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Subculture and Counterculture

Subculture and Counterculture

Author: Paul Hannan

Identify characteristics and examples of subculture and counterculture in society.

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Source: Intro Music by Mark Hannan; Public Domain Images from; Public Domain

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Welcome to this episode of Sociology Studies of Society. Today's lesson is on subculture and counterculture. As always, don't be afraid to pause, stop, rewind, or even fast forward to make sure you get the most out of this tutorial.

Today, we're going to be breaking down culture into two different subgroups of culture. The first one is subculture. Now subculture is just a culture that is set apart from majority of society's population. Let me show you what I mean by that. So here we have culture-- you know, just everyone in the population, and you can break up that culture into different subcultures. Now an interesting thing about subcultures, everyone belongs to at least one if not multiple subcultures. So you can be a surfer, or a vegan, or a hipster, or you can be all three of those, but it's something that sets you apart from everyone else. But again, everyone ends up being a part of some subcultures, even if you don't know that you are a part of that subculture.

Now a different way of breaking up a society's culture is counterculture. Counterculture is a culture that is opposed by a wider society. So, again, we have everyone together, and we break them up, now a great example of the counterculture is the hippies from post-world World War II. Now everyone else in society saw what the hippies were doing, and they weren't a part of. It. They didn't want to be a part of it, and they left the hippies alone. And it was a counter movement, where they did things that were totally on their own and had their own world view.

As time has progressed, the hippie culture is not as much a counterculture as it used to be, but it's one of the great examples of what a counterculture is-- so when everyone else has a view of culture that's different from the counterculture. So today's takeaway message, a subculture is just a culture that is set apart from the majority of society's population, and a counterculture is a culture that is opposed by a wider society. Well, that's it for this lesson. Good work, and hopefully you'll be seeing me on your screen again soon. Peace.

Terms to Know

Cultural patterns that oppose or run counter to the dominant cultural traditions of a society.


Specific cultural patterns that are practiced by a subset of a culture or society.