Unlike the consumerist ideal, alternative media doesn't try to suck you into anything, rather it tries to shake you out of it. The shock factor is a big player in the psychology of conforming to alternative culture, simply being different to the normal expectations is enough to cause a reaction, even if very minor. An unusual piercing or hair colour can suffice, but it is no where near the end of the road. The media itself is designed to form a reaction that causes a sensation of repulsion in some form. Often as a secondary feeling; anger, fear, disgust, and anti-aesthetics can all be called upon to create the sensations.
Because the consumer market dresses everything up to be attractive and almost hypnotic in its delivery, with clear status quo models throughout which re-affirm the notions of mainstream society, the sense of false comfort gives rise to a plethora of anti-versions that take root in the alternative scene. Subculture forms around the shared issues involved within communities and they become tied into one of the larger movements through nature of self similarity. For example hippies often have the same problems no matter where they live, only they manifest in different ways. Bikers may have a different qualm and as people who share similar emotional viewpoints encounter the standardised world around them, their problems will likely manifest in similar circles.
Taking the counter intuitive reasoning behind delivering a burst of unpleasantness via imagery, words, and music appeals to the rebellious and unsatisfied part of the psyche which identifies with the intentions imagined within the media. The individual realises that the media is not designed to be commercial and therefore forms a sense of respect for the courage involved, which latches onto their personal stories of becoming independent in the world as they grow up. Icons begin to represent not only their own work but the feelings and in a metaphorical way, the life stories of those who enjoy them. The punk movement for example gave rise to a massive number of people who dressed and acted in certain ways, and almost everything about it was designed to be anti-consumerism. Ironically, the consumer market had a field trip with it and before long the mainstream caught on.
There comes a time when the media represents a subculture in a greater proportion than real life, and unless at some trendy art school, there is an imbalance in the cultural representation. At this time, the commercial media scene will usually have its own versions of the products that represent the subculture, watered down and tuned in to match the common perception of good. Being out of touch is a 'trade-mark' aspect of the main stream alternative market in the eyes of the alternative scene, one step behind the alternative subcultures, things become fashionable after so long of being new or novel, and as things fade in and out of the consumer's eye, the alternative scene replicates the tide in the opposite direction. Like the sand and the sea, the shapes and patterns shift slightly with each new pass. Eventually, just like the coastline, new forms and areas of interest are created over periods of time.
There is a much greater step than music and clothing, and that is in written media. The written word has the power to travel a long way and when used with imagery in magazines and blogs, hard hitting media can be delivered. Shining a light on the evils of the world and the horrors behind the scenes that no one wants us to think about is a job for a certain few individuals who are brave enough to stick their heads out of the crowd and speak about the issues. Most people don't want to be confronted with the hard and painful truths in the world, and others take it upon themselves to make sure you look. Where as music and film can metaphorically describe things that make people think, like V for Vendetta for example, or the lyrics to certain System of a Down songs, media can simply tell the truth and show you the picture to prove it.
Alternative media doesn't try to sell itself, it just presents itself and sits there to be consumed. The people behind it know that they wont be swept up by the tide of mass consumerism, but they know that a few individuals who are willing to think for themselves will pick up the thoughts and ideas, and put them to use somewhere in their own lives.
Consumerism is one of the backbones that hold modern society together. In the accumulation of money and the spending of it on things, taxes are paid and the wheels of government slowly grind in all its expensive ways. Most of us require some form of guidance and leadership in life in order to feel comfortable. Uncomfortable people don't work as well, and they don't enjoy their lives, so we on the whole keep the way things are.
It was William Blake who spoke of the "dark satanic mills" in his realist and gritty poetry concerning the way of life for many in the nineteenth century. Before the global trade networks and human rights laws that we rely on today, the capitalist mindset was given the freedom to do as it wished. And because we as people need money in order to live, those without were extorted for their time in return for very little. Those at the top of the manufacturing triangles were scooping in large rewards for all the hard work and often tragic lives of those under their employment.
At least in the western developed world, this notion is now under some form of control, and equality is much better now than it was then. The rich and poor gap is obvious still, however the democratisation of manufacturing and consumerism has provided a network and gateway for many more to find their way into financial comfort. More people now stand able to create and manufacture than before, and this is because of the technology and education available.
