Subculture in the 1970s and 1980, promoting messages

and Music


Music is  considered by many to represent their certain
cultures values and principles. In society youth subcultures
have created music to help portray and send certain messages. Rock and
pop youth cultures surfaced in the 1970s and 1980, promoting messages
challenging the norm, an example by McRobbie began to question the resistance theory
as there is  no noticeable subculture
that had emerged after punk toward the end of the 1970s.  Thus
connoting that after the Punk subculture at the end of the 70s the subculture
had become blurred as there were more than one showing a less defined prevalent
subculture. Political resistance was
heavily feautured in music  to shift oppressive
international regimes such as in the USSR (Street 1986), East Germany (Wicke
1992) and South Africa (Garofalo 1992). The ‘New Romantics’, who appeared as
potentially the next subculture, were instead labelled ‘post-punk’. Nonetheless,
many theorists both British and American also understood that music was also
enjoyed for pleasure aswell for the political ideologies that were featured.


Subcultures of existing throughout
time and they continue to adapt and evolve, Youth subculture in particular
often defined by their music and fashion in particular and also the beliefs and
language. accessories such as scooters and motorbikes how also used to define
certain subculture such as the mods and rockers in the 60s according to Dick
Hebidge, (Subcultures: the meaning of style, 1979).


Numerous studies have explored the relationship
between liking for particular genres and various personality variables (see
e.g. Rentfrow & Gosling, 2003; and review by Kemp, 1996). In one particular branch of this work, several
studies since the mid-1980s have investigated the effect of listening to
so-called ‘problem’ music styles, such as rap and heavy rock (see review
by Hansen & Hansen, 2000). Research has identified a
positive relationships of varying strengths between liking for these musical
styles and several indicators of deviance such as psychoticism (McCown,
Keiser, & Mulhearn, 1997; Robinson, Weaver, & Zillmann, 1996),
reactive rebelliousness (Robinson et al., 1996), tolerance
of racial and sexual discrimination (Gan, Zillman, & Mitrook,
1997), enjoyment of risk taking and reckless behaviours such as drug use,
shoplifting, and vandalism (Arnett, 1991; Rentfrow & Gosling,
2003), and violence and aggression (Rubin, West, &
Mitchell, 2001); and there is also evidence that this is reflected in the
general public’s stereotype of the fans of ‘problem’ musical styles (e.g. Fischoff, 1999).


mods, rockers, punks, hippies, hip hop/urban/rappers, emo, indie, hard-core,
glam rockers and goths are examples of music based subcultures. Stereotypically,
members of these subcultures relished themselves based on their individual musical
taste, dressing to associate with one another, but also keeping a sense of
individualism within this music subculture. As the Internet grew and expanded
throughout mainstream subculture in the 1990s, so did the establishment of
musical subcultures online, allowing members to communicate with one another.
Therefore, blogs used this space, with devices such as phones, laptops, tablets
etc. allowing for instant communication to allow for subculture to grow.


media effects model is arguably one of the most influential frameworks for
understanding mass media. It is based on the belief that media have a direct
impact on how people think, feel, and behave. In many ways, this model is
analogous to a situationist model in that both models focus on the effect that
various features of the environment have on individuals.”

 This connotes that the media portrayal of
certain music is seen as a negative as it is not sending the messages that
reciprocate hegemonic ideologies.


Anderson et al. (2003) examined the effects of listening to violent music on aggression.
Their results connoted that “participants exposed to tense sounding music with
violent, as compared to non-violent, lyrics reported having more hostile
feelings and aggressive thoughts.”

 Therefore, connoting that their findings implied
that it was the violent nature of the lyrics, not the sound of the music that
triggered aggressive thoughts and feelings. In a study regarding the effects of
listening to misogynistic music on aggressive behaviour, Fischer and
Greitemeyer (2006) “observed
that male participants exposed to misogynistic music behaved more aggressively
toward a female than a male partner. Ward et al. (2005) showed participants music videos with both genders both stereotypical
or non-stereotypical content and found that ‘exposure to stereotypical content
was associated with more traditional gender attitudes compared to exposure to
non-stereotypical content.’ Thus connoting that, exposure to music with themes
of violence, misogyny, and gender stereotypes can have harmful consequences.


