Subculture as a Form of Class
In the days of class system rhetoric, we were portioned into groupings according to what we did for a living, what part of town we lived in, and even further back our skin and faith mattered too. For the majority of the world, the class system is a relic barely called upon metaphorically in various circles who enjoy their particular identification, socialist worker's for example. It is now more difficult to identify with something to such an extent so that we can use it as a foundation for our character, when we as people haven't really given enough thought to it.
This means that for the most of us, we have our place in life and where ever that is, we tend to be surrounded by people in a similar place. Therefore the ideas about the world, other people, and the self are kept in a feedback loop which continually reinforces the same notions. We don't always have the time or the motivation to think about everything going on with the world, it could be argued even that the world has an infinite number of things we 'need' to know about it, so most of us don't have insight for our own on many topics people often raise.
Because of this we have standard thoughts and feelings, scripted conversation cues, that help us along when things get a bit over our head. We all have various one line replies we can use when someone asks us a question we don't really know. Honesty is the best course, but often we believe what we have been told, what we have learned to be true. We don't question it because who ever taught us did a great job of it. There're often many people who teach the same principle in life's situations. So we then lack original thought about a great deal of things that we simply haven't felt the need to examine our-self.
This is where the class system was a useful tool in the analysis of society, because it is possible to guess more accurately about a trend within a given area of people by what their class is, or what kind of jobs they do. We would know to advertise professional services to middle class audiences and savings at a warehouse to working class audiences. Since the class system is now used much more rarely, and the borderline between each division is blurring with every generation, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to know information about given groups of people.
Subculture provides a method of identification that individuals can relate to and feel relevant benefits from without rationing status in a way that a class system would do. In the forms of expression that predominate the various subcultural style, the same effects of localised feedback of principle and perception will occur. Establishments that cater for one or two particular subcultures will have atmospheres and codes of conduct which reflect the attitudes of those who take part.
Now with global reach for any trend, the symbology and soundtracks all count for the joint experience of learning about the world from the perspective offered by the given societal outlook. The lyrics to songs, the themes to the films, and the reasons why the icons are icons in the first place all make the definition of the ideal of the trend, and the arts which work to reflect this revolve around the core themes as they themselves evolve over time.
Because class structure still exists and there is still a societal divide between manual and non-manual work, although the pay has evened out more in recent years, there is still a mentality difference too which makes it more likely that members of particular societal groups will be involved in particular subcultures. White middle class people tend to like different music to white working class people, and the same can be said for all the other races. The films we all like are different, and because of the fact we spend the most time around people in a similar cultural position to ourselves, we tend to have similar localised influences.
This makes subcultural trend, class, and personality interchangeable in the way we can describe groups of people. The wisdom and knowledge taken from one can translate to another, and so on. It is important to remember that in trends, we cannot know for sure exactly how something is going to be, but it is more manageable when we understand the dynamics of likelihood and possibility. Calling on symbols and themes that run through particular cultures is how some artists represent their work in the most appealing way.
By being involved and on the pulse of the flow of ideas within a trend, we stand able to find themes that identify with ourselves and then reflect them back through the work we produce. We also buy the things we like that reflect our feelings and they too go into the inspiration of what we create for ourselves. The loop of ideas is continually turned over, like a field which grows annual grain. Everything is turned around again and again in new lights and new comparisons, creating an ever more diverse cultural landscape we can draw on to identify self with and learn about the world.
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