The alternative scene consumer ideal is always attempting to work against the grain of mainstream consumerism. The bipolar element of this marketplace is allowing a continual flow of novel and creative ideas to enter the social consciousness alongside the stable and proven facets that the majority wish to own or take part in. Nurturing the alternative scene and the societal irregularities within communities provides a way for individuals to feel more able and more likely to find a niche in the consumer market.
In the developed world, the amount of things available to buy increases by a great amount. As social hierarchies subconsciously form around cultural groupings and peer groups, a potential for alternative thinking arises. Once an alternative idea begins to manifest within a social group, finding ways to represent this symbolically and externally is often on the agenda. Consumerism offers this with an array of items which all look and feel certain ways. We creatively define ourselves using the plethora of props available to us. The clothing, jewellery, media, and food we consume all point towards personality traits that we on some level wish to communicate.
By identifying new and independent ways of being and thinking, the alternative marketplace finds the consumer produce that speaks to these element of their communities. The media often portray the alternative scene in one form or another, and more complicated structural morphology can be found in suburban and urban environments based on a word of mouth and social comparison basis. The incentives to find relationships between thought patterns and consumer items are financial and cultural in equal terms. It is important for people to find ways of representing themselves in ways that feel unique to them but also allow a group conformity with a particular peer group, and the balance in this process is worked out over the years. Often when we are teenagers, we begin the process of self-discovery and then around the mid twenties, we begin finding our social likenesses and societal places as a more rewarding experience.
What is on offer and what themes are being used by the mass alternative scene will affect the niche pockets found in local communities. The famous songs and their artists, the particular clothing worn by the alternative icons, and the language used by the presenters and communicators of alternative culture will find their way into the main consciousness of the societal crowds who follow them. This echo-box function provides a continual reflectivity of culture and marketplace which gradually evolves as new ideas and motifs find their way onto the scene.
As we as consumers buy products, ideas, and resources, we are in essence voting for which of these we wish to perpetuate. We are choosing to allow this association of creativity and product to endure. It's a democratic process in which the things and ideas that people associate with the most will be bought into, paid for, and given incentives to continue being on the market. These ideas are reflected back by other artists and media sources, and the evolution of culture revolves around this process.
By encouraging a consumer based culture which provides for freedom of thought and expression, it sets a society up for greater equality and allows more opportunity for people with all kinds of personality to find ways to contribute in their own ways. It is the capitalist mindset that has caused inequality but in the right hands, it can be used to cause equality too. Education and living wages of course are the main factors in this establishment of equality but the alternative scene marketplace is an essential element in this process. Without a continual input of fresh and novel perspectives and ideas, consumers would soon get bored and a much smaller selection of individuals would stand able and willing to create and form new ideas.
Many people have daily activities in which they have little or no control. This typically being work, college, university, and school for younger people, often boundaries within such environments are rigid and set by authoritarian figures. Also, the routines and activities within the environments are structured according to a protocol outside the jurisdiction of the individual. The regulations and expectations fit like a yoke over each member, and it is expected to become comfortable after some time.
The alternative scene movements and subcultures that revolve around them tend to agree in principle with a shared dislike of the inhumane elements within the conformist societal institutions, such as work or school. There is a common animosity towards what is considered to be the “rat race”, and the nine to five attitude that so many people are forced to endure. This doesn't mean they don't take part, much to the contrary, many alternative scene representatives hold down jobs. It costs money to keep up with the scene, to go to the venues, to travel to the shows, to buy the correct attire.
People who don't have jobs fall into a category of their own and unless they find themselves in receipt of generous benefits, can't enjoy the perks of being part of a society. The dislike of work and the philosophies that negate the necessity for working a certain way or for certain reasons can extend into a moral choice to avoid work all together. Some people prefer to not be a part of the system at all. However, when money is not freely flowing, there is no control over one's own circumstances.
Partly a reward for conforming to a societal norm such as work is the fact that employees take home their pay which entitles them to take part in and buy clothing for alternative scene subcultures. In the way that the pressure of similarity is adopted in the week, at the weekend the element of self expression is released from its shackles and for a couple of days the individual is permitted to be who-ever they want to be.
