Subculture
Overview
For the song by New Order, see Sub-culture (song)
Sub-culture (song)
-Release:It was the second and final single that also appeared on the group's album release of the same year, Low-Life. The B-side is a remix of the A-side titled "Dub-vulture"...

.
For the computer game by Criterion Studios, see Sub Culture
Sub Culture
Sub Culture is a submarine action/adventure computer game, developed by Criterion Studios and published by Ubisoft. It was released in 1997, and was often praised as a solid title, but received little recognition and had only limited sales.-Story:...

.

In sociology
Sociology
Sociology is the study of society. It is a social science—a term with which it is sometimes synonymous—which uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about human social activity...

, anthropology
Anthropology
Anthropology is the study of humanity. It has origins in the humanities, the natural sciences, and the social sciences. The term "anthropology" is from the Greek anthrōpos , "man", understood to mean mankind or humanity, and -logia , "discourse" or "study", and was first used in 1501 by German...

 and cultural studies
Cultural studies
Cultural studies is an academic field grounded in critical theory and literary criticism. It generally concerns the political nature of contemporary culture, as well as its historical foundations, conflicts, and defining traits. It is, to this extent, largely distinguished from cultural...

, a subculture is a group of people with a culture
Culture
Culture is a term that has many different inter-related meanings. For example, in 1952, Alfred Kroeber and Clyde Kluckhohn compiled a list of 164 definitions of "culture" in Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions...

 (whether distinct or hidden) which differentiates them from the larger culture to which they belong.
As early as 1950, David Riesman
David Riesman
David Riesman , was a sociologist, attorney, and educator....

 distinguished between a majority
Majority
A majority is a subset of a group consisting of more than half of its members. This can be compared to a plurality, which is a subset larger than any other subset; i.e. a plurality is not necessarily a majority as the largest subset may consist of less than half the group's population...

, "which passively accepted commercially
Commerce
While business refers to the value-creating activities of an organization for profit, commerce means the whole system of an economy that constitutes an environment for business. The system includes legal, economic, political, social, cultural, and technological systems that are in operation in any...

 provided styles and meanings, and a 'subculture' which actively sought a minority style ...
Encyclopedia
For the song by New Order, see Sub-culture (song)
Sub-culture (song)
-Release:It was the second and final single that also appeared on the group's album release of the same year, Low-Life. The B-side is a remix of the A-side titled "Dub-vulture"...

.
For the computer game by Criterion Studios, see Sub Culture
Sub Culture
Sub Culture is a submarine action/adventure computer game, developed by Criterion Studios and published by Ubisoft. It was released in 1997, and was often praised as a solid title, but received little recognition and had only limited sales.-Story:...

.

In sociology
Sociology
Sociology is the study of society. It is a social science—a term with which it is sometimes synonymous—which uses various methods of empirical investigation and critical analysis to develop a body of knowledge about human social activity...

, anthropology
Anthropology
Anthropology is the study of humanity. It has origins in the humanities, the natural sciences, and the social sciences. The term "anthropology" is from the Greek anthrōpos , "man", understood to mean mankind or humanity, and -logia , "discourse" or "study", and was first used in 1501 by German...

 and cultural studies
Cultural studies
Cultural studies is an academic field grounded in critical theory and literary criticism. It generally concerns the political nature of contemporary culture, as well as its historical foundations, conflicts, and defining traits. It is, to this extent, largely distinguished from cultural...

, a subculture is a group of people with a culture
Culture
Culture is a term that has many different inter-related meanings. For example, in 1952, Alfred Kroeber and Clyde Kluckhohn compiled a list of 164 definitions of "culture" in Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions...

 (whether distinct or hidden) which differentiates them from the larger culture to which they belong.

Definition

As early as 1950, David Riesman
David Riesman
David Riesman , was a sociologist, attorney, and educator....

 distinguished between a majority
Majority
A majority is a subset of a group consisting of more than half of its members. This can be compared to a plurality, which is a subset larger than any other subset; i.e. a plurality is not necessarily a majority as the largest subset may consist of less than half the group's population...

, "which passively accepted commercially
Commerce
While business refers to the value-creating activities of an organization for profit, commerce means the whole system of an economy that constitutes an environment for business. The system includes legal, economic, political, social, cultural, and technological systems that are in operation in any...

 provided styles and meanings, and a 'subculture' which actively sought a minority style ... and interpreted it in accordance with subversive
Subversion (politics)
Subversion refers to an attempt to transform the established social order, its structures of power, authority, and hierarchy; examples of such structures include the State. In this context, a "subversive" is sometimes called a "traitor" with respect to the government in-power. A subversive is...

 values
Value (personal and cultural)
A personal or cultural value is an absolute or relative ethical value, the assumption of which can be the basis for ethical action. A value system is a set of consistent values and measures. A principle value is a foundation upon which other values and measures of integrity are based...

