--SUBCULTURE AS A POPULAR RESPONSE TO MODERNITY—
If, as I suspect, modernity creates the conditions that allow multiple, simultaneous, antagonistic cultural threads to exist within the same greater culture-that is, if modernity is the force that allows differences in perspective to exist as a result of its dissolution of previous ways of knowing-then subculture itself is a modern phenomenon, a product of modernity.
Culture, sub- or otherwise, is practically by definition a product of the popular collective imagination-only in the fantasies of Maoists does culture come from anyone other than the great collective. So, I could point backward at the history of subcultures as a history of popular response to modernism. If I did, I could point to trends within these popular responses that group them loosely into two categories: alternatives to modernity, and engagements with modernity. Alternatives to modernity suggest (aesthetically or explicitly) a way of life that circumvents the problems inherent to modernity. Engagements with modernity suggest, inherently or explicitly, ways of life that attempt to rectify or incorporate the problems inherent to modernity.
ALTERNATIVES TO ENGAGEMENTS WITH
Heavy Metal Punk
Renaissance-fair type events Dada/surrealism
Nazism/Nationalism Soviet communism/Maoism
Dropouts/back-to-the-land Industrial music
The Occult/New Age “Rave”/early techno scene
Dungeons and Dragons Mod/60’s Psych
Italian Futurism Cybernetics/Futurology
Pop Psychology Pop Psychology/human potential
Organized Racism Alternative fuels/technology nerds Religious Right/fundamentalism Anarchism/lefty political radicalism Postapocalypse/Zombie apocalypse fantasies Queer