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MAINSTREAM CULTUREO Mass culture (dominant/ mainstreamculture) - forms of culture that areaccessible, widely available, and intendedfor consumption by as many people aspossible.• Example: Hollywood blockbusters, popmusic on the Billboard top 40, broadcasttelevision, video games,…
MAINSTREAM CULTUREO 2 ways that things might be seen asdominant:• Number of people that listen to it, watch it,or participate in it.• Core set of beliefs, ideas, and identitiesthat are circulated through forms of popularculture.
OTHER STREAMSO Subcultures and Countercultures aregroups that challenge thevalues, ideas, and structures ofmainstream culture consciously anddirectly through their actions andpractices.
OTHER STREAMSO The concepts of subcultures andcountercultures opposes a minority groupto the majority.O There is no subculture or counterculturethat is dominant.
SUBCULTURESO A group of people within a culture whichdifferentiates them from the larger cultureto which they belong.O Conceived as disenfranchised, disaffectedand unofficial.O Exist underground, outside of themainstream of society.
SUBCULTURESO Often identified with youth groups andyouth culture.O In contemporary societies, youth havecreatively expressed their dissatisfactionwith the social norms by adoptingunconventional practices, lifestyles, andattitudes.
COUNTERCULTUREO Groups whose goal is to change theworld.O They have their own privileged set ofcultural objects (e.g. counterculturalmusic) through which theyexpress, articulate, and consolidate theirpolitical views.
COUNTERCULTUREO What makes a culture a counterculture isits contravention and contradiction of notjust mainstream politics, but also theculture that produces these politics.O Example: The Sixties• Lifestyle was expressed by the adoption ofcommunal living, vegetarianism, drug use,open sexuality, etc.
DIFFERENCESO Their boundaries are permeable.O They share many things in common; whatdistinguishes them is the degree to whichthey emphasize politics as part of theirpractices and activities.
DIFFERENCESSUBCULTURE COUNTERCULTURESubculture describesthings as diverse asscience-fiction fans,gay and lesbianscommunities, thelifestyle of singles,Japanese-Americans,squatters,…Counterculture pulls upa much more limitedrange of topics:communes, the Sixties,new social movement(women‟s rights, theCivil Rightmovement)…
DIFFERENCESSUBCULTURE COUNTERCULTURE- Subcultures may bepolitical in their aimsand activities.- The power ofsubcultures comes fromthe tensions created bythe relationshipbetween subculturalpractices and thepractices of majorityculture.- Countercultures areexplicitly political.- They are motivated bydissatisfaction withdominant social andpolitical institutions anda desire tofundamentally alterthese values.
DIFFERENCESSUBCULTURE COUNTERCULTURE- Smaller socialcanvas.- Limited to specific„scenes‟ or locales,or the dominance ofyouth within them.- More commonlyviewed as self-indulgent practices.- Bigger social canvas.- Unlimited to specific„scenes‟ or locales,or the dominance ofyouth within them.- Countercultures workout their politicalcommitments moreexplicitly & engagethem more directly.
REPRESENTATIONSO Representation plays a crucial role in howwe conceive of these sub- andcountercultures.• Example: Our sense of the Sixties hasbeen based on an accumulated sludge oftelevision and filmrepresentations, documentaries, andexperience with Sixties “classic” rock.
REPRESENTATIONSO Subcultures tend to be viewed in 2 ways:• Threatening, dangerous, lackingsubstance• A conscience of the mainstream
FORREST GUMPO Forrest represents merely the experienceof mainstream culture.O Jenny represents an alternative paththrough recent U.S history – the dark sideof Forrest‟s generally blissful (or atleast, blissed out) experience.
FORREST GUMPO Jenny appears in Playboy, gets involvedwith hippies and peaceniks, becomesinvolved with Students‟ DemocraticSociety, becomes suicidal after doing linesof coke,…►The film suggests that subcultures andcountercultures are dangerous,destructive, and misguided, especiallyfor those involved in them.
FORREST GUMPO In the world narrated by ForrestGump, happiness are only achieved byfollowing the path of the straight andnarrow.O It also suggests that even with thepresence of subculture, America has afuture.
FIGHT CLUBO The movie translated critique into actionthrough the creation of an anti-capitalistsubcultural movement whose ultimategoal is the violent destruction of thesystem of global consumer credit.
FIGHT CLUBO Fight Club takes the activities andpossibilities of subcultures seriously. Onlya group outside of the mainstream couldshake up a world lost in consumeristdogmatic slumbers: Jack & Tyler cannotchange things on their own, nor is it likelythat mainstream society will change of itsown accord.
GHOST WORLDO It explores the ghostly world of alternativelives and practices that exist parallel toand overlap with what we generallyimagine as mainstream culture.O It also offers an incisive look at theassumptions and presumptions thatconstitute the mainstream, probing thelimits that it places on individuals andgroups to express their differences.
GHOST WORLDO Unlike typical depictions of outsiders, boththe main characters are remarkablyconfident.O It gives them a feeling of power as theynavigate their way through the clichés andstereotypes of contemporary culture.O In the end, the “real” world appears tohave an ultimately irresistible power overall those who try to exist at right angles toit.
REPRESENTATIONO From these 3 examples, it can be seenthat while subcultures are celebrated asplaying an essential role in history and insocial transformation, they are almostalways represented as a problem forsociety.
REPRESENTATIONO From our analysis of the films:O Our understanding of subcultures isaffected by representation of them.O Popular culture representation plays animportant role in how sub- andcountercultures imagine their own roleand engage in their own practices.
O Subcultures articulate a complex politicsthrough:• The ways they make demands on theattention of the mainstream.• Their connection to other modes andforms of politics.• The way they engage withcontemporary social spaces andeveryday reality.
HIDING IN THE LIGHTSO “Subcultures are both a play for attention& a refusal, once attention has beengranted…” – Hebdige.
HIDING IN THE LIGHTSO Example: In the UK, punk was treated asa dangerous movement. Yet, the anti-establishment group Sex Pistols with theirsong „God Save the Queen‟ becamesuccessful and popular. Punk had becomea fixture of the London landscape.
HIDING IN THE LIGHTS►By being available for display to themainstream that the minority culture ofpunk was able to draw attention to thevery real sources of its discontent withboth the values of mainstream culture andtheir relationship to it.
HIDING IN THE LIGHTSO “Hiding in the lights” allows subcultures tocreate, maintain, and nurture their owncommunities of belonging, while alsoengaging with the culture at large.
AVANT-GARDE PUNKO Other ways that make punk political:O The anti-establishment lyrics.O The anti-establishment disposition anddemeanor of punks themselves.O Subcultures of all stripes draw heavily ona stew of political and cultural ideas andideals (Marxism and Situationism).
THE INVENTION OFSKATEBOARDINGO As the Zephyr Skateboard Team began todevelop and build skateboards to surftheir mostly abandoned streets, they alsobegan to stretch their claims over publicspace to other parts of the city.
THE INVENTION OFSKATEBOARDINGO It might seem a stretch to equate kidsinterested in doing grinds and flipping theirboards with anti-globalizationdemonstrators who take over the spacesof the city, but in a way both are makingthe same fundamental demand: Whosestreets? Our street!”►Skateboarding has a politics.