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Sub-culture


Subculture, a concept from the academic fields of sociology and cultural studies, is a group of people within a culture that differentiates itself from the parent culture to which it belongs, often maintaining some of its founding principles.

While exact definitions vary, the Oxford English Dictionary defines a subculture as "a cultural group within a larger culture, often having beliefs or interests at variance with those of the larger culture." 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 1995, Sarah Thornton, drawing on Pierre Bourdieu, 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 countercultures based on the level of immersion in society. Gelder further proposed six key ways in which subcultures can be identified through their:

Sociologists Gary Alan Fine and Sherryl Kleinman argued that their 1979 research showed that a subculture is a group that serves to motivate a potential member to adopt the artifacts, behaviors, norms, and values characteristic of the group.



  • Cante, Richard C. (March 2009). Gay Men and the Forms of Contemporary US Culture. London: Ashgate Publishing. . 
  • Gelder, Ken (2007). Subcultures: Cultural Histories and Social Practice (Routledge, March 2007; softcover )
  • Hebdige, Dick (1979). Subculture: The Meaning of Style (Routledge, March 10, 1981; softcover ). Cited in Negus, Keith (1996). Popular Music in Theory: An Introduction. Wesleyan University Press. .
  • Huq, Rupa (2006) 'Beyond subculture' (Routledge, 2006; softcover . Hardcover )
  • Maffesoli, Michel (1996). The Time of the Tribes: The Decline of Individualism in Mass Society. (London: Sage Publications. )
  • McKay, George (1996) Senseless Acts of Beauty: Cultures of Resistance since the Sixties. (London: Verso. .)
  • McKay, George (2005) Circular Breathing: The Cultural Politics of Jazz in Britain. Durham NC: Duke University Press. .
  • Riesman, David (1950). "Listening to popular music", American Quarterly, 2, p. 359-71. Cited in Middleton, Richard (1990/2002). Studying Popular Music, p. 155. Philadelphia: Open University Press. .
  • Thornton, Sarah (1995). Club Cultures: Music, Media, and Subcultural Capital. Cambridge: Polity Press. Cited in Negus, Keith (1996). Popular Music in Theory: An Introduction. Wesleyan University Press. .
  • Watters, Ethan (2003). Urban Tribes: A Generation Redefines Friendship, Family, and Commitment. .
  • Hall, Stuart, Tony Jefferson (1993). Resistance Through Rituals: Youth Subcultures in Post-War Britain. Routledge, 1993.
  • Blair, M. Elizabeth. "Commercialization of Rap Music Youth Subculture." Journal of Popular Culture 27.3 (1993): 21-33. Print.
  • Goldstein-Gidoni, Ofra. "Producers of 'Japan' in Israel: Cultural appropriation in a non-colonial context." Ethnos:Journal of Anthropology 68.3 (2003): 365. Print.
  • Lewin, Phillip, J. Patrick Williams. "Reconceptualizing Punk through Ideology and Authenticity". Conference Papers—American Sociological Association. 2007 Conference Papers, 2007.
  • Howes, David. Cross-cultural consumption: global markets, local realities. New York: Routledge, 1996. Print.
  • Fine, G. A., & Kleinman, S. (1979). Rethinking Subculture: An Interactionist Analysis. American Journal of Sociology, 85(1), 1-20. Retrieved November 24, 2014, from http://www.jstor.org/stable/pdfplus/2778065.pdf?acceptTC=true&jpdConfirm=true
  • Francois, L. (2013, May 25). Subcultures: Big Opportunity for Social Brands to Generate Value. Retrieved November 24, 2014, from http://www.socialmediatoday.com/content/subcultures-big-opportunity-social-brands-generate-value
  • Huntington, S. (2014, March 24). Subcultures and Social Media: Mass Differentiation. Retrieved November 24, 2014, from http://socialmediadata.com/subcultures-and-social-media-mass-differentiation/
  • Robards, B., & Bennett, A. (2011). My Tribe:Post-Subcultural Manifestations of Belonging on Social Networking Sites [Abstract]. Sociology, 45(2). Retrieved November 24, 2014, from http://soc.sagepub.com/content/45/2/303.full.pdf+html
  • Беляев, И. А. Культура, субкультура, контркультура / И. А. Беляев, Н. А. Беляева // Духовность и государственность. Сборник научных статей. Выпуск 3; под ред. И. А. Беляева. — Оренбург: Филиал УрАГС в г. Оренбурге, 2002. — С. 5-18.
  • Berzano, L., Genova, C. (2015). Lifestyles and Subcultures. History and a New Perspective. New York: Routledge.
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