". In his 1979 book Subculture the Meaning of Style, Dick Hebdige
Dick Hebdige
Richard "Dick" Hebdige is an expatriate British media theorist and sociologist most commonly associated with the study of subcultures, and its resistance against the mainstream of society.-Life and career:...

 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 1995, Sarah Thornton
Sarah Thornton
Sarah Thornton is a writer and sociologist of culture. Her early work was about clubs, raves, music taste and cultural hierarchies. Thornton has authored and edited works about subcultures. She now writes principally about art, artists and the art market...

, drawing on Pierre Bourdieu
Pierre Bourdieu
Pierre Bourdieu was a French sociologist, anthropologist, and philosopher.Starting from the role of economic capital for social positioning, Bourdieu pioneered investigative frameworks and terminologies such as cultural, social, and symbolic capital, and the concepts of habitus, field or location,...

, described "subcultural capital" as the cultural knowledge and commodities acquired by members of a subculture, raising their status and helping differentiate themselves from members of other groups. In 2007, Ken Gelder proposed to distinguish subcultures from counterculture
Counterculture
Counterculture is a sociological term used to describe the values and norms of behavior of a cultural group, or subculture, that run counter to those of the social mainstream of the day, the cultural equivalent of political opposition. Counterculture can also be described as a group whose behavior...

s based on the level of immersion in society. Gelder further proposed six key ways in which subcultures can be identified:
  1. through their often negative relations to work (as 'idle', 'parasitic', at play or at leisure, etc.);
  2. through their negative or ambivalent relation to class (since subcultures are not 'class-conscious' and don't conform to traditional class definitions);
  3. through their association with territory (the 'street', the 'hood', the club, etc.), rather than property;
  4. through their movement out of the home and into non-domestic forms of belonging (i.e. social groups other than the family);
  5. through their stylistic ties to excess and exaggeration (with some exceptions);
  6. 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
Clothing
Clothing refers to any covering for the human body that is worn. The wearing of clothing is exclusively a human characteristic and is a feature of nearly all human societies...

, music
Music
Music is an art form whose medium is sound and silence. Its common elements are pitch , rhythm , dynamics, and the sonic qualities of timbre and texture...

 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 fashion
Fashion
Fashion, a general term for a currently popular style or practice, especially in clothing, foot wear, or accessories. Fashion references to anything that is the current trend in look and dress up of a person...

s, mannerisms, and argot
Argot
An Argot is a secret language used by various groups—including, but not limited to, thieves and other criminals—to prevent outsiders from understanding their conversations. The term argot is also used to refer to the informal specialized vocabulary from a particular field of study, hobby, job,...

.

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 organisational 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
Cool (aesthetic)
Something regarded as cool is an admired aesthetic of attitude, behavior, comportment, appearance and style, influenced by and a product of the Zeitgeist. Because of the varied and changing connotations of cool, as well its subjective nature, the word has no single meaning. It has associations of...

, which remains valuable in the selling of any product. This process of cultural appropriation
Cultural appropriation
Cultural appropriation is the adoption of some specific elements of one culture by a different cultural group. It describes acculturation or assimilation, but can imply a negative view towards acculturation from a minority culture by a dominant culture. It can include the introduction of forms of...

 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
Jazz
Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th...

, goth
Goth subculture
The goth subculture is a contemporary subculture found in many countries. It began in England during the early 1980s in the gothic rock scene, an offshoot of the post-punk genre. The goth subculture has survived much longer than others of the same era, and has continued to diversify...

, punk
Punk subculture
The punk subculture includes a diverse array of ideologies, and forms of expression, including fashion, visual art, dance, literature, and film, which grew out of punk rock.-History:...

, 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
Ideology
An ideology is a set of ideas that constitutes one's goals, expectations, and actions. An ideology can be thought of as a comprehensive vision, as a way of looking at things , as in common sense and several philosophical tendencies , or a set of ideas proposed by the dominant class of a society to...

 which may be much more resistant to commercial exploitation. The punk subculture
Punk subculture
The punk subculture includes a diverse array of ideologies, and forms of expression, including fashion, visual art, dance, literature, and film, which grew out of punk rock.-History:...

