Youth, training and the training state : the real history of youth training in the twentieth century
This work provides an explanation for the existence of youth that goes beyond the analysis presented by the mainstream sociology of youth and its critics. This involves not only a deconstruction of the sociology of youth, but also a deconstruction of the nature of reality which it supports. I undermine this reality by utilising a theory of abstraction developed by Karl Marx initially from his work on alienated labour and later through his theory of commodity fetishism. Following Marx I suggest that the real world is in fact an abstract (virtual) reality. As part of that reality youth is an abstraction which exists in a concrete form. I trace the development of this abstraction to its manifestation in its most modern form as youth. I suggest that youth has always existed, but not as youth. I argue that the modern form of youth was derived in 1948 as the product of a particular configuration of the productive consumption between capital and labour. I explore the development of this relationship as it manifests itself in its various youthful forms (: Elvis-the teenager ... punk) and through a particular regulatory device (: the training state). I conclude that there is no future for youth as youth, by which I mean there is no work, by which I mean there is no money, by which I mean there is no adulthood, by which I mean there is no responsibility, only not responsibility. I suggest that the sociology of youth, and in particular the work of the cultural theorists, e. g. S. Hall, and the practical policies that it supports are, in fact, condemning youth to its existence as youth, for which there is no future. Although the subject matter of the work is youth I am also concerned with the nature of my own subjectivity. This concern includes my own subjectivity as a co-operating employee of the training state and as a subject involved in academic research. I become what I am: an immanent part of the social reality I am trying to explain. This incursion denies the detached perspective of social science and demands a critique of its methodology which I support with reference to painterly (: Cubist) and scientific theories of relativity. I connect these more complete explanations of the real world with Marx's own theory of relativity: the law of value. This engagement with relativity enables me to investigate the determined forms of social existence, e. g. time, space, subjectivity, youth and social life itself, beyond these determinations and, therefore, beyond the future.