The simulacra within the subcultures will provide inspiration and ideas for the masses who go with the given trends. Role models and cult heroes play their role in defining what is done, what is the look, and what is the viewpoint, and in general people gravitate towards the individual icons who resonate with them the most. There is an element of influence, wherein if an individual has not formed an opinion on a particular subject, when given an opinion by someone they associate a likeness with, they are much more likely to accept it without giving it their own personal thought.
Many subcultural media platforms make it their angle to discuss regularly the downsides and pitfalls of modern work, and they make a point to openly debate the effects of globalisation and standardisation across work environments. Progress has to push against something and it does appear that many alternative media sources like to provide that thing to push against and will actively seek out any possible angle that can interfere with the mainstream societal trends. This is perhaps a useful aspect to society as a whole, much in the way scientists are continuously disproving themselves, the only way the right answer is found is by crossing off all the wrong ones.
Finding common ground in the dislike of the weekly activities helps subcultural groups to form, however there is more than this element. It is more apparent in the reverse, where as when people are taking part in their weekly lives, being a part of general society and restricting their inner wants and desires in order to do so, the thought of the scene keeps them motivated. By having an escape, a new reality outside of the monotonous processes required in order to pay the bills, a mindfulness of it can perhaps act as a therapeutic resource when faced with something unpleasant. Like a psychological coping mechanism, being part of a scene gives one a purpose and a sense of self that is otherwise dictated to us by who ever pays the wages.
The CIA of America has been reported to have used art to assist with the dismantling of the Soviet Union in the 20th century. Operation “long leash” was put in place to provide real funding for Artists to help them spread their own unique brand of wisdom that counteracts the logic behind communist rule.
The Soviet view on art was hyper controlling, with only particular themes and messages allowed, thus finding ways of communicating fresh perspectives was a hot topic for many years. Big name artists Jackson Pollock, Robert Motherwell, and Willem de Kooning were among the many people directed to bring soft power to the Soviet shores.
During the 50s and 60s, abstract modern art was fuelled by direct CIA funding and toured around the world. Although the movement was unpopular in the states, including with its then President Truman, the message was in place that creativity and inspiration could only be born from the cultural freedom of the West. The middle finger to communist controlling mentality provided a much needed kick-start to the will of the old Union's citizens.
In 1947, when the Central Intelligence Agency was founded, the decision to use soft power was made. Providing a route for information and emotional learning via the demonstration of liberty and new culture seemed a perfect way to get into people's heads and open their minds. Some say the CIA invented Abstract Impressionism, a form of art made popular by their funding. Others however believe that they didn't invent it only allowed it a platform in order to have it more attainable by those in perceived artistically dry places.
Perhaps the art itself wasn't the main focus, just a medium for the personalities of the artists themselves to speak about their ideas on how a nation needs to be organised and run. With typical left wing ideologies, a trend that still runs today with the world of modern and new art forms, it was perhaps thought that interest in the people behind the paintings would encourage learning about new ways of thinking.
It has also been shown that the CIA worked with an organisation called American Friends of the Middle East, founded in 1951 to find links and ways of culturally developing the area and to provide real informational networks between the two areas. In the book America's Great Game, author Hugh Wilford explains how the AFME funded culture in the mid-east including lectures, student exchanges, and exhibitions. In the 70s, AFME changed its name to AMIDEAST.
It was thought that the intellectuals who took interest in the cultural demonstrations and networking would take what they learned and include it in their writing and art themselves. From diplomats to writers, the middle eastern intelligentsia were exposed to numerous relevant and enlightening displays. It's thought that the artists themselves were unaware of the links with the secret services.
In alternative scene communities, the social groupings tend to revolve around one or two particular elements of the micro-society. Everyone who is within a particular group generally has a shared interest in a certain aspect of the alternative subculture and enjoy the same thread of involvement as each other. That's what draws them in. When an individual wishes to express themselves in a unique way that allows them to reject unwanted social boundaries or fashions, they find themselves in need of an outlet for that expression which allows them to be themselves in a way that is acceptable. Niche subcultural movements do this job, and provide stomping grounds for all kinds of alternatively minded people.