America, in Dorchester private funding was secured for broadcasting from a
women’s centre where the station is called Radio Log and is about promoting
“positive attitudes” as they were getting fed up of the misogyny in lyrics of
artists such as Snoop Dogg and Ja Rule with “Bitch better have my money” from
Bitch Better have my money  and “Well if you give me
ten bitches then I’ll fuck all ten” from Doggy Dogg World. Those who run the
station are eight teenage girls between the ages of 13 and 18. This has
transferred in the UK where young females are feeling the same way and wanting
to set up a similar concept. Gemma Gibson, a 22 year old female from West
London, is attempting to secure funding for a similar station to Radio Log.
This connotes that although there a negative conceptions of youth culture
particularly hip hop culture in radio, radio Is being used as way of making a
positive outcome to the culture by with stations such as radio log trying to
promote the positive messages of rap artists and to promote the better side of hip
hop music to shed a better light.


 However, it is not all seen as bad and
negative as there is evidence to suggest that music has a positive effect too.
For example, Geitemeyer (2009),
series of studies showed that participants exposed
to music with prosocial themes displayed more “interpersonal empathy” and a
greater willingness to help someone in need compared to participants exposed to
neutral music. Connoting that there there is a huge


With subcultures
and music, I feel that the each subculture has expressed their own independent
views, however also expressing similar views to subcultures that proceeded them
with emphasis on other factors for example, Hip-Hop and Punk subcultures are referred
to as DIY cultures, whereby everything is constructed the individual, often
with merchandising and creating music etc., which is also common for many
individuals apart of the Hip-Hip culture in which follows the Grime hoody
culture now. “There has always been this rebellious connection
between hip-hop and punk music,” said iconic hip-hop pioneer Fab Five Freddy in
2010 in an interview with radio host Davey-D. “It’s true–nestled in the
downtrodden streets of a 1980s Manhattan, a new relationship between two of
music’s most unlikeliest candidates, began to develop.”

contemporary society to the alternative hip-hop movement of today, you’ll see
that the movement does have many of punk’s characteristics. I would argue that
there are two specific ones they have fully committed themselves to:
Do-it-yourself (DIY) and attitude. These two components have seeped their way
into present-day alternative hip-hop, providing a new generation with something
that is fresh and relatable.


What the connection between
alternative hip-hop and punk indicates, is that this current  generation wants something  fresh and new, something that they feel they can
relate to. They both emerged in the 70s and both punk rockers and those of the
hip  hop culture, both explore political
themes and images, by representing themselves differently to how society wants,
thus rebelling against the hegemonic ideologies of the norms and values.

What they can relate to are
feelings of alienation or frustration, and trying to remain positive despite of
it all, due to the struggles of everyday challenges, and the ambiguity of
financial steadiness and government help, people have become aloof. Thus resulting
in unorthodox norms in order to respark their ideas and encourage them to get
through the difficult, financial times.

It Is
said that the it is a modern progression, an evolution of the times and a
movement of the music and attitudes. Overtime the media including radio, and
news reports have had a largely negative portrayal of subcultures due to their
nature of rebellion and the media’s role in creating the moral panic to
sensationalise the news. In article by the BBC in 2007 titled “Is it wrong to blame hip hop?”
( , the article is largely negative
blaming hip hop music for the having sinister lyrics, and how former Prime
Minister David Cameron had criticised BBC Radio 1’s output for “encouraging
people to carry guns and knives” furthermore it goes on to discuss about rapper
David Gaynor and how after shooting a man in the head, he had written a song
about it. Furthermore the article continues to criticise rapper 50 Cent for
holding a gun and a baby in a poster, however the image is no where to be seen
and after research, I still couldn’t find it. Radio 1Xtra presenter Semtex has
stood his ground and stated that

 “Hip hop cannot be
blamed for gun crime in the UK. The vast majority of sales are generated from
people that live in middle class suburbs, whereas the vast majority of gun
crime affects inner city areas. Society is to blame more than Scarface the
movie or Scarface the rapper.”

continues to state how society is to blame rather than pointing the finger at
hip hop.

