropologist 45(1):22–38. doi:10.1525/aa.1943.45.1.02a00030.

Cite the Definition of Youth Culture

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “youth culture.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved May 23, 2024 (https://sociologydictionary.org/youth-culture/).

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

youth culture. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/youth-culture/

Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “youth culture.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed May 23, 2024. https://sociologydictionary.org/youth-culture/.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“youth culture.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 23 May. 2024. <https://sociologydictionary.org/youth-culture/>.