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Subcultural Theory. Traditions and Concepts

  • ID: 2249484
  • Book
  • June 2011
  • 216 Pages
  • John Wiley and Sons Ltd
Subcultural phenomena continue to draw attention from many areas of contemporary society, including the news media, the marketing and fashion industries, concerned parents, religious, and other citizen groups, as well as academia. Research into these phenomena has spanned the humanities and social sciences, and the subcultural theories that underlie this work are similarly interdisciplinary. Subcultural Theory brings these diverse analytic issues together in a single text, offering readers a concise discussion of the major concepts and debates that have developed over more than eighty years of subcultural research, including style, stratification, resistance, identity, media and "post subcultures".

The text emphasizes methods, concepts, and analysis rather than mere descriptions of individual subcultures, all the while ensuring readers will gain insight into past and present youthful subcultures, including mod, punk, hardcore, straightedge, messenger, goth, riot grrrl, hip–hop, skinhead, and extreme metal, among others. The book closes with an assessment of the subculture concept as a viable and useful sociological tool in comparison with other fields of study including social movements and fandom.

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Detailed Table of Contents.

List of Figures and Images.


Chapter 1: Subcultural theory.

Chapter 2: Theoretical and methodological traditions.

Chapter 3: Race and gender in subcultural experience.

Chapter 4: Style.

Chapter 5: Resistance: Subculture from the inside.

Chapter 6: Labels and moral panics: subcultures from the outside.

Chapter 7: Identity and Authenticity.

Chapter 8: Scales.

Chapter 9: Related fields.

Chapter 10: A final note on concepts.


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"By far the most thorough and thoughtfully researched introduction to the field to date ... Highly recommended."


"Lays important tracks in the field of youth cultural studies and contributes powerful new data to the Chicago School s legacy of urban ethnography and deviance studies, returning symbolic interactionism to its roots without looking backward."

Symbolic Interaction

"In this book, Patrick Williams offers the fields of sociology, criminology, and youth cultural studies the most encyclopedic and visionary treatment of subcultural theory and youth sensibilities to date. Williams′s fusion of classic theory, modern research, and contemporary popular culture trends is masterful and Subcultural Theory is an invaluable resource to professors and researchers working in the areas of youth subcultures, deviance, and social theory."

Tammy Anderson, University of Delaware

"Subcultural Theory is essential reading for anyone interested in subculture studies. Patrick Williams explores the central concepts of the field – style, homology, moral panics, identity, authenticity, and more – with depth, precision, and clarity. He carefully outlines the key contributions and controversies related to major schools of thought, from the Chicago School to post–subculture studies. The thoughtful discussions of hegemony and resistance will push the study of subcultures forward. This book will be one of the most important texts in this field for years to come."

Ross Haenfler, The University of Mississippi

"Thorough, accessible and engaging throughout,
Subcultural Theory offers an invaluable guide for those new to the subject at the same time as providing a distinctive and thought–provoking critical contribution which will be of great interest to established scholars."

Paul Hodkinson, University of Surrey
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