Because everyone who gets involved with a particular subculture has a desire to express themselves in their own way, and to be a true individual among many, it is easily made difficult by clashing ideologies and personalities. The characters with the most social capital will generally define the themes and mentalities which prevail in any established community. Because of this, a new fashion or subcultural theme manifests and puts pressure on the individual once more. This paradox of intent can often result in members feeling rejected, left out, or ignored, simply because their natural personality doesn't fit the general outlook of the majority in their chosen subculture.
For media like music, it is the establishments that play the music which hold the social bubbles together. The artists themselves make the music they want to/are told to make and the people in the scene are then responsible for distributing it to the subcultures who enjoy it. The lyrics can often be instrumental in defining an audience, and if an artist sings mainly about one type of lifestyle, the music will naturally gravitate towards people who share that life.
In literature, the writers speak from particular angles and perspectives. These will be unique to their life position, and often do not alter from the natural and honest outlook of the individual. This will result in a natural gravitation towards like minded readers who share elements of personality with the author. There are not as many establishments who link literature with people in the same way music is linked. Similar to film, the media is made available and those with a desire for it will go and find it.
Because the artists involved are at liberty to define the perspectives and intentions behind the work, this becomes a factor in the social definition of the crowds who enjoy it. This reflection and projection can result in trend setting and alteration of ideals. What occurs is a social pressure to think a certain way, to look at life and things from particular perspectives. Because of the nature of people who wish to express their individual personalities, and the overhead messages coming from the shared media, the suggestion of conformity is perhaps stronger in alternative scenes than elsewhere.
This means that for many, they discover that they are unsatisfied with what their scene is offering, and feel that they too have something of value to offer. This is when an individual decides to begin creating media for themselves and their friends. It sends a clear message that people like this can be like that too, and it allows a new form of character to become acceptable in the scene. The likelihood of the media reaching further than the first social network is slim for anyone who just starts out in an effort to express themselves, but all artists begin in this way. After so long of contribution, the themes and ideas become firm within the given social networks. These go on to seed new media in other networks, and if an idea or theme is good enough, it will travel around many artists over a period of time.
Finding a niche for an audience cannot be faked, because the emotional passion has to be evident in the work in order for others to truly identify with it. Something has to shine through the art or media and reach people in a way that allows them to connect. Dry and soulless productions may look good on the outside, but if no-one takes anything away that manifests somewhere else in their life, then it's not made an impression.
People are everywhere, and they all have individual tastes. The majority of us fit somewhere in the mainstream, but we all demonstrate tendencies in one way or another that could be described as alternative. Whether it's the way we make our tea to the way we style every inch of ourselves, there's usually something about us that is different to the norm. When we meet another person who is the same as us, in a world of being the odd one out, an exhilaration occurs, a small rush of pleasant surprise that motivates us to feel good about our life choice.
This is the institution of community that creates bonding with like-minded individuals. When the buzz of being alike in a dissimilar world takes a hold, we enjoy the company of this person just a little bit more. We therefore like to spend time with them, and communities provide for this by providing establishments and places of congregation that appeal to unique trends and subcultures. From the clubhouse or the local bar that plays your kind of music, each step from one side of society to the other has the same notion of similarity means easy bonding and pleasant experience.
Add a continual flow of entertainment and refreshments, all styled in the way of the particular subculture that predominates the establishment, and the cultural relevance is set to appeal to and maintain relationships with like minded people. With alternative scene interests, the locality of like-minded individuals may not be adequate to justify a bricks and mortar place of congregation. Although the main stream alternative has its bars and nightclubs that play all the latest underground music, there are many scenes which tend to go unheard of until they're discovered online.
Before the internet it was fanzines that were forerunners in the underground culture scene. With compiled contents made up from an editor and several contributors, regular issues were and still are distributed around local communities. These would breed micro-cultures in the way their peer selected authorship would remain fairly stable and the readership would enjoy the continuity of style. As the reach grew for fanzines, as more copies were printed off, the readership would grow and if they were lucky, things would take off. Now, with blogging, the copies printed isn't relevant. Anyone with a printer can print a blog page if they want to, for private non-commercial use it is absolutely legal, and so the institutions that media creates have grown to larger magnitudes.
