What does ‘culture’ mean?
What does ‘lifestyle culture’ mean? What does ‘youth culture’ look like?
Young people express their identity through what they consume
To what extent do you agree with this assertion?
Youth join tribes and subcultures to find, create and express identity â€˘ Key theorists argue that in the postmodern age in which we live, young people (and people in general) get their identity not from groups and narratives like class/ age/ gender, but from the tribes/ groups/ subcultures that they join. â€˘ We join tribes to express and find our identity.
Modernist view of identity Postmodernist view of identity • Identity is received/ given/ •Pick’n’mix approach/ fluid/ eversolid/ stable/ unchanging changing
• Identity is inner; it is to be discovered
• We discover who we are
•Identity is behaviour/ identity is how you behave, not who you are •Identity is put on; it is yours to choose; Identity is performance •We choose who we are
Postmodern Subcultural Theorists such as Dick Hebdige and Michel Maffesoli argue that… • Our consumption is an expression of our identity (we express our identity through consumerism/ what we buy) • Our behaviour is an expression of our identity • Our identity comes not from our family/ background/ religion etc • We choose our identity, choosing to collect into groups • Our identity is fluid, and can change over time/ according to our pick’n’mix approach • The need to collect/ to have a collective identity is central to who we are. With out collectivity, there is no identity
Urban Tribes • “Urban tribes are groups of people in urban areas who have some kind of close association based upon similar lifestyles or activities” • “Urban tribes are young city people that gather in relatively small, fluid groups. These groups share common interests that are, in general, different from the interests of mainstream culture.” (Michel Maffesoli)
Michel Maffesoli • “The time of tribes” • Mass culture has disintegrated • Today, social existence is conducted through fragmented tribal groupings, organized around the catchwords, brand-names and sound-bites of consumer culture • The rise of ‘identity politics’ • The ‘proliferation of lifestyle cultures’
My finger is glued to my chin
What would Maffesoli say about these images?
DO CLOTHES HAVE MEANINGS? IS CLOTHING A LANGUAGE?
Style/ Clothing as Identity Performance or Identity Construction 1. Clothing/ the way we dress (STYLE) can be read like a language 2. The way we dress is a form of expressing our identity 3. Youth cultures construct and express their identity through fashion and music 4. Style/ clothing is a way of defining who you are and who you are not 5. Style/ clothing has a meaning for every youth subculture
Key terms REBELLION RESISTANCE SYMBOLIC PICK’N’MIX
BORROW BRICOLAGE DOMINANT IDEOLOGY
Dick Hebdige 1. Young people construct their identity through fashion and musical influence 2. Style has a meaning for every youth (sub)culture 3. Style can be read. It is a language (a form of expression/ communication) 4. Style is a way of defining who you are and who you are not
Dick Hebdige “Subculture: The Meaning of Style”, 1979 • Two parts:
– History of UK youth subcultures (hipsters, beatniks, teddy boys, mods, skinheads, rude boys, glam and glitter rockers, punks, and dreads)
– Analysis of punk subculture and its meanings • Punk style as ‘symbolic resistance’ • Punk style is a ‘bricolage’ constructed from other styles
The Meaning of Style • Young people construct their identity through fashion and musical influence • Style has a meaning for every youth (sub)culture • Style is a way of defining who you are and who you are not
Bricolage • Subcultures identify themselves and define themselves through symbols (clothing; accessories etc) • Subcultures subvert usual symbolic meanings
Subculture is resistance • Youth subcultural styles are often seen as a threat; a threat to the norm. • Youth subcultures often celebrate deviance • Youth cultural styles resist the expectations of adult culture. As such, youth subcultural style is an expression of symbolic resistance (resistance through symbols) • Youth cultures create their own elusive meanings, creating a language of youth and for youth • Youth subcultures are a form of collective selfdefence • Youth subcultures are attempts at counterhegemony and resistance to the social injustices of the working class world
In youth culture, the body is a site of resistance • Clothing, accessories, hair, make up, jewellery become a space of meaning-making • Appearance is a language and a way of expressing/ defining/ identifying yourself
the symbolic value of scooters, conventional smart clothes, medical drugs and even metal combs were hijacked by mods, who turned such everyday objects into symbols of subcultural hedonism and intimidation – subversive parodies of all that was conventional
In subverting meanings, subcultures redefine culture. They rebel. Subcultures borrow from previous styles/ subcultures, but they change the meanings of these styles. Punk was a subculture that borrowed from all previous subcultures and its only binding collectivity was chaos
The commercialisation of a subculture • Subcultures begin as rebellious, but eventually become tamed/ ‘norm’-alised by becoming part of the mainstream • Subcultures become commercialised and commodified by the establishment, being assimilated into mainstream culture • This is accomplished through “the conversion of subcultural signs (dress, music, etc.) into massproduced objects (i.e. the commodity form)”, • “Youth cultural styles may begin by issuing symbolic challenges, but they must inevitably end by establishing new sets of conventions, by creating new commodities…” • In this way, subculture becomes hegemony
What would Maffesoli and Hebdige say about these subcultures?
Postmodern Subcultural Theorists such as Hebdige and Maffesoli argue that… • Our consumption is an expression of our identity (we express our identity through consumerism/ what we buy) • Our behaviour is an expression of our identity • Our identity comes not from our family/ background/ religion etc • We choose our identity, choosing to collect into groups • Our identity is fluid, and can change over time/ according to our pick’n’mix approach • The need to collect/ to have a collective identity is central to who we are. With out collectivity, there is no identity
Would Hebdige and Maffesoli agree? Bonjour Monsieur Hebdige