Subcultures and social class

15 June 2021

Ross Heanfler notes that perhaps the central theme at the Birmingham School of the CCCS subcultural study is Social Class. Working Class youths (mainly boys) would join together in virtue of their marginalisation from and resistance to the class structure. Subcultures, therefore, are primarily working-class phenomena, a reworking of the class struggle that had been occurring for generations. So much so, that in fact, the history of subcultures follows the evolution of the working class style and identities in the UK, Beginning with the Teddy Boys (started in London in the 1950s) and leading to the mods and the rockers (in London 1958-1969), skinheads (1969 onwards), football hooligans (1960s and early 1970s) punks (in the mid-1970s), and more recently “chavs”. Anticipating the decline of traditional working-class life, these subcultures engaged in an ideological battle. The capitalist society produces not only economic class exploitation and domination but also cultural domination. As the capital class dominates over the working class, the battle of ideology is within this division of power that at times leads to a force of arms (2014, p. 7-8)