Subcultures and Transitional Spaces

  • Thomas Johansson
  • Marcus Herz
Part of the Young People and Learning Processes in School and Everyday Life book series (YPLP, volume 1)


This chapter recapitulates the theoretical discussions about subcultures and the strained relationships between subcultures and mainstream culture. We introduce the concept of a transitional space in order to bring together concepts from transition theories and cultural studies. By reading transitions in relation to subcultures and styles, we will get a more in-depth picture of what is occurring in transitional spaces. Although subcultures feed into the “common” culture, they are never totally absorbed; they continue to fascinate, attract and generate desire. Transitions concern not only how young people navigate a subculture and the mainstream in terms of education, employment and intimate relationships, but also the symbolic and cultural dimensions involved in identity work.


  1. Ahmed, S. (2004). Collective feelings: Or, the impressions left by others. Theory, Culture & Society, 21(2), 25–42.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ahmed, S. (2007). A phenomenology of whiteness. Feminist Theory, 8(2), 149–168.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Aidi, H. (2014). Rebel music: Race, empire, and the new muslim youth culture. New York: Random House.Google Scholar
  4. Baker, S., Robards, B., & Buttigieg, B. (2015). Youth cultures and subcultures. Australian perspectives. Farnham: Ashgate Publishing Limited.Google Scholar
  5. Blackman, S. (2014). Subculture theory: An historical and contemporary assessment of the concept for understanding deviance. Deviant Behavior, 35(6), 496–512.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Brake, M. (1974). The skinheads. An English working class subculture. Youth & Society, 6(2), 179–200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Fangen, K. (1998). Right-wing skinheads – Nostalgia and binary oppositions. Young, 6(2), 33–49.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Foucault, M. (1982). Afterword’: The subject and power. In H. L. Dreyfus & P. Rabinow (Eds.), Michel Foucault: Beyond Structuralism and Hermeneutics. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  9. Gelder, K. (1997/2005). The Subcultures Reader. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  10. Gelder, K. (2007). Subcultures. Cultural history and social practice. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  11. Gilroy, P. (1987/1992). There Ain’t no Black in the Union Jack: The cultural politics of Race and Nation. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  12. Hall, S., & Jefferson, T. (1976). Resistance through rituals. London: Hutchinson.Google Scholar
  13. Hebdige, D. (1979). Subculture. The meaning of style. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  14. Hebdige, D. (1988). Hiding in the light. On images and things. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  15. Hodkinson, P. (2002). Goth. Identity, Style and Subculture. Oxford: Berg.Google Scholar
  16. Hodkinson, P. (2016). Youth cultures and the rest of life: Subcultures, post-subcultures and beyond. Journal of Youth Studies, 19(5), 629–645.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Johansson, T., & Lalander, P. (2012). Doing resistance – Youth and changing theories of resistance. Journal of Youth Studies., 15(8), 1078–1088.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Johansson, T., Andreasson, J., & Mattsson, C. (2017). From subcultures to common culture: Bodybuilders, skinheads, and the normalization of the marginal. Sage Open, 7(2), 1–9.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kimmel, M. (2007). Racism as adolescent male rite of passage. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 36(2), 202–218.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Locks, A., & Richardsson, N. (2012). Critical readings in bodybuilding. London: Routledge.Google Scholar
  21. Lööw, H. (2002). The idea of purity. In J. Kaplan & H. Lööw (Eds.), The Cultic Milieu. Oppositional subcultures in an age of globalization. Lanham: Altamira Press.Google Scholar
  22. Lööw, H. (2015). Nazismen i Sverige 2000–2014 [Nazism in Sweden 2000–2014]. Stockholm: Ordfront.Google Scholar
  23. MacDonald, N. (2001). The graffiti subculture: Youth, masculinity and identity in London and New York. London: Palgrave.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Martin, G. (2009). Subculture, style, chavs and consumer capitalism: Towards a critical cultural criminology of youth. Crime, Media, Culture, 5(2), 123–145.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. McArthur, J. A. (2009). Digital subculture. A geek meaning of style. Journal of Communication Inquiry, 33(1), 58–70.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Melly, G. (1989). Revolt into style. The pop arts. Oxford: Oxford University Press.Google Scholar
  27. Muggleton, D. (2005). From classlessness to club culture: A genealogy of post-war British youth cultural analysis. Young, 13(2), 205–219.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Muggleton, D., & Weinzierl, R. (2003). The post-subcultures reader. Oxford: Berg.Google Scholar
  29. Nayak, A. (2003). Race, place and globalization. Youth cultures in a changing world. Oxford: Berg.Google Scholar
  30. Nayak, A., & Kehily, M. J. (2008). Gender, youth and culture. Young masculinities and femininities. New York: Palgrave.Google Scholar
  31. Piepmeier, A. (2009). Girl zines. Making media, doing feminism. New York: New York University Press.Google Scholar
  32. Ranciére, J. (2010). Dissensus. On Politics and Aesthetics. New York: Continuum.Google Scholar
  33. Robards, B., & Bennett, A. (2011). MyTribe: Post-subcultural manifestations of belonging on social network sites. Sociology, 45(2), 303–317.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Sassatelli, R. (2010). Fitness culture. Gyms and the commercialisation of discipline and fun. New York: Palgrave Macmillan.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Sernhede, O. (1984). Av drömmar väver man: ungdomskultur, socialisation, ungdomsarbete. Stockholm: Socialstyrelsen.Google Scholar
  36. Sernhede, O. (2002). AlieNation is my nation. Göteborg: Ordfront förlag.Google Scholar
  37. Shildrick, T. A., & MacDonald, R. (2006). In defense of subculture: Young people, leisure and social divisions. Journal of Youth Studies, 9(2), 125–140.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Sixtensson, J. (2018). Härifrån till framtiden. Om gränslinjer, aktörskap och motstånd i tjejers vardagsliv. Malmö: Malmö University.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Smith Maguire, J. (2008). Fit for consumption. Sociology and the business of fitness. London/New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  40. Tolson, A. (1990). Social surveillance and subjectification: The emergence of ‘subculture’ in the work of Henry Mayhew. Cultural Studies, 4(2), 113–127.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Ware, V., & Back, L. (2002). Out of whiteness. Color, politics, and culture. Chicago: Chicago University Press.Google Scholar
  42. Watts, M. W. (2001). Aggressive youth cultures and hate crime. Skinheads and xenophobic youth in Germany, 45(4), 600–615.Google Scholar
  43. Wheaton, B. (2007). After sport culture. Rethinking sports and post-subcultural theory. Journal of Sport & Social Issues, 31(3), 283–307.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Williams, J. P. (2006). Authentic identities. Straightedge subculture, music, and the internet. Journal of Contemporary Ethnography, 35(2), 173–200.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Zine, J. (2000). Redefining resistance: Towards an Islamic subculture in schools. Race Ethnicity and Education, 3(3), 293–316.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Thomas Johansson
    • 1
  • Marcus Herz
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Education, Communication and LearningUniversity of GothenburgGothenburgSweden
  2. 2.Department of Social WorkMalmö UniversityMalmöSweden

Personalised recommendations