Субкультуры за и против Subcultures for and against

Районная научно-практическая конференция «Надежда губернии»

Секция «Иностранный язык»

«Субкультуры: за и против»

Автор:Асмолова Юлия
учащаяся 11 класса
МОУ»Лицей №3 имени П.А.Столыпина»

Надежда Александровна,учитель английского языка

г. Ртищево, 2012 г.


I. Introduction. The role of subcultures in life of people. …………….3

II. Youth subcultures. Main characteristics. …………………………..3 — 11

The subculture of skinheads. ………………………………….4

Hippies…………………………………………………………4 — 7

Teddy boys…………………………………………………….7 — 9

Teddy Girls…………………………………………………….9 — 10

Punks ………………………………………………………….10 — 11

III. Conclusion………………………………………………………..12 — 13

List of literature…………………………………………………..13

I. The role of subcultures in life of people.

I`d like to share my ideas about youth culture. There is one question I want to answer. What is the origin of the word “culture”? Culture is known to have many meanings. One of them refers to the spiritual and material achievements of humanity. On the whole it is possible to distinguish three kinds of culture. They are elite culture, folk culture and popular culture. These cultures are closely connected with one another and one culture is part of the others. Elite culture is a highly developed sphere; it is comprised of painting, sculpture, architecture, literature, music. Folk culture is the culture of everyday life and routine relations of social life. Folk culture consists of traditional knowledge and practice. It is like a habit of people, thus this culture does not change very quickly. Popular culture is mass culture. It is a professionally organized sphere that works for a large mass of people. Popular culture gives people, especially young, standards to be what they like.Why is the problem of youth culture so important today? I think it is so because today the life of many young people in Russia as well as in other countries of the world is influenced by popular culture. The youth follow certain stereotypes that are imposed on them through TV, movies, and music. In their lifestyles they try to imitate the images of their idols. Other young people are sports and music fans. They frequent stadiums and huge concert halls. They follow their idols in their tours throughout the country and support them. Unfortunately they are intolerant to those who do not share their view. It is a specific aspect of the youth subculture that cannot be ignored. It’s a specific aspect of the youth subculture that can’t be ignored.

For many years youth in Russia was somehow suppressed and its ideas and thoughts were not taken into consideration. Nowadays it has more rights than before and the young people are free to demonstrate themselves but in the rules of a law, of course.

II. Main youth subcultures.

What subcultures are known all over the world? Why do they appear? It is generally held that subculture is the culture of those who are dissatisfied with their place in society. On the whole Teds, Mods, Rockers, Bikers, Skinheads and Punks are the subcultures of the politically or economically weak segments of the society.As it is known, recent subcultures reflect a refusal to con form in post-1945 society. For example, the sub-culture of Rastafairians was based on nostalgia for a lost world. They idealized Africa. Rastafairians were Afro-Caribbean immigrants in Britain. They dreamed of golden age in Africa before the slave traders came. They viewed Britain as part of the Biblical ‘Babylon’, the land of slavery, and Africa especially Ethiopia as the ‘Promised Land’. These Rastafairians began to wear distinctive clothes, camouflage jackets, large hats in the red, gold and green colours of Ethiopia and put their long, uncut hair in ‘dreadlocks’. They took to speaking in a special ‘patois’ or dialect. Rastafairians were defiant until they became a recognized and legitimate minority group in Great Britain at the end of the 1980s. Black music which came to Britain through the Rastafairians made its impact on urban subcultures. Such types as ska, reggae and ‘Hip-hop’ evolved in the Caribbean and the United States, developed in Britain during the 1970s, came to Russia in the 1990s In Britain reggae music is held as powerful expression of dissidents. In our country reggae is the music of the teenagers. Many subcultures developed as a result of music fusion of black and white cultures The example of such fusion is the subculture of skinheads which developed in the 1970s in England out of an older cult, the Mods. They imitated black mannerism and fashion and danced to reggae. At the same time the white teenagers who loved the music and copied the clothes of the Afro-Asian immigrants were violent to them. They wore heavy boots, jeans and braces, and shave their hair or cut it very short. They aggressively sought to recover a crude working-class identity which their parents’ generation had largely abandoned. In the main, Skinheads dreamed about the revival of the traditional working-class culture. Now this movement is in decline in Britain but it flourishes in East European countries and Russia.

