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Dick Hebdige argues that subcultural style should be regarded as a semiotic form of resistance against authority - Essay Example

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The interaction between culture and politics cannot be denied. Culture is an indispensable part of social life.From this point of view, culture is also necessarily related to politics even if the particular relationship is not standardized…
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Dick Hebdige argues that subcultural style should be regarded as a semiotic form of resistance against authority
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Download file to see previous pages Culture is an indispensable part of social life. From this point of view, culture is also necessarily related to politics even if the particular relationship is not standardized, in terms of its forms. Hebdige has thoroughly explored the potential relationship between culture and politics. In his book ‘Subculture: the Meaning of Style’, first published in 1979, Hebdige uses examples from cultural trends developed in Britain during 1970s (Blake 1998, p.97). Emphasis is given to the cultural trends, especially in terms of music and dress, of youths in different subcultures (Blake 1998, p.97). The research on this subject has led Hebdige to the assumption that social relations can be influenced by the cultural background of the parties; for politics, a similar view could be developed (Blake 1998, p.97). The view of Hebdige that subcultural style should be regarded as a semiotic form of resistance against authority is evaluated in this paper. Reference is primarily made, primarily, to the concept of subculture, as described in the study of Hebdige. Then, two examples are employed for showing the value of the views of Hebdige if they are used in practice. It is proved that, indeed, subcultural style can be used as a form of resistance against authority. Still, the implications of such use are rather difficult to be identified. Neither can it be said that a particular subcultural style has been found to be effective in supporting a strong resistance against authority. 2. Hebdige and subcultural style as a semiotic form of resistance against authority 2.1 Key points of Hebdige’s view in regard to subcultural style For Hebdige, subcultures are related to two key terms: ‘conjuncture and specificity’ (During 1999, p.441). More specifically, Hebdige promotes the idea that subcultures are not limited to a particular aspect of life or to a particular area (During 1999, p.441). Rather, subcultures can be identified ‘almost everywhere’ (During 1999, p.441) being influenced though by specific conjunctures (During 1999, p.441). The term ‘conjunctures’ (During 1999, p.441) in the above use reflects not just the cultural and social trends developed in a particular region but also the political and economic conditions of the region (During 1999, p.441). It is in this framework that subcultures are created and developed (During 1999, p.441). At the next level, these subcultures change as they are adopted by people in different social classes and of different age (During 1999, p.441). Through the above transformation process a high range of styles appears (During 1999, p.441). It should be noted that the notion of subculture as developed by Hebdige is based on the continuous opposition with the system, leading to a phenomenon described as ‘resistance through style’ (Muggleton and Weinzierl 2004, p.86). The particular type of subculture has been characterized as heroic, indicating a strong willingness for fighting the system, including politics (Muggleton and Weinzierl 2004, p.86). However, today subculture has been slightly transformed; a transmission to ‘a post-heroic phase’ (Muggleton and Weinzierl 2004, p.86) has been unavoidable since the willingness of people to fight the system has been gradually reduced. On the other hand, the value of subculture for evaluating the social trends for opposing the system remains significant (Muggleton and Weinzierl 2004, p.86). When efforts are made for evaluating the power of subculture within a particular society the following fact should be taken into consideration: subculture, as described by Hebdige, needs to ‘represent noise, disturbance and blockage of the system of representation’ (Muggleton and Weinzierl 2004, p.86). If the above requirement is not met, then the social ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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