Thursday, 15 November 2012

Lecture Five - Subculture and Style.

  • In sociology, anthropology and cultural studies, a subculture is a group of people with a culture (whether distinct or hidden) which differentiates them from the larger culture to which they belong.
  • subculture is separate from style

  • Dogtown and Zboys (2001)
    • documentary
    • original photography and footage of the time
    • history of skateboarding
    • culture from the 1970's
    • nerdy past time into competitive culture
    • original subculture into modern subculture
  • Skater Peggy Oki
    • no differentiation in style of clothing
    • not a particularly feminine aspect
  • Ian Borden 'Performing the City'
    • looks at urban street skating as a political statement
    • street skating generates new uses that at once work within and negate the original ones
    • redefinition of the urban space
    • subcultural activity
  • Lords of Dogtown (2005)
    • references to a substitute family
    • replaced every day life with something totally different

Parkour/Free Running
  • Parkour: a method of movement focused on moving around obstacles with speed and efficiency. Originally developed in France, the main purpose of the discipline is to teach participants how to move through their environment by vaulting, rolling, running, climbing and jumping. Parkour practitioners are known as traceurs. They train to be able to identify and utilize alternate or the more efficient paths through the city Sporty elements.
  • Free running: a form of urban acrobatics in which participants, known as free runners, use the city and rural landscape to perform movements through its structures. Places more emphasis on freedom of movement and creativity than efficiency. Creativity.
  • Yamakasi (2001)
    • story
    • demonstrates skills
    • creates a group of superheroes that fight injustice in the Paris ghetto
    • political element
  • Jump London (2005)
    • documentary
    • navigates famous landmarks
    • challenge to architecture in the city

  • "Here (on the street) real life and the issues which may divide and influence it, are put on pause.  On this liminal terrain you are not black, white rich or poor.  Unless you are female, ‘you are what you write." Nancy McDonald
  • "I mean I’ve met people that I would never have met, people like skinheads who are blatantly racist or whatever. I can see it in them and they know we know, but when you’re dealing on a graffiti level, everything’s cool and I go yard with them, they’d come round my house , I’d give them dinner or something." Prime (graffiti writer)
    • erases traditional borders like the way you look
    • separating your identity
  • claiming ownership to public space. Fluid, subway train or static, building wall
  • subcultural activity
  • Miss Van
    • McDonald suggests that women come to the subculture with the baggage of their gender
    • style is a focus on appearance
    • putting femininity in peoples faces
  • Swoon (US)
    • female artist
    • politically motivated
    • works in urban regeneration
    • people claiming back the space
  • "Girl subcultures may have become more invisible  because the very term ‘subculture’ has acquired such strong masculine overtones." Angela Mc Robbie and Jenny Garber (1977)

Motorbike culture
  • Motorbike girl
    • the female as she appears in the motorbike culture
    • Brigitte Bardot 1960’s
    • suggests sexual deviance which is a fantasy not reflective of most conventional real life femininity at the time
  • Hell's Angels
    • In rocker and motorbike culture girls usually rode pillion
    • "Girls did not enter into the camaraderie, competition and knowledge of the machine." Wills (1978)
    • In this subculture women were either girlfriend of or 'mama' figure
    • exaggerated masculinity and femininity

  • Mod girl
    • amorphous style
    • fits into the parent culture and home/school/work routine
    • working class
    • females could have a status within the culture without being associated with a man
    • Mod culture springs from working class teenage consumerism in the 1960’s in the UK
    • Teenage girls worked in cities in service industries for example, or in clothing shops where they are encouraged to model the boutique clothing
    • This meant they had money for socialising and mod rallies
    • group identity separate from the everyday
  • Quadrophenia (1979)
    • tension between mods and rockers
    • Brighton bank holiday weekend culture
  • Hippy girl
    • subcultural stereotype
    • middle class
    • this idea could come from university education
    • finding yourself, personal expression before settling down
    • access through education or travel
    • good hippy (flower girl) vs. bad hippy (rocker style)
  • Riot Grrrl
    • mid 1990's onwards
    • underground punk movement based in Washington DC, Olympia, Portland, Oregon and the greater Pacific Northwest
    • wouldn't have called themselves feminist but they represent similar values
    • covered series issues like rape and domestic abbuse
    • anti authoritarian approach
    • influenced by late 70's early 80's female punk rockers

Riot Grrrl subculture
  • feminine and feminist movement
  • name comes from something said referring to the Mount Pleasant Race Riots in 1991
  • fanzines based around their issues: body image, eating disorders etc
  • zines review from 1970's DIY punk aesthetic
  • influenced by posters and graphic design by the Dadaists (1920's-30's)

Grunge scene
  • style without the subculture/politics
  • distortion of Riot Grrrl movement
  • distorts even further as the 90's continue into the more media friendly Spice Girls use of the phrase 'Girl Power'
  • band styling, visual types, cliches and stereotypes
  • easy consumption from the target audience
  • no empowerment but  reduces young women to cartoon representations
  • lyrics of songs betray this emptiness

The commodity form
  • subcultural signs like dress style and music are turned into mass produced items
  • clothing ripped as an anarchic anti fashion statement becomes mass produced with rips as part of the design
  • although punk seems  to challenge eventually and surprisingly quickly it goes to mainstream/high end and is turned into 'to shock chic' which marks the end of the movement as a subculture

21st century demonisation
  • style provokes a response in the media
  • hoody = troubled youths, lawlessness
  • gone from protective means to a badge and a sense of belonging, unidentifiable within the group

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