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.
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