Nudism as a Deviant Subculture

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  • Topic: Naturism, Nudity, Nude beach
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  • Published : October 31, 2010
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Nudism as a Deviant Subculture
Katie Heindel
SOC 429
October 19, 2010

Nudism as a Deviant Subculture
Nudism is a social and sexual phenomenon in America that has been gaining a significant following since the early 1930’s. This phenomenon was first introduced to American culture by a German immigrant named Kurt Barthel. (Hartman, Fithian and Johnson 1991) Since then, nudism has expanded to all parts of the country. From nude beaches and resorts to nudist camps, many are starting to partake in this liberating way of life. Despite the many followers of the nudist movement, many would classify nudists as a deviant subculture. Fischer (1995) defines a subculture as, "...a large set of people who share a defining trait, associate with one another, are members of institutions associated with their defining trait, adhere to a distinct set of values, share a set of cultural tools and take part in a common way of life". A deviant subculture is a group that doesn’t necessarily conform to the normal set of values in a society. These groups are usually socially disapproved of by the larger population. Throughout this paper we will be analyzing the sub-cultural theory of deviance.

Nudism can be defined as going without clothes as a social practice. (Smith 1980). In an attempt to understand the deviant subculture of nudism we will take an in depth look at the historical background, social and cultural influences on becoming a nudist, the effects of being involved in the nudist movement and ethical standards within the nudist culture. Also, we will take a look at non-nudist reactions to this deviant sub-culture. Ultimately, this paper will answer the question: “What are the social and cultural benefits to involvement in the deviant subculture of nudism?” Historical Background

In the historical area, there were less social and moral issues involved with nudity during the Classical period. In ancient Greece the human body was viewed as beautiful and...
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