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Possibilities of Sub-Cultural Resistance

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According to Hebdige, the Birmingham school was ambivalent about sub-cultural resistance. Gelder points out the Hebdige explained the symbolic potency of distinct style as a gesture of defiance, refusal, and contempt and as a power to disfigure. Muncie points out that Hebdige provided the most elaborate analysis of sub-cultural styles as symbolic violations of the social order, expressed in a coded form as resistance (2005). Hebdige used ‘ style’ as the main variable to measure the magnitude of resistance and linked them to leisure. He stated that “ it is young people’ s use of leisure and style which offers possibilities of sub-cultural resistance “ According to the Birmingham school, the thesis of the sub-cultural style is evidence of the so-called resistance.

This resistance was developed to give a separate identity to the sub-cultural groups. This identity was meant to showcase their response to the economic inequality prevalent in society. The resistance manifested itself into various forms such as Punks, Mods, Rude Boys, Rastafarians, and Skinheads, etc. These sub-cultural groups were routinely demonized in the society and thus they became symbols of youthful rebellion. With the passage of time, the adoption of such a sub-cultural style became a way of youthful assertion by young people.

Since the larger section of the youth adopted such styles for merely making a statement and taking it up as a fashionable style, the sub-cultural styles found acceptance in the society. According to Thomas (2003), Hebdige's definition of sub-cultural styles is a show of dispute with the mainstream. He stated that it is of the sub-cultural styles rather than being a kind of response to the mainstream culture.

The sub-cultures often tend to take their styles to a forbidden level so that their effect is more pronounced. It has been a largely accepted fact that the youth brigade members who subscribe to such sub-culture are not those who also indulge in any kind of forbidden behavior. The resistance and forbidden styles are primarily a superficial thing and meant for showing off resentment.

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