Subculture Essay

Subculture Essay

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Subculture

There is something about the ideology of a subculture that sparks an interest in me. Maybe it is intriguing due to its members’ originality, courage to stand up for beliefs, or freely expressing their own self- identity. A subculture forms by individuals taking a risk, separating themselves from the mainstream, and forming their own distinctive norms, not caring what the “normal” members of the mainstream society think of them. Or do they care? Maybe that is the exact statement a subculture is making. Maybe these individuals are forming these groups so that people will care. Maybe their rebellious attitude is a final, somewhat desperate approach to getting that response. The images being portrayed in most subcultures are indeed attention- getting. Perhaps then, attention- seeking is the main goal of these groups. In analyzing the specific subculture of “punk”, these questions seem to fall towards the greater issue of “external vs. internal”. External indicates that this subculture is making a statement, merely through an image culminated on the exterior. Internal suggests a deeper, often political, and vigorously bold statement, such as protesting for citizens’ rights, rebelling against class structure, or publicly claiming a self- identity. Also, was punk a movement that said what it wanted to, and is now only a historical memory of the past? Or is America carrying out the motives of what England’s punk culture did at the time?

The subculture defined as “punk” originated in England in 1976, with its end in 1981. There were several reasons for the emergence of such a radical movement. Its popularity grew day by day, with millions of kids who could identify with these people. Millions of kids, not only from the...


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...culture today falls directly onto the external, with little substance holding it up. Punk has allowed it to become a community of elitists, and has become as restrictive as the mainstream culture they once so strongly opposed (Chamberlain).

In the end we can only ask, although the official era of punk was over in England in1981, is punk really dead? Or has it simply evolved from an internal, deeper movement into an external, superficial image? Perhaps throughout the last three decades, the image taken from the initial punk has evolved into a style that is merely external. Maybe that is all that original punks would want.

Works Cited

The Quintessential Punk”. Bryn Chamberlain. Dec. 1995. 2 April 2004.
<http://www.film.queensu.ca/critical/chamberlain4.html>.

Wells, Steven. Punk: Young, Loud, and Snotty.” Thunder’s Mouth Press NY, NY. 2004.

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