2nd Edition

Subcultures: The Basics

By Ross Haenfler Copyright 2023
    252 Pages
    by Routledge

    252 Pages
    by Routledge

    Subcultures: The Basics is an accessible and engaging introduction to subcultures in a global context. This fully revised new edition adds new case studies and an additional chapter on the digital lives of subculturists as well as reflections on the relationships between subcultures and globalisation and the resurgence of the far-right. Blending theory and practice, this text examines a varied range of subcultures including hip hop, graffiti writing, heavy metal, punk, gamers, burlesque, parkour, riot grrrl, straight edge, roller derby, steampunk, b-boying/b-girling, body modification, and skateboarding. Subcultures: The Basics answers the key questions posed by those new to the subject, including:

      • What is a subculture? What are the significant theories of subculture?
      • How do subcultures emerge, who participates and why?
      • How do subcultural identities interact with other aspects of self, such as social class, race, gender, and sexual identity?
      • What is the relationship between deviance, resistance and the ‘mainstream’?
      • How have both progressive and reactionary subculturists contributed to social change?
      • How does society react to different subcultures?
      • How have subcultures spread around the world?
      • In what ways do digital technologies and social media influence subcultures?
      • What happens when subculturists age?

      Tracing the history and development of subcultural theory to the present day, this text is essential reading for all those studying subcultures in the contexts of sociology, cultural studies, history, media studies, anthropology, musicology, and criminology. It pushes the field forward with cutting-edge theories of resistance and social change, place and space, critical race and queer studies, virtual participation, and ageing and participation across the life course. Key terms and concepts are highlighted throughout the text whilst each chapter includes boxed case studies and signposts students to further reading and resources.

      1. What is a Subculture?

      2. How do Subcultures Emerge and Why do People Participate?

      3. How do Subcultures Resist ‘Mainstream’ Society … and are They Successful?

      4. Who Participates in Subcultures and How do Subcultural Identities Interact with Other Aspects of Self?

      5. Who are the ‘Authentic’ Subculturists and Who are the ‘Poseurs’?

      6. How Does Society React to Subcultures?

      7. Where do Subculturists Hang Out, From the Local to the Global?

      8. How Have Digital Technologies Influenced Subcultures?

      9. What Happens to Subculturists as They ‘Grow Up’?


      Ross Haenfler is Professor of Sociology at Grinnell College, USA. His interests revolve around subcultures, music, and social movements, and his research focuses on how people engage in social change via lifestyle movements. He is the author of Straight Edge: Hardcore Punk, Clean Living Youth, and Social Change (2006), and Goths, Gamers, and Grrrls: Deviance and Youth Subcultures (2012). He has published in a variety of journals, including Social Movement Studies, Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, Studies in Symbolic Interaction, and Cultural Sociology, and has appeared in documentaries about straight edge and incels.