Does the ‘This Is England’ Franchise Deliver a Genuine Representation of Youth Subcultures?

Does the ‘This is England’ Franchise deliver a genuine representation of youth subcultures?

In the words of Shane Meadows, the creator of the ‘This is England’ franchise, “I always wanted This is England to tell the truth about skinheads” (Meadows, 2007). Following his plan, going from the big screen to the little screen, Meadows took his characters and representations of their lives turning it into three TV series that further expanded on the youth subcultures of the ‘80s and ‘90s.   In this critical investigation I would like to explore the representational accuracy of the This is England franchise. The two main subcultures prominent throughout the franchise are the Skinhead subculture of the 1980s and the Rave subculture of the 1990s. I will use the primary text of This is England ’90 (2015), as it represents both.
The Rave subculture found its way into society when electronic music and clubbing impacted on popular culture in the ‘90s. Many youths at the time found themselves in this craze, participating in self-organised raves, drug taking and pulling themselves from the norms and values of society at the time. This bricolage of the culture was embodied by the ‘Have a Nice Day’ smiley emoji, neon colours, shaved heads and house music. As described in the article, A Rave Review, members of Generation X, referring to those born between 1965 and 1980, organised raves “during the conservative eras of Thatcher in the UK.” This alluded to the belief that many young ‘Gen-Xers’ were personified as a “response to cultural tensions amongst the working class” (Kavanaugh, 2007). In This is England ’90 there are a lot of examples in the narrative strand of characters, such as Gadget and Kelly, which suggest the franchise is accurate to the times. For example, in the second episode of This is England ’90, titled Summer, the lead characters join a communal travellers group who are having their own type of party and rave. Apart from This is England ’90, rave subculture has...