With reference to functionalism, how does the music teenagers listen to affect their function in society?

Expert Answers

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One likely way for music to affect teenagers’ roles in society is if their choice of music makes them deviants.  Deviants have a function in society because they help “normal” people understand where the limits of societally acceptable behavior are.  By breaking the boundaries of acceptable behavior, deviants help show where those boundaries are.  Teens can help society see them as deviant by listening to the “wrong” music.  Some teens listen to music with “obscene” lyrics.  Others listen to music identified with drugs and crime.  These help identify them as deviants.

Teens can also function as reminders of what adult behavior is.  When we watch teens act in ways that we perceive as immature, we are reminded of what is expected of mature adults.  When teens listen to music that adults find frivolous (like “bubble gum pop”) they are helping to remind us about what rules adults are supposed to follow in society.  This is a second different function that teens can play that is affected by the music they listen to.

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