Recent independent research conducted during Lockdown has found that 56% of people report that they are part of a ‘subgroup’.
The research was conducted by ‘The Nursery‘ and consisted of a phone survey of 1800 adults. The most popular subculture types reported were:
- Religious groups (not mainstream religions)
- Political movements
- Restrictive diets (e.g. paleo, vegan etc)
- Role-play gaming
The most common motive for joining a subculture was a ‘sense of belonging’, with 75% of respondents saying membership of their subculture was an important aspect of their identity.
Gaming is the largest genre of subculture, with 20% of respondents saying they had started gaming during lockdown, and new religious subcultures such as Wicca (3% of people) are also increasingly popular.
Relevance to A-level Sociology
This is an important update for subcultural theories of ‘deviance‘. IF we accept the definition of the above types of subculture (such as gaming cultures) as subcultures, then being part of a subculture is now normal, as 56% say they are part of one, and thus being part of a subculture is no longer deviant.
This seems to offer support for postmodern theories of subculture and society – Britain’s social make-up now consists of people fragmented into groups who choose to subscribe to a subculture/ group that gives their life meaning (almost 50% of respondents cited creativity as an important aspect of their subcultural membership)
This research also shows how far we’ve come from the early days of subcultural theory in the 1950s – such as Albert Cohen’s Status Frustration theory, and how irrelevant that is to understanding our diverse, consumer oriented postmodern subcultures.
It’s unlikely that 56% of the population join subcultures due to status frustration!
Then again, that particular theory wasn’t trying to explain subcultures such as those in the above research, and it may still be relevant in explaining why people join more deviant subcultures?
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