Hippies belonged to the opposing young people of the late 1960s. Their forms of protest corresponded to the standards of their contemporaneous society. Coming against the war in Vietnam the young Americans, who associated themselves with Hippies, established their communes. The movement spread throughout Europe. Hippies led a primitive life in their own countries and then moved to the East. They rebelled against the values of their society. Their idol was J.R.R. Tolkien, who created the fairy tale of the twentieth century.

Hippie woman giving Hippie in Stockholm,

a peace sign, Sweden, in August 1971

Los Angeles, 1969

Hippies were often pacifists, and participated in non-violent political demonstrations, such as civil rights marches, the marches on Washington D.C., and anti–Vietnam War demonstrations, including draft-card burnings and the 1968 Democratic National Convention protests. The degree of political involvement varied widely among hippies, from those who were active in peace demonstrations, to the more anti-authority street theater and demonstrations of the Yuppies, the most politically active hippie sub-group.

In addition to non-violent political demonstrations, hippie opposition to the Vietnam War included organizing political action groups to oppose the war, refusal to serve in the military and conducting «teach-ins» on college campuses that covered Vietnamese history and the larger political context of the war.

The etymology of the term ‘hippie’ is from hipster, and was initially used to describe beatniks who had moved into San Francisco’s Haight-Ashbury district. The ultimate derivation of the terms hip and hep is uncertain, but both were clearly inherited from African American culture and denote «awareness.»[The early hippies created their own communities, listened to psychedelic rock, embraced the sexual revolution, and some used drugs.

Hippie fashions and values had a major effect on culture, influencing popular music, television, film, literature, and the arts. Since the 1960s, many aspects of hippie culture have been assimilated by mainstream society. The religious and cultural diversity espoused by the hippies has gained widespread acceptance, and Eastern philosophy and spiritual concepts have reached a larger audience. The hippie legacy can be observed in contemporary culture in myriad forms, including health food, music festivals, contemporary sexual mores, and even the cyberspace revolution.

By 1965, hippies had become an established social group in the U.S., and the movement eventually expanded to other countries, extending as far as the United Kingdom and Europe, Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Japan, Mexico, and Brazil. The hippie ethos influenced “The Beatles” and others in the United Kingdom and other parts of Europe, and they in turn influenced their American counterparts. Hippie culture spread worldwide through a fusion of rock music, folk, blues, and psychedelic rock; it also found expression in literature, the dramatic arts, fashion, and the visual arts, including film, posters advertising rock concerts, and album covers.

Hand-crafted Hippie Truck, 1968

The hippie movement was one of three dissenting groups of the 1960s counterculture. Hippies rejected established institutions, criticized middle class values, opposed nuclear weapons and the Vietnam War, embraced aspects of Eastern philosophy, championed sexual liberation, were often vegetarian and eco-friendly, promoted the use of psychedelic drugs which they believed expanded one’s consciousness, and created intentional communities or communes. They used alternative arts, street theatre, folk music, and psychedelic rock as a part of their lifestyle and as a way of expressing their feelings, their protests and their vision of the world and life. Hippies opposed political and social orthodoxy, choosing a gentle and nondoctrinaire ideology that favored peace, love and personal freedom, expressed, for example, “The Beatles” song «All You Need is Love».

Early hippies (1960–1966)

Escaping’ through the lily fields I came across an empty space Hippie in Russia, 2005It trembled and explodedLeft a bus stop in its placeThe bus came by and I got onThat’s when it all beganThere was cowboy NealAt the wheelOf a bus to never-ever land

Grateful Dead, lyrics from «That’s it for the Other One»

Teddy boy (also known as Ted) is a British subculture typified by young men wearing clothes that were partly inspired by the styles worn by dandies in the Edwardian period, styles which Savile Row tailors had attempted to reintroduce in Britain after World War II. The subculture started in London in the 1950s, and rapidly spread across the UK, soon becoming strongly associated with American rock and roll. Originally known as Cosh Boys, the name Teddy Boy was coined when a 1953 Daily Express newspaper headline shortened Edwardian to Teddy.

