Subcultures have always been seen as a form expressing individuality, making distinctions between different groups of people, and often as a form of rebellion. Subcultures are defined by style, location, purpose, music, and attitude. Through my studies and primary research I have found that most members of subcultures believe that they make-up the identity of the subculture. However, I will argue, using text from Louis Althusser, that it is the subculture that defines the members of it. Each subculture is known for a particular attribute. I will describe a few different subcultures to use as examples of the theories. As T.R. Fyvel shows in his essay, Fashion and Revolt the Teddy-Boy movement was defined by the style and rebellion of the laborers. Michael Brake wrote a book called Comparative Youth Culture, in which he gives a history of the skinheads and their intense racism. Culture groups can also be defined by class and social status, which Robert E. Park discusses in his essay, The City.
[...] They are based on the youth's need to fit in, or the adults even bigger need to fit in. according to Hebdige, style is meant to express and reflect aspects of the lives of the members of the subculture (114). It is not exactly clear to me how these group were formed. I do not think I could find other people who have had the same experiences as me, view life how I do, act how I do, and who also agree with me what style accurately expresses our personal lives. [...]
[...] Their deviant behavior a meaningful attempt to solve the problem faced by a group or isolated individual” (Brake 20). All of these kids who already felt isolated, now have others to legitimate their feelings, and encourage them to backlash. They use the group setting to feel more like individuals in a search for their identity. Brake writes, reality of violence which runs through young, working-class, male culture needs to be understood as a role and an identity in masculine career structure, and a muffled and semi-articulate form of communication” (28). [...]
[...] The gangs primarily consisted of “unskilled workers or just drifters,” mostly young laboring men (Fyvel 389). It then developed into being made of the “later generation of English working-class boys accustomed to money as determined innovators, the first Teddy boys carried the eccentricity of their garb to an extreme which had an effect of masquerade” (389). Fyvel goes on to state that the trademark hair styles of the Teddy-Boys required special barber appointments and lots of money. This seems to go against the original ideas of opposing mass culture, and the life of an under-paid worker. [...]
[...] He suggests that “ideology ‘acts' or ‘functions' in such a way that it recruits subjects among the individuals” (55). These individuals, who are in search for identity, are gathered by one ideological subculture or another and grouped together in way that they too can be controlled. Althusser's theories on state apparatuses show how he believes that the masses are no longer controlled through force as mush, but through the mind. Other authors suggest their recognition of this theory. For example, Brake says that the young have to be socialized into a set of values about the work force, family, political and moral beliefs and so forth. [...]
[...] Althusser says that ‘ideas' or ‘representations' which seem to make up ideology do not have an ideal or spiritual existence, but a material existence” (53). The cause for creating the subculture slip away, and the ideas behind them only regard commercialized goods or hair styles. During my primary research, some of the kids we interviewed had no connection to a subculture, it was simply about the clothes and style. Two of the kids in particular, where the ones who we referred to as members of the punk subculture. [...]
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