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Subculture vs counterculture

Subcultures are medium-sized communities with unique rules and ideas, differing from larger society but still sharing some dominant culture aspects. Examples include ethnic groups and exclusive religious groups. When subcultures conflict with dominant society, countercultures may emerge, strongly disagreeing with mainstream values, like the Old Order Amish rejecting modern technology.

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  • piceratops ultimate style avatar for user Francesco Maoli
    So basically, Fight Club was a movie about a micro-counter-culture.
    (7 votes)
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  • piceratops sapling style avatar for user Mihaela Perić
    wait, so Amish are a counterculture? i was taught in school, that they were a subculture because they didn't defy the dominant culture and they didn't fight against it. they still share some norms with the dominant culture, right? i mean, they accept the law and live by it, doesn't that mean they aren't fighting the dominant culture? can someone clear this up for me? i'm seriously confused...
    (3 votes)
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    • leafers ultimate style avatar for user Justin
      The Amish definitely defy the dominant culture. They live more by their own set of rules then our own. They live in a secluded community where almost all aspects of our modern society are shunned, such as fashion, sexuality, religion and technology. While they accept many laws that you and I accept they have many more folkways and cultural rules that only apply to them and are contrary to they way others live their lives.
      (3 votes)
  • leafers seedling style avatar for user amafi
    So are counterculture groups considered dangerous or detrimental to the larger society at all? Or can they be considered peaceful groups that hold different values?
    (3 votes)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user printcall
    These videos are so verbose that it's almost comical.
    (1 vote)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user Elle Sharrard
    I've seen multiple sources disagree if the Amish are a subculture or counterculture. The argument for why they are NOT a counterculture is that they do not attempt to change society. However, I agree that the Amish reject mainstream American culture in lieu of their own cultural beliefs. Please help me resolve how to classify the Amish culture as either a subculture or counterculture or both.
    (1 vote)
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  • blobby green style avatar for user shannonandheath
    Please change this video - it's incorrect to say that Mormons still practice polygamy. The written insert is just not enough, IMHO to correct such a blatant error.
    (0 votes)
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    • piceratops ultimate style avatar for user Emily
      Thank you for your comment. The written insert certainly is not enough because it does not show up when the video is embedded in another site. For example, it doesn't show up in the youtube version of this video, and the first format in which I saw this video was on my school website as an additional resource, and I was and am appalled by the false comments about the Church.
      (0 votes)

Video transcript

- [Voiceover] A subculture is the culture of a meso-level subcommunity that distinguishes itself from the dominant culture of a larger society. So a subculture is smaller than a nation, but unlike a microculture, it is large enough to support people throughout their entire lifespan. So what does all this mean? Let's take a look. A subculture is the culture of a meso-level subcommunity. So culture is the ideas of a society. It is the values, beliefs, and rules that make up that society. And meso-level tells us that a population size falls between micro and macro levels. Micro meaning small and macro meaning large. So in the meso level of analysis, sociologists look at, you can think of it as medium sized groups. And examples include communities, organizations, cities, states, or even clans and tribes. And a subcommunity is just a smaller community within a larger one. And this can include the examples we just talked about with the cities and states. So in plain English, all this first sentence is saying, is that a subculture is the rules and ideas of a medium sized community. The rest of our definition says that a subculture distinguishes itself from the dominant culture of the larger society. And this just means that it is different in some way. So it is good to note that when subcultures are unique to the larger society in some ways, they still share some of the culture of the dominant society. So they're different but they're not completely different. So bringing our analysis together, a subculture refers to the rules and ideas of a medium sized community that differs in some way from the larger community. We also said that a subculture is different from a microculture, because a subculture is large enough to support people throughout their entire lifespan. So just as a reminder, microculture refers to groups or organizations that affect only a small segment of one's life. And they influence a limited period of someone's life. So examples of microcultures include things like girl scout troops, college sororities, or even a boarding school. And subcultures affect your life on a much longer period than microcultures would. So in the United States, subcultures include things like ethnic groups such as Mexican-Americans or even exclusive religious groups such as the Orthodox Jews in New York City. They can even include social classes, groups like the elite upper class. So subcultures can cause tension with the dominant group, and the dominant group has the power to determine the cultural expectations of society. So an example would be that a very small percentage of Mormons in the United States believe in polygamy. And polygamy is when a person is married to more than one spouse. So I wanna emphasize spouse. So having more than one wife is actually called polygyny, and it breaks the law in Utah where many Mormons live. And they still hold on to this practice and this belief. So when a conflict with the larger culture becomes serious, and the laws of the dominant society are violated, a different type of culture actually emerges, and this is called a counterculture. And a counterculture is a group with expectations and values that strongly disagree with the main values of a particular society. So one type of counterculture that is represented, is actually called the Old Order Amish of Pennsylvania and Ohio. And the Amish drive horse drawn wagons, and they rarely use electricity or modern technology. So they reject mainstream ideas, and they have their own values. So the Amish rejecting mainstream or dominant culture like technology or consumerism, and replacing it with their religious principles which call for a simpler lifestyle, this makes them a counterculture, because their values, they differ greatly with those of the larger society.