Punk music was seen
as very negative and rebellious of the government with artists like the pistols
who due to the portrayal of themselves had their second single “God Saves the
Queen” banned from the BBC in 1977. It was so negatively received that many
tabloids accused the Sex Pistols of treason, leading to them being called for
their public hanging. Furthermore, retailers such as Woolworth refused to sell
the single also. They continued to show their image by wanting to blast the
song from giant speakers on a boat from the Thames, however the police stopped
them when it reached dock. Moreover, the lead of the Sex Pistols was banned in
1978 from the BBC for speaking out against Jimmy Savile. Connoting that due to
the ‘punks’ speaking out against the norms he was seen as detrimental.

Not only are we becoming less committed to one
genre of music, our musical choices are increasingly losing their ability to
challenge the status quo too. This is due to the fact that in terms of new
technology we and higher consumer consumption there we are able to choose what
we listening to this meaning that the link between ideologies in music and
subcultures is weakening more so now in contemporary society, thus suggesting
that due now there isn’t a link between deviancy and music further reinforcing
the fact that media reports of music and subculture now isn’t an issue as it
once was during the time of the Punks for example in the 70s and 80s with
groups like the Sex Pistols promoting anti government ideologies and Hip-Hop
music being heavily violent and like Punks anti government favouring more
violence and unorthodox messages as opposed to the mainstream pop music chart.
It is argued that we’re no longer
polarised into different subcultures, and the vast range of music we listen to
no longer dictates the many styles of clothes we wear. 


Due to how we experience most of our music, i.e. through personal devices
like our iPhones or iPods; our  taste in
music is no longer mutual, it’s much more down to the individual and the
individuals style, which is why music subcultures are becoming increasingly
less defined. 


Furthermore, in our consumer-driven, social-media fixated society,
subcultures are not just losing their definition they are also losing their
ability to challenge the status quo and promote new rebellious ideologies
challenging the norm. Due to the fact that the internet has made it universal
and accessible to everyone, meaning we are able to connect to like-minded
people from all over the world, it also has the ability to numb us into
mindless consumption.

British photographer Derek Ridgers agrees by stating that  “There is less of a separation between
youth groups now then there was in the late 70s and early 80s,”.


”Because of Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter, everything can be in the
spotlight on the same day as it happens. If anything exciting ex happens,
people will tweet it, or they’ll put it on social networks and immediately
people know about it. And then, almost as immediately, people will be online
knocking it, and criticising it. So these things don’t have a real chance to
grow out of the spotlight like they used to.”


Thus connoting that due to the immediate nature of social media there is
less of a moral panic being created as it is knocked down and criticised quite
quickly and can be reported etc.; thus removing the notion of creating panic and
rebelling like the likes of past subcultures, therefore less  groups straying from the norms and showing


Today, there are still plenty of new genres of
music, but they don’t have such noticeable subcultures affiliated to them. Even
something as recent as 80s dance music and the 90s  rave, drug, party culture,  following its prominent drug time period,
split up into a host of sub-genres with no definable set of cultural
attributes. Despite society’s consistent attempts to regulate youth culture, maybe
the main reason for its decrease in recent times is due to the extension of
adolescent behaviour until death. Youth culture has now become just another
lifestyle choice which currently isn’t as relevant as it once was .


If the term ‘culture’ refers to
the dominant hegemonic, ideologies, customs, and social norms and values of a
particular society, then ‘subculture’ must refer to their subversion, turning
the stereotype on its head challenging the norms. However, due to the internet,
which has seen the main aspects of subcultures past ideas declining, becoming
more of a  cheap promotions and
commercialised reminiscence, and, more importantly, emancipated from their
original subversive meaning) scenes that develop in today’s subcultural shadows
are assimilated to mainstream culture. meaning that where it initially was
intended to

thing that united subcultures of
generations past was their being forged in opposition to mainstream culture.
They were rebellious and subversive. They stood up against mindless submission,
against their parents’ conservatism and government oppression.