Wealthy young men, especially Guards officers, adopted the style of the Edwardian era. At that point in history, the Edwardian era was then just over 40 years previous, and their grandparents, if not their parents, wore the style the first time around. The original Edwardian revival was far more historically accurate in terms of replicating the original Edwardian era style than the later Teddy Boy style. It featured tapered trousers, long jackets and fancy waist coats.

Although there had been youth groups with their own dress codes called scuttlers in 19th century Manchester and Liverpool, Teddy Boys were the first youth group in England to differentiate themselves as teenagers, helping create a youth market. The US film Blackboard Jungle marked a watershed in the United Kingdom. When shown in Elephant and Castle, south London in 1956, the teenage Teddy boy audience began to riot, tearing up seats and dancing in the cinema’s aisles. After that, riots took place around the country wherever the film was shown.

Some Teds formed gangs and gained notoriety following violent clashes with rival gangs which were often exaggerated by the popular press. The most notable were the 1958 Notting Hill race riots, in which Teddy Boys were present in large numbers and were implicated in attacks on the West Indian community. The violent lifestyle was sensationalized in the pulp novel Teddy Boy by Ernest Ryman, first published in England in 1958.

Teddy boy clothing included drape jackets, usually in dark shades, sometimes with a velvet trim collar and pocket flaps, and high-waist «drainpipe» trousers, often exposing the socks. The outfit also included a high-necked loose-collared white shirt (known as a Mr. B. collar because it was often worn by jazz musician Billy Eckstine); a narrow «Slim Jim» tie or western «Maverick» tie, and a brocade waistcoat. The clothes were mostly tailor-made at great expense, and paid for through weekly installments.

Favoured footwear included highly polished Oxfords, chunky brogues, and crepe-soled shoes, often suede (known as brothel creepers). Preferred hairstyles included long, strongly-moulded greased-up hair with a quiff at the front and the side combed back to form a duck’s arse at the rear. Another style was the «Boston», in which the hair was greased straight back and cut square across at the nape.

Teddy Girls

Teddy girls (also known as Judies) wore drape jackets, pencil skirts, hobble skirts, long plaits, rolled-up jeans, flat shoes, tailored jackets with velvet collars, straw boater hats, cameo brooches, espadrilles, coolie hats and long, elegant clutch bags. Later they adopted the American fashions of toreador pants, voluminous circle skirts, and hair in ponytails.

Their choice of clothes wasn’t only for aesthetic effect: these girls were collectively rejecting post-war austerity. They were young working-class women, often from Irish immigrant families who had settled in the poorer districts of London — Walthamstow, Poplar and North Kensington. They would typically leave school at the age of 14 or 15, and work in factories or offices. Teddy Girls spent much of their free time buying or making their trademark clothes. It was a head-turning, fastidious style from the fashion houses, which had launched haute-couture clothing lines recalling the Edwardian era.

Music and dancing

Although Teddy Boys became associated with rock and roll music, Teddy Boys mainly listened and danced to jazz and skiffle music. A well-known dance that the Teddy Boys adopted was The Creep, a slow shuffle that was so popular with Teddy Boys that it led to their other nickname, Creepers. The song «The Creep» came out in 1953, and was written and recorded for HMV by Yorkshire-born big band leader and saxophonist Ken Mackintosh. Although this was not a rock and roll record, it was widely taken on by the Teddy Boys of the time. From 1955, rock and roll was adopted by the Teddy Boys when the film, Blackboard Jungle, was first shown in cinemas in the UK, and Teddy Boys started listening to artists like Elvis Presley, Bill Haley and Eddie Cochran.

1980s Teddy Boys

Ford Zephyr, a popular ride for Teds

The Edwardian Teddy Boy Association was formed in 2007 and has continued the work of reviving the original 1950s Teddy Boys style. In 2010, a new group of Teddy Boys surfaced in Manchester, known as The Manchester Peacock Society.. The principal aim of the Manchester Peacocks is to promulgate the original style of the pre-1955 Teddy boy and actively promote the ethos and style of the original and authentic British Teddy Boy movement.