's distinctive (and initially shocking) style of clothing was adopted by mass-market fashion companies once the subculture became a media interest. Dick Hebdige
Dick Hebdige
Richard "Dick" Hebdige is an expatriate British media theorist and sociologist most commonly associated with the study of subcultures, and its resistance against the mainstream of society.-Life and career:...

 argues that the punk subculture shares the same "radical aesthetic practices" as Dada
Dada
Dada or Dadaism is a cultural movement that began in Zurich, Switzerland, during World War I and peaked from 1916 to 1922. The movement primarily involved visual arts, literature—poetry, art manifestoes, art theory—theatre, and graphic design, and concentrated its anti-war politics through a...

 and surrealism
Surrealism
Surrealism is a cultural movement that began in the early 1920s, and is best known for the visual artworks and writings of the group members....

:

Like Duchamp's 'ready mades' - 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 razor blade, a tampon - could be brought within the province of punk (un)fashion...Objects borrowed from the most sordid of contexts found a place in punks' ensembles; lavatory chains were draped in graceful arcs across chests in plastic bin liners. Safety pins were taken out of their domestic 'utility' context and worn as gruesome ornaments through the cheek, ear or lip...fragments of school uniform (white bri-nylon shirts, school ties) were symbolically defiled (the shirts covered in graffiti, or fake blood; the ties left undone) and juxtaposed against leather drains or shocking pink mohair tops.

Urban tribes

In 1985, French sociologist Michel Maffesoli
Michel Maffesoli
Michel Maffesoli is a French sociologist of italian origin.He is a former pupil of Gilbert Durand and is at present a professor at the Paris Descartes University. Michel Maffesoli made a work around the issue of social link community, the prevalence of imagination and everyday life in contemporary...

 coined the term urban tribe. It gained widespread use after the publication of his Le temps des tribus: le déclin de l'individualisme dans les sociétés postmodernes (1988). Eight years later, this book was published in the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 as The Time of the Tribes: The Decline of Individualism in Mass Society.

According to Maffesoli, urban tribes are microgroups of people who share common interests in urban areas. The members of these relatively small groups tend to have similar worldviews, dress styles and behavioral patterns. Their social interactions are largely informal
Formality
A formality is an established procedure or set of specific behaviors and utterances, conceptually similar to a ritual although typically secular and less involved...

 and emotionally laden, different from late capitalism
Late capitalism
"Late capitalism" is a term used by neo-Marxists to refer to capitalism from about 1945 onwards, with the implication that it is a historically limited stage rather than an eternal feature of all future human society. Postwar German sociologists needed a term to describe contemporary society...

's corporate-bourgeoisie
Bourgeoisie
In sociology and political science, bourgeoisie describes a range of groups across history. In the Western world, between the late 18th century and the present day, the bourgeoisie is a social class "characterized by their ownership of capital and their related culture." A member of the...

 cultures, based on dispassionate logic. Maffesoli claims that punks
Punk subculture
The punk subculture includes a diverse array of ideologies, and forms of expression, including fashion, visual art, dance, literature, and film, which grew out of punk rock.-History:...

 are a typical example of an "urban tribe".

Five years after the first English translation of Le temps des tribus, writer Ethan Watters
Ethan Watters
Ethan Watters is an American journalist. He is the author of articles for The New York Times Magazine, Spin, Details, Mother Jones, Glamour, GQ, Esquire, and The San Francisco Chronicle Magazine as well as books.-External links:...

 claims to have coined the same neologism in a New York Times Magazine article. This was later expanded upon the idea in his book Urban Tribes: A Generation Redefines Friendship, Family, and Commitment. According to Watters, urban tribes are groups of never-married
Marriage
Marriage is a social union or legal contract between people that creates kinship. It is an institution in which interpersonal relationships, usually intimate and sexual, are acknowledged in a variety of ways, depending on the culture or subculture in which it is found...

s between the ages of 25 and 45 who gather in common-interest groups and enjoy an urban lifestyle, which offers an alternative to traditional family
Family
In human context, a family is a group of people affiliated by consanguinity, affinity, or co-residence. In most societies it is the principal institution for the socialization of children...

 structures.

Sexual subcultures

The sexual revolution
Sexual revolution
The sexual revolution was a social movement that challenged traditional codes of behavior related to sexuality and interpersonal relationships throughout the Western world from the 1960s into the 1980s...

 of the 1960s led to a countercultural rejection of the established sexual and gender norms, particularly in the urban areas of Europe, North and South America, Australia, and white South Africa. A more permissive social environment in these areas led to a proliferation of sexual subcultures—cultural expressions of non-normative sexuality
Heteronormativity
Heteronormativity is a term invented in 1991 to describe any of a set of lifestyle norms that hold that people fall into distinct and complementary genders with natural roles in life. It also holds that heterosexuality is the normal sexual orientation, and states that sexual and marital relations...

