In the 1950s and early 1960s, the British teenager was presented as a symbol of generational rebellion in the popular press, social investigations, and much political debate. We draw on oral histories, newspapers and the archives of prominent social surveys to question this presentation.
By examining how working-class teenagers and their parents experienced and remembered the post-war years, we identify a disjuncture between the literature on moral panic and the widespread evidence of intergenerational cooperation between parents and children. Many working-class parents, enjoying
newfound economic security, felt able to encourage their children to enjoy more adventurous lives.