BBC Radio 4's Analysis: Wasted on the young?, was broadcast on Thursday, 27 April, 2006 at 20:30 BST.
Nick Hornby: A fevered pitch for youth culture?
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Britain's youth today maintains the honourable - or dishonourable, according to taste - tradition of alarming, perplexing and disappointing its elders. It is manifested in the increasingly strident ministerial mantra of greater "respect" to be shown towards older people by younger ones, and in shopping centres' demonization of "hoodies" and their wearers. Such reactions are also prompted by the anarchic use of technology by young people, their perceived fetishism of consumer brands and cynical attitude to political radicalism.
But is the generation gap as wide as some critics claim? After all, time was when total mystification - and mutual suspicion - separated parents from their children over the look, the street argot and the music. Now, the whole family unblushingly attends the same gig - united rather than divided by the culture. And attitudes can coincide more than differ on social issues of the day.
In this week's edition of Analysis, Richard Weight asks Nick Hornby, Norman Jay, Sheryl Garratt, Peter York and Simon Napier-Bell, among others, how our youth culture works. Just how democratic is it? How far does it genuinely transform lives? And is our fondness for it in later life anything more than nostalgia?
Presenter: Richard Weight
Producer: Simon Coates
Editor: Nicola Meyrick