. As with other subcultures, sexual subcultures adopted certain styles of fashion and gestures to distinguish them from the mainstream.

Homosexuals expressed themselves through the gay culture, considered the largest sexual subculture of the 20th century. With the ever increasing acceptance of homosexuality in the early 21st century, including its expressions in fashion, music, and design, the gay culture can no longer be considered a subculture in many parts of the world, although some aspects of gay culture like leathermen
Leather subculture
The leather subculture denotes practices and styles of dress organized around sexual activities. Wearing leather garments is one way that participants in this culture self-consciously distinguish themselves from mainstream sexual cultures...

, bears, and feeders are considered subcultures within the gay movement itself. The butch and femme
Butch and femme
Butch and femme are LGBT terms describing respectively, masculine and feminine traits, behavior, style, expression, self-perception and so on. They are often used in the lesbian, bisexual and gay subcultures...

 identities or roles among some lesbians also engender their own subculture with stereotypical attire, for instance drag king
Drag king
Drag kings are mostly female performance artists who dress in masculine drag and personify male gender stereotypes as part of their performance. A typical drag king routine may incorporate dancing and singing, live as in the Momma's Boyz of San Francisco's performances or lip-synching...

s. A late 1980s development, the queer
Queer
Queer is an umbrella term for sexual minorities that are not heterosexual, heteronormative, or gender-binary. In the context of Western identity politics the term also acts as a label setting queer-identifying people apart from discourse, ideologies, and lifestyles that typify mainstream LGBT ...

 movement can be considered a subculture broadly encompassing those that reject normativity in sexual behavior, and who celebrate visibility and activism. The wider movement coincided with growing academic interests in queer studies
Queer studies
Queer studies is the critical theory based study of issues relating to sexual orientation and gender identity usually focusing on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex people and cultures. Universities have also labeled this area of analysis Sexual Diversity Studies, Sexualities...

 and queer theory
Queer theory
Queer theory is a field of critical theory that emerged in the early 1990s out of the fields of LGBT studies and feminist studies. Queer theory includes both queer readings of texts and the theorisation of 'queerness' itself...

. Aspects of sexual subcultures can vary along other cultural lines. For instance, in the United States, the term down-low is used to refer to African-American men who do not identify themselves with the gay or queer cultures, but who practice gay cruising
Cruising for sex
Cruising for sex, or cruising is the act of walking or driving about a locality in search of a sex partner, usually of the anonymous, casual, one-time variety...

, and adopt a specific hip-hop attire during this activity.

See also

  • List of subcultures
  • Popular culture
    Popular culture
    Popular culture is the totality of ideas, perspectives, attitudes, memes, images and other phenomena that are deemed preferred per an informal consensus within the mainstream of a given culture, especially Western culture of the early to mid 20th century and the emerging global mainstream of the...

  • Underclass
    Underclass
    The term underclass refers to a segment of the population that occupies the lowest possible position in a class hierarchy, below the core body of the working class. The general idea that a class system includes a population under the working class has a long tradition in the social sciences...

  • Urban culture
    Urban culture
    Urban culture is the culture of towns and cities. In the United States, Urban culture may also sometimes be used as a euphemistic reference to contemporary African American culture.- African American culture :...

  • Urban sociology
    Urban sociology
    Urban sociology is the sociological study of social life and human interaction in metropolitan areas. It is a normative discipline of sociology seeking to study the structures, processes, changes and problems of an urban area and by doing so providing inputs for planning and policy making. Like...

  • Youth subculture
    Youth subculture
    A youth subculture is a youth-based subculture with distinct styles, behaviors, and interests. Youth subcultures offer participants an identity outside of that ascribed by social institutions such as family, work, home and school...

  • Art world
    Art world
    The art world is composed of all the people involved in the production, commission, preservation, promotion, criticism, and sale of art. Howard S. Becker describes it as "the network of people whose cooperative activity, organized via their joint knowledge of conventional means of doing things,...

  • Adolescence
    Adolescence
    Adolescence is a transitional stage of physical and mental human development generally occurring between puberty and legal adulthood , but largely characterized as beginning and ending with the teenage stage...

  • Folk culture
    Folk culture
    Folk culture refers to the lifestyle of a culture. Historically, handed down through oral tradition, it demonstrates the "old ways" over novelty and relates to a sense of community. Folk culture is quite often imbued with a sense of place...

  • History of Western subcultures in the 20th century
  • Intercultural competence
    Intercultural competence
    Intercultural competence is the ability of successful communication with people of other cultures.A person who is interculturally competent captures and understands, in interaction with people from foreign cultures, their specific concepts in perception, thinking, feeling and acting...


External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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