1.4 Subculture phenomena

15 June 2021

Subculture phenomena are evolving human ecologies. The definition of subcultures has changed over time due to their decentralised, self-organising nature. Initially, subcultures were identified as gangs of primarily delinquent and criminal male youths who found protection in a group in their social class, race or sexual orientation. In the middle of the Twentieth Century, identities become unhinged from family, race, class, and location. Symbols of the subculture became a ‘uniform’, for example, a shared view in a style of music, an interest in a particular spectacular DIY ethic based fashion or objects. Finally, subcultures became more diffuse and open to a diversity of people. They shared experience of certain dance events such as ‘Raves' or events in clubs. What then is evident is that being part of a subculture became more about the matter of choice rather than the infliction of a social position and the environment in which one lived. Therefore, subcultures emerged into a postmodern context within a fragmented perspective of the modern social, cultural and political hegemonic structures that stood for objective truths. For this reason, each subculture, scene or neo-tribe builds its ideology upon a common shared interest, which becomes the source of shared identity. Participation in a subculture becomes a choice rather than the only option.  And due to this is fluid in the way it develops; people come and go and bring new inputs to the subculture's identity, changing what it signifies and the function it is for those involved. By revealing a shift in the function that a subculture was for those who were part of it, how can one understand why this shift took place? The following section addresses this question.

2. The Sociological and Philosophical Underpinnings of Subcultures