Youth culture

Since 2009, the Seine-Saint-Denis County Council has been backing “la Culture et l’Art au Collège (CAC)”. This project is based to a large extent on the presence in class for several weeks (40h) of an artist or scientist whose mission is to engage the students in a process of research and creation. 

 

Tutors: Yaëlle Alsellem, CHANTAL DAHAN / sociologists

Project manager: Mathieu Marion

 

Objectives:
The categories “youth” and “adolescent” are still vague in terms of analysis, partly because they were invented and used relatively late. For many research scientists, they do not explain the reality – it’s the two categories themselves that need explaining. 

Workshops:
Youth is Just a Word
The contributor canvasses the students to learn about their cultural practices: what do art and culture mean to each of them? Where do they go to find it (do they often go to the cinema or museums, do they use the internet or watch television, etc.)? Do they distinguish between doing and watching? This activity makes it possible to sketch a kind of “cultural and artistic” portrait of the class. To give these initial questions greater impact, the sociologist carefully chooses various texts to illustrate the relationship between adolescence and culture.

What’s a Hypothesis?
The students have to decide upon a series of avenues to explore. The specific methods of sociological surveys are put into practice to translate the spontaneous thoughts of the previous stage into topics. Using examples from her own work, the contributor shows the students how to construct indicators, how to produce an interview template and how to draw up a questionnaire. The students then survey a panel of adolescents chosen from among their classmates followed by a second panel, this time from a Parisian middle school. 

Feedback
The third sequence sees the students and contributor decipher the interviews by sorting the responses into categories. This is followed by analyses and comparisons: are the two survey groups similar or are there major disparities? What are the points of convergence and divergence between the two groups? The class takes up its initial hypotheses and confronts them with what they have learnt in the field – what observations can be made? Can they detect any trends? The contributor and the students then make graphic representations of the results. 

Culture in the Plural
Are there any traits shared by young people from different countries that could provide grounds for the idea of a common adolescent culture? Or, on the contrary, are there distinctive attributes from one society to the next that are linked to national contexts? Are there any signs of harmonised practices due to “digital globalisation”? During this final stage, the students put their “local” results into perspective by comparing them with similar surveys conducted on other continents. 

Showcase:
For Research Scientists:
On 12th May 2017, the classes were invited to present their research at the INJEP. The groups of students were received by research project leaders in the site’s conference hall to present their findings: topics, methods used, observations and trends. After the presentations, the students and sociologists had more informal discussions. 

For the Educational Community:
As they did for the INJEP presentation, both classes presented their findings to the educational community. They prepared this session by drawing up a list of people to invite, booking a hall and deciding what technical means they needed (video, microphone, etc.). 

 

Outings (selection):
- MINISTÈRE DE LA VILLE, DE LA JEUNESSE ET DES SPORTS
- INSTITUT NATIONAL DE LA JEUNESSE ET DE L'EDUCATION POPULAIRE

- CENTRE GEORGE POMPIDOU
- CENTRE NATIONAL DES ARTS ET MÉTIERS (CNAM)

Participating schools:
- class 5e, collège DESCARTES, LE BLANC-MESNIL
- class 3e, collège LÉON JOUHAUX, LIVRY GARGAN

 

Photo: PIERRE ANTOINE

Youth culture