Subcultures usually emerge when persons in similar situations begin to feel that have been neglected by their mainstream societies (McShane, & Williams, 2010). It normally exists in the larger society and its members are not very similar to the dominant culture.

Hebdige’s Subculture Theory

According to Hebdige, subcultures develop as a response to the dominant culture and exist in situations where there is recognized and organized collection of actions, values, as well as behavior that differ from the customary set of the society’s norms. He notes that subcultures occur as a result of subordination and lower class division that exists in the society (Hebdige, 1979).

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They develop to communicate refuse, protest as well as resist the prevailing mainstream culture. Hebdige asserts that subcultures develop within the mainstream cultures.

They are inevitable and originate from the cultural systems that are in place within our societies. Hebdige feels that some subcultures will occur in our societies as there are some people who would always want to experiment something in the society. This normally develops out of curiosity to see what would result from their sets of values and beliefs (McKracken, 2001).

An example of sub-cultural group that has developed to defy the existing norms, are the skaters. The members of this sub cultural group come together due to their similar leisure choices. The group derives some pleasure from the noise and the commotion that they create on an office towers. They intentionally break the rules of social interaction to achieve their pleasure. This group also cares about their style as well as aesthetics (Tilley, 1999).

McKracken’s Subculture Theory

McKracken states that there is no longer one mainstream culture. The various subcultures that exist in the society makes it impossible to have one mainstream culture since cultures and subcultures are not static, but continue to be transformed. He identifies three characteristics of culture that exist in the world today.

He acknowledges that there exists difference everywhere as the world is more receptive to change and permits more room for diversity and difference. He also recognizes that the world is dynamic and therefore everything within our society is ever changing including the cultures within societies.

Finally, McKracken acknowledges that human being exists in a creative world and that its cultures comprise of a persistent generative impulse (Tilley, 1999). He notes that some many years back, it was possible to categories people in terms of their class, lifestyle, and generations among others. However, nowadays the world has changed and such classifications are not possible any more.

Today there exist great diversity, heterogeneity as well as variety. The varieties that exist also differ significantly in depth. He acknowledges that there exist great differences among various sub cultural groups regarding their values, perceptions as well as their outlooks. Fashion has also changed and there exists marked differences in fashion among various subcultures.

Adherence to fashion demands among the youth is seen to arise from the peer group acceptance. Youths undergo an insecurity life-stage during their teens and would therefore not want to be left out by the fashion trends. They derive the feeling of belonging from the fashions and the fads in hairstyles, music preferences, clothing choices, leisure patterns as well as speech patterns (Tilley, 1999).

Punks are one very creative subculture. They have established views explaining the deceptions of our desires as well as the deceptive nature of the worldly pleasures. This group intentionally breaks rules so as to reveal the hidden agendas behind the rules (Tilley, 1999). Thus this group enhances the transformations which occur within subcultures as well as the changes that occur within the cultures.

Tittley’s Subculture Theory Analysis

According to Mark Tittley, vigorous teen diversity in the world is bound to come down to a similar thing. The outlook, self-presentation and the activity that is exhibited by every subculture is normally an expression of class hostilities as well as age. Tittley notes that the teens surface commotion results from the greater levels of innovations among the teens which create different types of youths who each have unique ideas and values.

Tittley does not agree with the ideas of some theorists that subcultures may originate from peer pressure since the various types of teen groups are well defined and also have very steady set of values (Tilley, 1999).

Goths are one such subculture which has well defined and coherent set of values. They are preoccupied with melancholia. They embrace a similar language and their communication is characterized by poetry and theatrics. Their way of communication and the messages that they speak present a worldly view. They dye their hair, put on dark cloaks and also have heavy eyeliner to communicate their distinct cultural universe (Tilley, 1999).


Subcultures are inevitable and would always exist as long as factors that create differences among groups of people are not eliminated. Subcultures mostly result from subordination and the divisions of class that exists in the society. Subcultures therefore develop among individuals who feel that they have been isolated from the customary norms of the societies that they come from. These subcultures are also not static, but instead keep on changing with the generational changes.

Reference List

Hebdige, D. (1979). Subculture: Meaning of style. Florence, KY: Routledge. Retrieved from

McKracken, G. (2001). Subculture theory: Plenitude. Retrieved from

McShane, M. D. & Williams, F. P. (2010). Criminological theory. Upper Saddle River, New Jersey: Pearson

Tittley, M. (1999). A new approach to youth subculture. Birmingham: Center for Cultural Studies.


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