For Westerners, the index case of subculture has to be the 1960s UK conflict
between the razor-sharp, tailored mods
and their mortal enemies, the greasy rockers
Difference was critical to these first self-identified youth subcultures: difference in dress, in music, in drug of choice, in the favored mode
...everything. This obsessive focus on not just standing out, but standing out just so
- on showing the world precisely the right angle of a hat, length of a coat, shortness of hair - has defined many a subculture since. We recognize b-boys
, ganguro girls
, and straightedge punks
by such deployments, among many, many other identifiable groups. (It's not just a youth thing, either: leathermen
and the delightfully recrudescent roller derby culture
are largely adult phenomena.)
To a devotee of a given subculture, such matters, far from being a "narcissism of small differences," are a matter of pivotal import in framing how one presents oneself to the world: how we want to be seen
, how we want others to understand us. But I'm getting older now, and further out of the loop, and I realize that just maybe I'm losing the ability to discern these differences in the people I pass walking down the street. I find myself asking, who and where are the new subcultures? And how do they choose to present themselves to us?
posted by adamgreenfield
on Sep 25, 2004 -
A history of UK Punk Rock from 1976-79.
"Featuring an A-Z of punk bands from Adam and The Ants to The Sex Pistols to X Ray Spex, fanzines, punk girls, rare record sleeves, audio clips, fashion, punk rock lyrics, interviews and loads of pictures." It's not all about the Sex Pistols.
posted by archimago
on Sep 18, 2003 -
The Burqa Incident.
British freethinker Sarah Lawrence
dresses in a burqa to make a point at the US Libertarian Party Conference, and causes a hotel-wide security alert. Looks like one of those systemic sense-of-humour failures that conspire to spiral out of control these days. But isn't it a bit
worrying when even Libertarian Party
officials start threatening to report their own conference speakers
to the FBI for suspicious dress sense?
posted by ntk
on Jul 21, 2002 -