The underground media scene often resides in shoe string budget blogs and when dedicated and thought out sites are produced, the readership respects the work put in, enjoys the message and vibe, and feels similarity to the topics being talked about. Art, music, writing, fashion, and all sorts of other things make the talking points, even celebrity gossip can hit alternative subculture, and as long as the topics don't nod along with the things "all the other stuff" is talking about, it remains safe and dry on the other side of the societal lake.
So it doesn't really matter if it's a public place that caters for a scene or a particular interest, or an online community of like-minded thinkers, or even a paper and binding community of readers and writers who contribute to the fanzine movement that still enjoys popularity today. The energy put into fuelling the experience with a continual influx of fresh ideas along with the flow of everything that matters to the crowd, institutions can thrive. Once a community establishes itself and becomes an institution, where the self sustaining community of like-minded individuals remains continuous and evolving along with the community as a whole, the scene is well grown and has become part of culture.
With new art forms, and styles, the cultural response will not contain the element of likeness which more traditional forms enjoy. In order to bridge the gap, a definite evolution needs to be shown from where the ideas for what is now on display came from and which route of thought was taken from the initial thought. By manner of describing how what we have now is relevant to what you already know, it is more likely to become accepted. Finding the bridge that defines a new cultural movement that was perhaps created by some youths in an inner city district is more the job of bigger artists who glean interesting expressive ideas from the underground scene. The step up from underground anomalae to over-ground cultural shift often requires several communities working in unison to form one institution. The benefits of this and the downfalls of this are determined on exactly what the movement stands for and what it entails. New music and new clothing behave in different ways, and the people who can take the steps behave in different ways too.
Only with a dedicated mindset and a willingness to try new approaches with new ideas can any underground artist make a step up into some kind of professional realm. It needs to be done out of love and pleasure, with the notion that it doesn't matter if it ever makes anything more than a few smiles. However, once we become professionally established, the ladder has Fibonacci steps, and it doesn't take long before there's a lot of air between us and the next one. That is why it is vital to have work talked about, mentioned, and even used in ways that are no longer under the control of the creator. When the world gets hold of something and discovers it can "play" with it, it will do it until its heart's content.
An alternative subculture within society will contain gradients of expression which at the extreme end will manifest in some form of intellectual or emotional protest, extending into real life action against the subject. No longer just the subject of conversation and social structuring, the behaviour exhibits tendancies to deliberately undermine or create friction within the unwanted procedures or establishments. Usually, around half of those who partake in active and militant protest are in the younger generation. Post teenage young adults who have trouble coping or accepting the methodology of their culture for moral or intellectual reasons are the most likely to show radical behaviour. The slightly larger half of the average distribution of protesting adults are of all ages post early twenties, thus showing a strong concentration of the young in comparison to the broader scope of ages in the other group.
Perhaps during these earlier years of adulthood there is a higher resource of energy and willingness to act, which over time is worn down or changed which results in the dropping out of the protest movement. Otherwise perhaps when we are younger, it is more likely that we feel the most able to change the processes of the world around us, discovering that we have a social voice and that it can be listened to is empowering and this can spur further outspoken behaviour which could evolve into militant actions. There is also the factor that as we grow older, we discover that we can make more progress for change in other ways and that militant or radical outbursts against a subject doesn't always make the right point to the right people.
The majority of radical and protest movements are centred on the left hand side of politics. This means that for the most, the protest has a moral and emotional basis rather than an economic or nationalistic basis. There is usually a large mix from all social classes within protest movements, and for those who would benefit from left wing policies the inspiration can be seen as material but for those who would pay the extra costs required to fund the left wing politics would only receive emotional rewards. These two paths tend to lead to the same place, and in some cases the emotional pathway can be the most powerful with material gain taking the second place to apathy and disagreement.
There are also protests against military action which use militant thinking in order to make their point. This fire against fire mechanism often results in confusion and hypocrisy which creates a separate subsection of protest movements who adopt peaceful means. Soft power in protest requires the use of art, literature, and public speaking in order to spread awareness of the message. Both groups often work side by side for major rallies but contain themselves as independently operating entities when required to identify their methods.
