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Freedom or Expression or Control?: A Look at Subcultures

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  1. In his book Cultural Studies, Chris Barker discusses the difference between self-identity and social-identity
  2. The skinheads seemed to completely contradict everything that was expected of a person of any background.
  3. They want to show that they are better than everyone else and to establish themselves.
  4. There are two different types of identity, self-identity and social identity.
  5. Subculture basically is ideology, and ideology represents an imaginary relationship of the individuals to the subject
  6. The more independence a person thinks they have, the less likely they are to notice if they have none at all.
  7. During my primary research, some of the kids we interviewed had no connection to a subculture, it was simply about the clothes and style.
  8. Subcultures are just another from of manipulation. Most do not even have basic beliefs anymore.

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 skinheads seemed to completely contradict everything that was expected of a person of any background. This account of the skinhead subculture is based on Brake's writings. The groups included aggressive working-class puritans, who wore rolled up jeans to show their industrial boots. They shaved their heads clean and were known for their extreme acts of violence and racism. Each group usually had a primary leader to call the shots and regulate the crimes. Their attacks on other groups were justified, to them, by their conservative values of hard work, patriotism and defense of local territory. [...]

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