Subcultures: Cultural Histories and Social Practice by Ken Gelder

Culture

By Ken Gelder

This publication offers a cultural background of subcultures, protecting a notable variety of subcultural kinds and practices. It starts off with London’s ‘Elizabethan underworld’, taking the rogue and vagabond as subcultural prototypes: the root for Marx’s later view of subcultures as the lumpenproletariat, and Henry Mayhew’s view of subcultures as ‘those that won't work’. Subcultures are continuously in a roundabout way non-conforming or dissenting. they're social - with their very own shared conventions, values, rituals, and so forth – yet they could additionally appear ‘immersed’ or self-absorbed. This e-book identifies six key ways that subcultures have quite often been understood:
* via their frequently unfavorable relation to paintings: idle, parasitical, hedonistic, criminal
* their unfavourable or ambivalent relation to class
* their organization with territory - the ‘street’, the ‘hood’, the membership - instead of property
* their circulation clear of domestic into non-domestic kinds of ‘belonging’
* their ties to extra and exaggeration (as against restraint and moderation)
* their refusal of the banalities of normal lifestyles and specifically, of massification.

Subcultures appears to be like on the approach those positive aspects locate expression throughout many various subcultural teams: from the Ranters to the insurrection grrrls, from taxi dancers to tug queens and kings, from bebop to hip hop, from dandies to punk, from hobos to leatherfolk, and from hippies and bohemians to electronic pirates and digital groups. It argues that subcultural id is basically a question of narrative and narration, which means its concentration is literary in addition to sociological. It additionally argues for the assumption of a subcultural geography: that subcultures inhabit areas specifically methods, their funding in them being as a lot imaginary as actual and, now and again, strikingly utopian.

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Subcultures: Cultural Histories and Social Practice

This ebook provides a cultural heritage of subcultures, masking a outstanding diversity of subcultural varieties and practices. It starts with London’s ‘Elizabethan underworld’, taking the rogue and vagabond as subcultural prototypes: the foundation for Marx’s later view of subcultures because the lumpenproletariat, and Henry Mayhew’s view of subcultures as ‘those that may not work’. Subcultures are regularly indirectly non-conforming or dissenting. they're social - with their very own shared conventions, values, rituals, and so forth – yet they could additionally look ‘immersed’ or self-absorbed. This ebook identifies six key ways that subcultures have typically been understood:
* via their usually destructive relation to paintings: idle, parasitical, hedonistic, legal
* their detrimental or ambivalent relation to type
* their organization with territory - the ‘street’, the ‘hood’, the membership - instead of estate
* their stream clear of domestic into non-domestic different types of ‘belonging’
* their ties to extra and exaggeration (as against restraint and moderation)
* their refusal of the banalities of standard lifestyles and specifically, of massification.

Subcultures seems to be on the manner those good points locate expression throughout many various subcultural teams: from the Ranters to the insurrection grrrls, from taxi dancers to tug queens and kings, from bebop to hip hop, from dandies to punk, from hobos to leatherfolk, and from hippies and bohemians to electronic pirates and digital groups. It argues that subcultural id is basically a question of narrative and narration, which means its concentration is literary in addition to sociological. It additionally argues for the assumption of a subcultural geography: that subcultures inhabit areas particularly methods, their funding in them being as a lot imaginary as actual and, occasionally, strikingly utopian.

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Very few subcultures have widespread social change on their agenda, nor (with some exceptions) do they imagine that society’s values ought somehow to reflect or absorb their own. But counter-cultures do, so that it is commonplace to suggest, for example, that the hippies ‘made a lasting impact on the ethos of America’ (Miller 1991: 3) or that ‘hippie values’ are indeed broadly shared or sympathised with (see also Spates and Levin 1972). Howard identifies four hippie ‘types’ along these lines: the visionaries (‘utopians who pose an alternative to existing society’, repudiating in particular the conventional values of ‘work and commerce’), freaks and heads (drug-oriented hippies who relish the ‘trip’), plastic hippies (those for whom being a hippie is merely a matter of ‘fashion’ or appearance, that is, ‘inauthentic’ hippies), and midnight hippies – considerable numbers of usually older people ‘integrated into straight society’ who are nevertheless in sympathy with the bohemian values that hippies espouse (Howard 1969: 43, 50).

In fact, McKay understands the emergence of New Age Travelling precisely in the context of a ‘crisis in housing’ in Britain during the early 1980s, producing a marked increase in the numbers of urban squatters and rural travellers, two available solutions to the problem of homelessness (McKay 1996: 46). His descriptions of Rainbow Fields Village at Molesworth, England, as a ‘traveller-related community’, and the Native American-influenced Tipi Valley settlement in South Wales with its ‘traveller-type people’, evoke a sense of communal living at its most marginal and precarious (53, 60).

They can formulate themselves well away from the family and home, for example, like the ‘gutter snipes and street rats’ that Timothy J. Gilfoyle had described in New York City around the mid-nineteenth century, oppositional to rather than regulated by parental authority, their sense of belonging provisional and transient, their sociality (as Gilfoyle describes it) lacking ‘any long-lasting system of reciprocal obligation fundamental to group cohesion and solidarity’ 25 S U B C U LT U R E S (Gilfoyle 2004: 871).

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