Political leaders often attempt to figurehead protest movements in order to associate a vote in their direction with the notion of the ideal being pushed forward. This style of politics can result in big changes in government protocol but can also be used to shepherd militant and radical thinkers into the mainstream political wings resulting in little change. In other nations political leaders strongly prohibit protest and use military force to halt the progress of even the peaceful actions that could be seen as arguing with the state.
The origins of political activism in the modern era can be found in the 50s and 60s with global protest against the accumulation of nuclear weapons. This movement still exists today and although has not been able to halt their development, has perhaps been a key factor in the calming down of the frenzy of demonstrations and testing that dominated the latter half of the twentieth century. A mixture of peaceful and militant protest continues to take place, with groups such as Extinction Rebellion, Green Peace and Friends of the Earth taking major headlines in the nature of their activism.
This does not say that political activism is modern, for millennia the human culture has grown in one direction, formed disagreement, and then grown in other directions. Bloodshed and war have been a corner stone in any major change in the past, and for modern activism and protest, it can be said for the first time that it is not necessary to use brute force to make worthwhile changes.
During the 1960s, music and film began to address serious situations in the international scene. It was at this time that a lot of hard work was done to address some of the major injustices in the world and to demand transparency in the halls of power for all to see what their nation really stands for. The hippy movement saw an evolution of style from protest towards the home and the parents, towards protest at the bigger entity of local and national power structures. Art took itself to a new level on the commercial landscape as the popularity of rebellious and questioning expression became a global phenomenon.
From this point onwards, the alternative scene has taken steps from this initial podium of being a separate entity to the main crowd and it carries the ghosts of this past in its ethos and social ecology today. Although the hippy no longer dominates the fashion scene, it lives on in the many sub-genres that sprouted from the seeds laid down by the initial pioneers. Even now, hippy iconography is called upon when ever the sense of free spiritedness and apathy to control is wanted. It's a long standing tradition that has stood the tests of the ever changing fashion scene.
The mentality that began in this initial phase of moral protest in alternative subculture sparked a varying degree of discontent towards one or more facets of traditional society, and resulted in attempts to navigate a life path which reduces the need to involve self with the problematic procedures. In being part of an alternative crowd, an individual is demonstrating a character trait or taste that does not represent the majority in that instance. In this behaviour, an individual will demonstrate actions and choices that appear to be the opposite or counter-productive to common opinion. These can be addressed in six perspectives which can all be used to describe the manner in which a particular subculture is defined from the viewpoint of moral protest.
Individualism is the most accessible characteristic in any alternative subculture. It is demonstrated by a desire to separate from the homogeneous mass of big society, which is a natural effect of living in largely populated areas. Now with internet technology allowing the global community to mingle in giant public spaces, this aspect of society is perhaps growing to new levels of magnitude. The individual cultures that we each belong to perhaps will play a bigger role in our self identity than before as the global social scene grows over time.
Expressivism is the way in which an individual believes in the act of enjoying life to the full, and will not entertain laborious or menial tasks in order to gain material wealth. In a protest against materialistic ideals, life is about experience and fulfilment rather than the accumulation of things or money.
Subjectivity is the act of treating life experience as a momentary existence in which only the pleasure of the moment is important. Life is given mystical qualities and the patterns and happenings around us are treated as having extra significance. This can lead to harmful effects on health and life situations if objectivity is completely ignored, as empathy and social connection requires us to be aware of other peoples' points of view.
Dissociation is the characteristic that shows a dissatisfaction with the usual frameworks of society such as school or church, and an individual will gravitate towards something other than the general ideal. By finding a way to live without taking part in the things that cause us emotional or moral issues, we find ourselves within an alternative scene of like-minded individuals who also have similar issues to us.
Movement types simply do not enjoy being tied down to one place, be it work, home, relationship, or any other usually stable thing. By protesting against the notion of non-change, and understanding that in order to grow we must always be open to new experiences, individuals live lives which allow for this in way that most people would probably be uncomfortable with.
Finally there is the passive resistance characteristic, which simply means to not be involved with the routines that are generally asked of people. This could be refusal to work, or pay the bills, or abide by common courtesy in public spaces etc.. There are many ways in which people can resist a cultural norm, by simply not taking part and making an effort to do so by not going to particular places or buying certain things, we stand as apathetic objectors, perhaps unable to halt progress but not being part of it either.
