Thursday, 5 December 2013


Definition of subculture:
In sociology, anthropology and cultural studies, a subculture is a group of people with a culture which differentiates them from the larger culture to which they belong.
  • An introduction to writings on subculture
  • Skateboarding/parkour and free running/graffiti as a performance of the city
  • the Riot Grrrl movement
  • The portrayal of youth and culture in film & photography
Dogtown & Z Boys (2001)
  • Documentary film mixes original footage and recent interviews
  • History of skateboarding evolves
Skater Peggy Oki
  • Not much difference between the clothing that boys & girls wore - jeans & long sleeved shirts for protection
  • Long hair fashionable for boys as well as girls
Ian Borden 'Performing the City'
  • Urban street skating is more 'political' than 1970's skateboarding's use of found terrains: street skating generates new uses that at once work within an negate the original ones
  • Resistance to commercialisation
South bank closure threat to skates
  • Festival wing under the queen Elizabeth hall - redevelopment
  • Resisted strongly by skaters & bikers - redevelopment of space would remove this area for them
  • Review of the space by the Guardian - computer generated idea
  • Henry Edwards-Wood 'It would be a complete desecration of the entire artistic ethos of the undercroft'

Lords of Dogtown (2005)
  • 'Skateboarders do not so much temporarily escape from the routinised world of school family and social conventions as replace it with a while new way' - Borden, 2001

Parkour/ Free running
  • Parkour - a method of movement focused on moving around obstacles with speed and efficiency
  • Free running - a version of parkour that typically places greater emphasis on acrobatic techniques and self-expression.
Yamakasi (2001)
Jump London (2005)

Nancy McDonald 'The Graffiti Subculture'
  • Here real life and the issues which may divide and influence it, are put on pause. On this liminal terrain you are not, black, white, rich or poor. Unless you are female, you are what you write

Black Graffiti writer, Prime

Miss Van
  • Mcdonald suggest that women come to the subculture laden with the baggage of gender in that her physically and her sexuality
  • Does't play down her female identity and does the opposite
Swoon (US)
  • 'In the meantime there was a lot of attention coming my way for being female, and it just made me feel alienated and objectified, not to mention patronized'
Angela Mc Robbie and Jenny Garber
  • Girl subculture may have become more invisible because o the very term subculture has acquired such strong masculine overtones
  • In postmodern subcultures overly feminine subcultural movements like the Lolita fashion are often assumed to be sexually suspect
  • Motorbike girl - Brigitte Bardot 1960's - suggests sexual deviance which is a fantasy not a reflection of real girls in that subculture at the time
  • Hells Angels - in rockers and motorbike culture girls usually rode pillion - girls were either the girlfriend or the 'mama' figure
Mod girl
  • Mod culture springs from working class teenage consumerism in the 1960's in the UK
  • Teenage girls worked in cities in service industries for example, or in clothing shops where they are encouraged to model the clothing
  • Quadrophenia (1979) - Hebdige outlines there hierarchies within the mod subculture where the face or stylists who made up the original coterie were defined against the unimaginative majority
Hippy girl
  • Subculture arises through universities of the late 60's & 70's
  • Middle class girl therefore has the space to explore subculture for longer before family etc.
  • Space for leisure without work
  • Bad hippy vs good hippy - Janis Joplin vs Peach and 'flower power'
Riot Grrl - mid 1990's
  • Underground punk movement based in Washington DC, Olympia, Oregon etc.
  • Bands - Bikini Kill, Bratmobile, Excuse 17, Heavens to Betsy etc. - Create zines & support network around issues that are specifically female
  • Mount Pleasant Race Riots in 1991 - Documented in zines
What makes a subcultural activity true?
  • Zines revived from 1970's DIY Punk ethic
  • In turn this was influenced by posters & graphic design from Dadaist
  • Raoul Hausmann- Dada - ABCD self portrait (1923-24)
  • Media attention turns to the Grunge Scene - Courtney Love & Hole - style without the subculture - distorts even further as the 90's continue into the more media friendly Spice Girls
Spice Girls
  • Band styling presents a set of visual types that are easily consumable by the target audience
  • There is no empowerment for young women as there is nothing but the reduction of young women to cartoon representations
Dick Hebdige - Subculture: The meaning of Style
  • Subcultures represent noise" interference in the orderly sequence which leads from real events and phenomena to their representations in the media
  • Offence caused by lyrics and behaviour is important as it leads to questions about 'the parent culture'
  • The commodity form - subcultural signs like dress styles and music are turned into mass produced objects - clothing which is ripped as an anarchic anti-fashion statement becomes mass produced with rips as part of the design
  • Zandra Rhodes act white Gold Diamond safety pin brooch - although pink seems to challenge eventually and surprisingly quickly it goes mainstream/high end fashion
  • 21st C demonisation - style in particular provokes a double response. It is alternately celebrated and ridiculous or reviled
  • Bricolage: Edwardian Style - Savile Row - Teddy Boy
  • Roger Mayne - 1956 - Teddy boy culture was an espace from claustrophobia of the family, into the strew.
  • Chris Steele-Perkins 'The Teds' (1979)
  • Racist gives Nazi Salute in London, 1980 - Skinheads
  • Gavin Watson - Skins (1980s) - influenced portrayal of characters in This Is England (2006)
This is England

  • The new kid on the estate transforms into a british skinhead - his dad has been killed in the Falklands War and his new friends become his new family
  • The film explores the differences between the skinhead style and the politics of the National Front skins as they infiltrate the working class estate of the 1980's
  • The subordination on Milky as 'other' by Combo
Post Subcultures
  • In a global society with a rapid proliferation of images, fashions and lifestyles, it is becoming increasingly difficult to pinpoint what a subculture actually means.

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