Sociology

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In sociology, a subculture is a culture or set of people with distinct behavior and beliefs within a larger culture. The essence of a subculture, that distinguishes it from other social groupings, is awareness of style and differences in style, in clothing, music or other interests. As early as 1950 David Riesman distinguished between a majority, "which passively accepted commercially provided styles and meanings, and a 'subculture' which actively sought a minority style (hot jazz at the time) and interpreted it in accordance with subversive values. Thus 'the audience...manipulates the product (and hence the producer), no less than the other way round' (Riesman 1950: 361)." Thus when a member of a subculture "listens to music, even if no-one else is around, he listens in a context of imaginary 'others' - his listening is indeed often an effort to establish connection with them. In general what he perceives in the mass media is framed by his perception of the peer-groups to which he belongs. These groups not only rate the tunes but select for their members in more subtle ways what is to be 'heard' in each tune (ibid: 366)." A culture often contains numerous subcultures. Subcultures incorporate large parts of their mother cultures, but in specifics they may differ radically. Some subcultures achieve such a status that they acquire a name of their own. Dick Hedgier (1981) used style as a subculture's fashions, mannerisms, argot (see also slang, jargon, and Polari), activities, music, and interests. Subcultural styles are distinguished from mainstream styles by being intentionally "fabricated", their contractedness, as different from conventional. Hedgier considered punk subculture to share the same "radical aesthetic practices" as dada and surrealism: "Like Duchamp's 'ready made' - manufactured objects which qualified as art because he chose to call them such, the most unremarkable and inappropriate items - a pin, a plastic clothes peg, a television component, a...
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