- 関西学院大学社会学部紀要 (ISSN:04529456)
- vol.101, pp.161-168, 2006-10
The term 'subculture' has been used with many different meanings. Especially in Japanese, the loan word 'sabukaru (tya)' has been used in various ways. It has ordinarily referred to works, such as popular music, comics, animation films, programmes or magazines for the youth, video-games, and the latest fashions. Using Raymond William's definition that culture is a whole way of life, subcultures means a subset of practices in each society. From the point of view what culture was supposed to be against the term 'sub-' culture, I try to classify the uses of subculture into four groups. 1) Subculture as an antonym of high culture, i.e. subculture as low culture. 2) Subculture as an antonym of total culture, i.e. subculture as partial culture. 3) Subculture as an antonym of main or dominant culture, i.e. subculture as alternative or counter culture. 4) Subculture as an antonym of conventional culture. I have chosen the last definition. I think when a certain subculture emerges, conventional culture, which is opposed to the subculture, makes its appearance a posteriori. Not until a certain subculture emerges and it reflects an aspect of our social conventions, are we aware of some "taken-for-granted-ness" which all of us hold in our everyday life. And furthermore, now we are living in a world where we cannot easily assume a definite high, total, or main culture. Therefore, we should not reify any high, total, or main culture a priori.