Australian youth, modern teens : the Hollywood teen film and Australian teenage culture in the 1950s and 1960s

Publication Type:
Thesis
Issue Date:
2006
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NO FULL TEXT AVAILABLE. This thesis contains 3rd party copyright material. ----- This thesis explores the ways in which Australian teenagers negotiated the cultural differences dividing them from the Hollywood teen idols of 1950s and 1960s cinema. By investigating the history of young people both on the screen and in the audience, I have attempted to develop an understanding of some of the ways in which the idea of 'the teenager' suggested by American films played a role in the development of an Australian teen culture. Of particular interest is the place of teenagers within the conflicts surrounding modernity in Australia, and the moral panics which developed concerning teenagers and the films Hollywood made for them. I also examine teen subjectivities and argue that cinemas provided a safe place in which teenagers could consider new possibilities of who they were and could be. Australian teenagers participated both in the broader Australian culture and, via their connection to American popular culture, in a modem (Western) global culture concerned more with a common age than nationality. They were placed both as Australian youth and modem teens. Taking an 'ethno-historical' approach, I have combined the analysis of film texts, oral history interviews and research into contextual and intertextual sources in an attempt to position understandings of teen films within the context of the time and location in which they were viewed. In so doing I acknowledge the diverse experiences of and responses to any film that are possible within audiences and seek to include just some of the many ways in which Australian teenagers have experienced Hollywood films. American teen films both confim1ed and contradicted the views on 'appropriate' teenage behaviour held in Australia during these years. This thesis explores those views and examines ways in which 'the teenager' became located as a site of conflicts centred around popular culture, Americanisation and modernity.
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