Meaning of Subculture

What is Subculture:

A subculture is a culture of a marginal nature that is formed within a hegemonic culture, which maintains differentiated features while sharing others. These traits can encompass items such as wardrobe, type of music, forms of language, interests, etc.

Despite having differentiated features, these are tolerated by the hegemonic culture. From this it follows that subcultures do not have a confrontational character in their origin, but rather that they operate as channels of concerns that are not represented in the hegemonic culture.

An example of subcultures can be represented by vegan groups, practitioners of non-dominant but integrated or tolerated spiritualities, ecological movements, followers of a certain musical genre, etc.

Difference between subculture and counterculture

Subcultures differ from countercultures in the fact that the latter have the purpose of confronting, questioning and resisting the hegemonic culture, that is, they have the purpose of opposing the established order. However, according to some researchers, countercultures often lead to subcultures.

This phenomenon is attributed to capitalism in force in western or westernized societies, since it models or manipulates behaviors and ideological systems through the market, marketing strategies and advertising.

Some sociologists point out that capitalism captures countercultural movements as niches of commercial exploitation. In this way, it creates, manufactures and distributes consumer products aimed at these sectors, which ends up “domesticating” or “normalizing” the difference and transforming the countercultures into consumer subcultures.

Hippie culture is an example of the transition from counterculture to consumer subculture. What in the 1960s constituted a whole social revolt, of confrontation against the hegemonic culture, ended up becoming a subculture that has lost its rebellious character, but that continues to live through the supply of goods and services in the market. Today hippies are well tolerated in the hegemonic culture.

See also:

  • Counterculture
  • Hegemony
  • Urban art
  • Grunge
  • Hippies.

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