Subcultures in Britain

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SUBCULTURES IN BRITAIN
Иванов К.Л.

Н. рук.: к.ф.н., доц. Доборович А.Н.

Subcultures

In sociology, anthropology and cultural studies, a subculture is a group of people with a culture (whether distinct or hidden) which differentiates them from the larger culture to which they belong.

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 ... and interpreted it in accordance with subversive values". In his 1979 book “Subculture the Meaning of Style”, Dick Hebdige argued that a subculture is a subversion to normalcy. He wrote that subcultures can be perceived as negative due to their nature of criticism to the dominant societal standard. Hebdige argued that subcultures bring together like-minded individuals who feel neglected by societal standards and allow them to develop a sense of identity. In 2007, Ken Gelder proposed to distinguish subcultures from countercultures based on the level of immersion in society. Gelder further proposed six key ways in which subcultures can be identified [en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subculture]:

• through their often negative relations to work (as 'idle', 'parasitic', at play or at leisure, etc.);

• through their negative or ambivalent relation to class (since subcultures are not 'class-conscious' and don't conform to traditional class definitions);

• through their association with territory (the 'street', the 'hood', the club, etc.), rather than property;

• through their movement out of the home and into non-domestic forms of belonging (i.e. social groups other than the family);

• through their stylistic ties to excess and exaggeration (with some exceptions);

• through their refusal of the banalities of ordinary life and massification.

Identifying subcultures

The study of subcultures often consists of the study of symbolism attached to clothing, music and other visible affectations by members of subcultures, and also the ways in which these same symbols are interpreted by members of the dominant culture. According to Dick Hebdige, members of a subculture often signal their membership through a distinctive and symbolic use of style, which includes fashions, mannerisms, and argot.

Subcultures can exist at all levels of organizations, highlighting the fact that there are multiple cultures or value combinations usually evident in any one organization that can complement but also compete with the overall organizational culture. In some cases, subcultures have been legislated against, and their activities regulated or curtailed.

Subcultures' relationships with mainstream culture

It may be difficult to identify certain subcultures because their style (particularly clothing and music) may be adopted by mass culture for commercial purposes. Businesses often seek to capitalize on the subversive allure of subcultures in search of Cool, which remains valuable in the selling of any product. This process of cultural appropriation may often result in the death or evolution of the subculture, as its members adopt new styles that appear alien to mainstream society.

Music-based subcultures are particularly vulnerable to this process, and so what may be considered a subculture at one stage in its history—such as jazz, goth, punk, hip hop and rave cultures—may represent mainstream taste within a short period of time. Some subcultures reject or modify the importance of style, stressing membership through the adoption of an ideology which may be much more resistant to commercial exploitation. The punk subculture's distinctive (and initially shocking) style of clothing was adopted by mass-market fashion companies once the subculture became a media interest [en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Subculture].

Subcultures of the British Teenage Population

So, now we’ve come closer to the main...
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