| Global youth culture is a complex hybrid culture. It is an outlook and understanding of the world among youths – young people between the ages of 14 and 35 – worldwide. It includes a shared taste in, and love of, mainstream popular trends in art, music, movies, fashion, technologies, etc. It is a largely media-driven culture and the result of the proliferation of film, television, other forms of media, as well as information and communication technologies and the internet. The reality of this emergent culture is evident in changing youth values, habits, preferences, attitudes and worldviews.
Globalization will probably not erase western individualism. However, the world is moving towards a common humanity. With communication and increasing pluralism, people share cultures and feel free to adopt lifestyles that appeal to them. Thus, humanity is increasingly moving towards a global awareness built upon emerging common values. Some of these values include social justice, human rights, respect for and protection of life, freedom, peace and non-violence, democracy, tolerance, intercultural sharing, dialogue, collaboration, charity, respect and accommodativeness towards people of other faiths. Others include global citizenship, spirituality, friendship, love, universal ethics, education, inner happiness, truthfulness, order, self-discipline, community/humanitarian service, friendship, work, achievement, diligence, commitment, trustworthiness, positive thinking, resilience, innovativeness, equity, teamwork, interconnectedness, creativity, etc. The positive and desirable nature of these values, highlights a universal desire for a more habitable world, and indicates that we are heading in the right direction.
The emergent global youth culture is not an out-of-the-blue culture dominating or threatening local cultures; it is rather the result of the convergence and fusion of aspects of diverse cultures. There is no denying the fact that the cosmopolitan west has a huge influence on it, or that it is, with its rather egalitarian and liberal values, replacing local cultures, and influencing socialization.
Socialization is no longer limited to traditional agents such as family, religion and school. Youth themselves are now agents of their own socialization. They create and/or form part of online social communities and networks involving other youths with whom they have varied or shared interests, values, and worldviews. This is enhancing greater intercultural communication and dialogue, and consequently, narrowing gaps of understanding.
Africa, particularly Nigeria, being largely a changing pre-industrial society as against the secular industrialized west is an interesting case in this global phenomenon. Urban youths in Nigeria are also growing in global consciousness. They have more access to TV, radio, other communication and information devices and the internet than their rural counterparts do. However, factors like poverty, poor power supply, expensive and slow internet services, limit them. Moreover, the mistrust on Nigerians due to bad image abroad, is a huge limitation to a full participation of Nigerian youths as they are often subject to rigorous probes, or denied access to certain networks and opportunities.
The impact so far of the global youth culture on Nigerian youths is most obvious in their preferred fashion, movies and music. Youths even in rural areas are abandoning traditional dress in favour of European and American fashion. Many also prefer American movies and music. The local community with its communal lifestyle, and influence on an individual’s identity, is gradually losing its grip on youth.
African (Nigerian) cultures are, however, not likely to be completely replaced by the new global culture. There appears to be a growing appreciation of certain aspects of local cultures and traditions even among youths. The government, some organizations and individuals promote things like native fashion, food, traditional medicine, native language, traditional entertainment, etc. Thus, despite their love for Western fashion, movies, and music many Nigerian youths do appreciate and encourage the unique Nigerian popular music (mostly in Nigerian pidgin English), and still follow fashion trends in native wears which they prefer for some religious and social occasions.
Though there is a growing global awareness among them, community and regional outlook have the most influence on Nigerian youths rather than global networks. Moreover, religion still has a strong hold on them and still contributes in shaping their morality. Thus, though the effect of the global youth culture is minimal compared to youths of other societies, most Nigerian youths would feel part of the new global culture.
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Sokfa Francis John
From Kaduna State, Nigeria. Studied Philosophy as a member of St. Patrick's Missionary Society with St.Joseph's Institute Cedara, KZN, and Religious Studies at University of Jos, Nigeria. Major areas of interest: Religion, Peace and Conflict management, cultures, Music,...
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