Subcultures: Role of Media

Research output: Chapter in book/report/conference proceedingEntry for encyclopedia/dictionarypeer-review


Coined in the 1940s, the term subculture has been undergoing mutations and contestations but remains one of the major and popular conceptual tools to help understand a variety of social groupings, particularly youth. From Hells Angels motorcycle clubs to homosexuals, from goths to gamers, youth groups are conceptualized as performing a stylistic resistance to the dominant culture, ending up perhaps as “heroic failures,” incorporated into commodity culture. Tracing the history of “subculture” from its inception to more recent developments, this entry engages three key issues related to subcultural studies: how certain cultural practices become subcultural; what the role of the media is in the process; and how useful subcultural perspectives are in understanding certain cultural practices. It does so through the case study of weiniang in China: boys dressed up as girls. Recuperating non-Western experiences and focusing on gender, it offers a counterpoint to Western male bias in subcultural studies.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationThe International Encyclopedia of Media Effects
EditorsPatrick Rössler
Number of pages11
ISBN (Electronic)9781118783764
ISBN (Print)9781118784044
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2017

User-Defined Keywords

  • China
  • cultural/critical theory
  • gender
  • media and society
  • weiniang
  • youth


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