The origins of Punk in the mid-1970s lay in the realities of disaffected working-class urban youth with little hope of employment, housing, and a meaningful future. Its visual expression in clothing, as cultural sociologist Dick Hebdige remarked at the time, 10was ‘the sartorial equivalent of swearwords’ and was opposed to conventional fashion, with bondage trousers and ripped clothing, often made from unconventional materials such as fake leopard skin or plastic binliners. Hairstyles were unnatural, dyed, and often spiked, with personal decoration in the form of safety pins, body piercing, and dangling chains, heavy high-laced Doc Marten’s boots, all of which were associated with forms of social ‘deviancy’. At the outset punk graphics were also immediate and required, like punk music, little skill to produce in the conventional sense; they were characterized by the emergence of a range of low-tech fanzines such as Sniffin Glue, which began publication in 1976. Crudely designed pages, often with handwritten, graffiti-like insertions and typographic errors, as well as letters torn out from other sources, characterized the style. Such ideas gained wider currency in the Punk music scene with record covers for companies like Factory Records and Stiff Records and the emergence of designers like Jamie Reid, who designed the controversial sleeve for the Punk band the Sex Pistols’ single God Save the Queen of 1977, showing the defaced head of Queen Elizabeth II. Entrepreneur Malcolm McLaren and fashion designer Vivienne Westwood generated the Sex Pistols in 1974 in their Sex boutique on the King’s Road. Graphic designers such as Reid, Malcolm Garrett, and Peter Saville, all closely associated with Punk music graphics, had all attended art school and, with others such as Neville Brody, revitalized graphic design through harnessing the vitality and iconoclasm of Punk to graphic skills and an awareness of Postmodern eclecticism. However, like many radical challenges to conventional lifestyles any threat was removed by the commercialization of the style, as had been the case with hippies.

As far as it is known, Punks appeared in Britain in the 1970s. Punks, like the Skinheads, are regressive, but inactive and politically indifferent. They use a vulgar language, mutilate their bodies with safety pins. Now Punks are in decline in Britain but are popular in our country. Generally they were young people with low self-respect, who did poorly at school. Joining a gang was a means of finding a status. They opposed the traditional world in which they were settled as fiasco elements.

Punks `hairdo


Why do teens choose a subculture? Period of life of every man, when he is a teenager, is very difficult and important. Man chooses way of life, forms beliefs and system of values. Teenage years open self-reliance or no reliance in man. I think subculture is formed by confident, interesting people. Such people are named rebels. Teenagers want to be similar with their idols. They have superficial opinion, knowledge about subculture. Authority is very important thing for teens. Authority, his image live in the head of teen, it helps to know about priorities, ideals, desires of teen. If parents are authorities, it is well and teen won`t occur on bad situation. Is every subculture a bad company? I think not. Many people think that subculture is a company with stupid severe teenagers. Splin, gormons, doubt of teenage years influence on choice of subculture. Teen can show his individuality, teen expresses disagreement with parents and the world. If teenager belongs to some subculture, it means he doesn`t see comprehension from parents, teachers, other people. But teen can be curious and he enters the subculture, because it`s interesting and fun. Subcultures are not that bad as they are thought to be. Teens want to show off. But at the same time a lot of teens think about changing the world to the best. Subcultures are for teens. Then, I am sure, teenagers become good citizens. Some who were punks became the main editors of famous newspapers. A subculture is a way of life. It is not a fan club; it is a real life for us.

I don`t think that subculture is a universal evil, because it doesn`t bring death and a lot of tears. I hope what teens, who belong to some subculture, will have success in life. And they will remember their teenage years with smile and without bitter regrets.

But many young people have other interests. For some of them getting knowledge is of primary importance. They are fond of reading serious books and listening to serious music. They go to the conservatory and theatres. They are engaged in Hi-Tech through the Internet. They are interested in stories and novels written by Victor Pelevin, Boris Akunin. The novels by Strougutsky’s are best read even today, because it is a science fiction, which is always very popular among young people.

Teenagers are often influenced by so-called “bad guys” and begin to smoke, take drugs and drink. They do not listen to their parents. But this problem is solvable and parents should be a little more attentive to their children and correct their behaviour where it is possible.

List of literature







Дж. Флэхерти. Поп-культура. Учебное пособие. Книга 1,2,3. – Обнинск. Титул. 2003г. 104 стр.