It is likely that anyone in the alternative scene will manifest at least one of these characteristics and possibly change them over time as they evolve their own psychological understanding of life. It is in the action of moral protest that the most important work can be done to address the issues of the day, from small scale to international level problems. By identifying areas in society that could be improved upon, and making waves to ensure that the idea is listened to, alternative subculture provides a continually fresh perspective on the world we live in.
Cultural rebellion can be loosely defined as an act of behaviour that resembles the opposite of societal normality, but remains within the general scope of acceptable or workable personality types. With few exceptions, it carries a sense of intelligentsia with the social groupings and interests within. In this manner, an alternative subculture is a direct cultural rebellion until it forms its own self fulfilling movement of artists and ambassadors within the trend to become accepted as a main form of alternative style. The borderline between culturally rebellious and alternative mainstream can become blurred, and sometimes non-existent within certain media styles. Behaviour is moderated by culturally rebellious people, and for the most of this group, normal life can run side by side with the moral protest that symbolises their style.
It is within cultural rebellion that clothing style and music choice take major roles in the definition of which way a person can be identified within their alternative movement. The diversity of the many neo-tribes that dominate the nightlife and gig scene means that within given movements, many sub-sects can be drawn up from each. Within these subsections of cultural grouping are social circles that gravitate towards one establishment type or another, and these mingle in their jointly preferred venues. The extreme of both sides will not generally go into each others other preferred venues and establishments, so the middle ground areas generally provide the mixing room for the crossing over of ideas and themes.
There has been a distinctive growth in subculture that contains culturally rebellious themes but coincides with working life. Establishments such as alternative medicine, alternative eating, and alternative schooling groups provide a method of behaving in a manner which is not culturally deemed the most appropriate or the most able to meet the needs of the whole. There usually lies a firm belief that in an ideal world the normality would include the extra lines of thinking provided by these movements, and possibly in some cases their presence is what allows society to gradually evolve to implement new thinking into its main function.
Within alternative movements of cultural rebellion, the societal norms can carry through in ways such as class tradition and communication style. The areas of life in which a person is brought up will reflect on their life within their chosen identity crowd, and this will not always be the same as others who also choose this crowd to associate with. This breeds division and differences in ideal within tightly knit groups, and although usually not an issue, can become fuel for argument in tense situations. A certain level of agreement of respect and use of language is generally preferred in most establishments and venues, but there are a few places which cater for clients with less regard for formalities such as those.
Of the various categorical styles of cultural rebellion, the four predominant aspects can be summarised as follows. Delinquency is caused by the total withdrawal from the social norms and attitudes required to get on with every day life. It is generally only in this category where individuals will become established in harmful behaviours and cause concern for the safety and quality of life of those around them. Bohemianism is the cultivation of a lifestyle that rejects the general methodology of society in the manifestation of alternative lifestyle choices and mechanisms for getting by. Within the bohemian styles is a subsection of existentialism that although remains in the boundaries of well groomed and acceptable to society as a whole, will tend to gravitate towards delinquent behaviour when the mood is set. Finally, the radical forms of cultural rebellion are those who focus their act of protest at one particular facet of society, and attack its normalcy by manner of doing something totally different. This can manifest in various forms, but generally has a political bias.
Within the establishment of a cultural rebellion, it perhaps seems adequate that an individual finds solace in the notion of group mentality when faced with an unwillingness or inability to cope with given protocol. Discovering that there is another way and it might not require so much of a particular set of skills or psychological basis, many perhaps find themselves drawn to movements. This is when they become exposed to the numerous alternative thinking pattens and styles offered within their scene and the choices made to gravitate towards one or more various outlets of expression takes place over this time. Bonds can quickly form as the backdrop for experience remains fairly continuous throughout the development of identity.
During adolescence, an individual will naturally gravitate towards behaviour that challenges the expected ideals given to them by their surrounding community. As a person goes through life, to school or college, at home, and in various places like a friend's house, at the park, or youth club, the various mentalities will shift around a point of reference depending on the particular crowd, rules, and traditions of the groups.
