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Youth-Subcultural Studies: Sociological Traditions and Core Concepts



The study of youth subcultures has rich histories in the USA and UK, yet has remained a marginal subfield within cultural sociology. In this article, I begin by reviewing the significance of the Chicago school, strain theory, Birmingham school and post-subcultural studies traditions of youth-cultural and youth-subcultural research. I then conceive of a series of significant analytic concepts that over time have proven themselves to be core components of youth-subcultural studies. These analytic concepts include subcultural style, resistance, subcultural space and media, societal reaction, and identity and authenticity. In each analytic section, I explore major conceptual frames and discuss significant empirical research, on youth subcultures including punk goth, straightedge, riot grrrl skateboarding, rave and club cultures, among others.