From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
In sociology, anthropology and cultural studies, a subculture is a set of people with a set of behaviors and beliefs, culture, which could be distinct or hidden, that differentiate them from the larger culture to which they belong. If the subculture is characterized by a systematic opposition to the dominant culture, then it may be described as a counterculture.
As early as 1950 (p.361) David Riesman distinguished between a majority, "which passively accepted commercially provided styles and meanings, and a 'subculture' which actively sought a minority style...and interpreted it in accordance with subversive values" (Middleton 1990).
Sarah Thornton (1995), after Pierre Bourdieu (1986), described subcultural capital as the cultural knowledge and commodities acquired by members of a subculture, raising their status and helping differentiate themselves from members of other groups, while Roe (1990) uses the term symbolic capital.
It is important to mention that there is a subtle difference between a counterculture and a subculture. A subculture is an at least somewhat integrated component of a society, though clearly separated, while a counterculture is actively and openly opposed to many of the characteristics of a society.
Origin of the term
The term subculture began to figure in anthropological and sociological writing around 1945. The concept has been most generally adopted by scholars of delinquency says Pat Rogers in Grub Street: Studies in a Subculture (1972).
Since the late 1970s, the study and concept of subculture - through the influence of the CCCS - has largely been focused on an awareness of style and differences in style, in clothing, music or other cultural areas.
- Hebdige, Dick (1979). Subculture: The Meaning of Style (Routledge, March 10, 1981; softcover ISBN 0-415-03949-5).
- History of subcultures in the 19th century
- History of Western subcultures in the 20th century
- List of subcultures
- Popular culture
- Urban culture
- Urban sociology
- Youth subculture
- Art world
- Folk culture