Within places such as these, behaviour again can be sectioned off into types depending on which grouping or social standing is being observed. In a natural environment, these observations will take place and inform any present individual as to what can be acceptable, what is not acceptable, and what is generally preferred. With each behaviour set presented, mismatches will occur between what is observed and the unique environments an individual will inhabit. These become the sources of learned behaviour that will push, test, and deliberately go against preferred behaviour in other situations.
This initial testing of social attitudes according to influence and behaviour is normal and is not usually considered delinquency. Within a few years children become adults and it is important for them to think independently and demonstrate ability to adapt behaviour and attitude. Testing and repeating characteristics of friends and influences is a natural progression that is required in order to establish learned and adequate adult characteristics. Trial and error in the growing personality is paramount to growth and personal evolution.
When a characteristic that demonstrates a clear inversion to acceptable behaviour and protocol manifests (in the way that it appears to be the opposite of what is needed and persists in being so despite protest) a delinquent characteristic has begun to form. These can initially be seeded from influence and peer pressure, as well as an inner sense of inability to conform to what is expected, or cope with what is required. There are three main forms of delinquency that have distinct and separate roots, issues, and mentalities, first described in the 50s and adapted over time to envelop the humanity within effect.
The first type of delinquent subculture is the criminal element, organised crime and petty crime both as varying degrees of seriousness. When a young individual turns to crime, it is a mixture of peer pressure and desire for material things. In some cases desire for basic amenities like food and clothing can lead to criminal activity, however in developed nations this is less likely. More often it is the privileges of money that lead people to desire more than they have, and turn to criminal behaviour to get it. It can be initially rewarding, and with continual pressure from friends to conform to their lifestyle, an individual can quickly be groomed into a criminal lifestyle, and become dependent on it in a short period of time.
The nature of its spread is mainly due to the fact that others involved wish to groom new recruits into their lifestyle, firstly to offer validation for their own choices in the observation of others taking the same ones for similar reasons, and the issue of using individuals for their own gain but without doing the criminal act themselves. Often the fear of being caught leads groomed criminals into encouraging others to take part in the crimes instead, and therefore keeping their part as small as possible. This cycle of criminal activity and grooming typically occurs in areas where money is short, but not always. The targets of richer areas tend to be in correlation with the increase of wealth in the community.
Secondly, there is the conflict subculture. This grouping chooses to partake in violent activity, causing harm to others, spreading fear, intimidation, and unease throughout their communities. There are many forms of violent subculture, and they can be gang orientated, sports orientated, politically orientated, or simply violent for some internal emotional reason, for example to emulate their favourite musicians or films. When violent attitudes occur, the disgust towards the opposing group, the subject of their violence, is what causes the behaviour. It is a learned thinking that these people on the the other side deserve to be punished, hurt, abused, and treated as less than human. For the most, within the given subculture, violence towards the opposing groups is rewarded with social capital and status, thus reinforcing the acceptability of the action. Within the group, they are the good guys, and any action taken against the opposing side is seen as an action against the bad guys. This moralising of violent activity allows the group to continue in a self sufficient rampage without much moral questioning from within. Any external questioning can result in immediate association with the other side, ending in violence. This continual threat makes it very difficult to reach out to these individuals. Having a violent mentality can be caused by an excess of anger that has no appropriate funnel for safe expression, or simply because the individual has learned violence as a way of life from a young age.
The third and least harmful group of delinquent characteristics are the retreatist types. These characters will avoid life and its dynamics through drugs, or simply extreme introversion. It is often the case that coping with life's trials and requirements is too much for these types and they prefer to withdraw into a private life that separates them from the working of normal society. Lack of confidence and inability to conform with standards presented often lead to individuals leaning towards retreating from life, and if allowed to become extreme, this can seriously affect a person's chances of having a full and interesting life.
With all three types of harmful behaviour that can be grouped together to describe delinquency, the effects on communities can be severe. The house prices can lower, the quality of life can lower, and the motivations of the younger generation can be seriously affected. Influences occur in the background, and we cannot control what happens around us or what the T.V. Channel chooses to air, but we can always remember that as parents and friends, we always have the chances and ability to be good wholesome influences on those around us.
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