- be able to reflect and express the attitude to different subcultures;
- evelop attitude to belonging to a group and expressing individualism.
- practise expressing and exchanging opinions;
- practise exchanging information;
- practise listening for gist.
- the host of the show
- the group representatives of subcultures (a hippie, a punk; a goth; a biker);
- the group of people who don’t know what subculture to join;
- a psychologist;
- a journalist.
Teacher: During this month we’ve been working on the topic ”Youth subcultures”.
1) We’ve spoken about young generation, their problems, leisure time activities and desires.
2) We’ve considered different subcultures especially punks, goths, bikers and hippies, their appearance, values, beliefs and attitude to the society.
During the lesson we’ll try to point out the advantages and disadvantages of subcultures and define what is better: to belong to a cultural grouping or not.
Then we’ll also think about features and peculiarities of the subculture which can suit wide audience.
As this topic is very interesting we’ve decided to present the results of our work not in the form of a typical lesson but in the form of an interactive talk-show.
Our pupils have different roles such as the host of the show, the journalist, the psychologist, the representatives of different subcultures and the teens who don’t know what subculture to join.
Well, let’s start.
Host: We’re glad to meet you on our inter-active show which concerns the problems of the youth subcultures. The idea of the programme belongs to the magazine “Straight ahead” represented here by the journalist Mary Brown. Let our guest give the main idea of the programme.
Journalist: Hello! Nice to meet you. You can see several photos here.
(Photos of young people)
Look at them and try to guess what topic we are going to discuss today.
(Participants give their ideas.)
Yes, we’ll speak about teens, their problems and desires. In the latest issue of our magazine there was a questionnaire of the teens’ leisure time activities. What a surprise it was to know that young people are looking for the activities because they have nothing to do. Look at our scheme. 11 youngsters activities’ were suggested to our readers such as going in for sport, dancing and singing, reading, scientific research, cinema and theater going, hiking, computing, gardening, crafts, making poems and sketches, keeping animals and painting.
1% of our teens enjoy hiking.
1% are interested in science.
2% are busy painting.
2% are fond of dancing and singing.
3% like to read books(mostly fantasy and detective stories).
4% are cinema and theater-goers.
13%go in for sport.
28% prefer spending their free time at the computer (playing or chatting on-line or surfing the Internet).
What a striking surprise it was to know that 46% of young people are looking for new activities, because they have nothing to do.
Biker: Guys, listen! I can’t believe that so many teens haven’t found themselves in this life. Do you think they are lying on the sofa dreaming about princesses, Rolls Royces and castles. Walk out! Look around! Days and nights they are in the streets, wandering and looking for adventures and new friends. For example, in our band we have14 schoolchildren less than 16. Everything is cool. They are glad to be a part of our subculture. They are treated as equal partners, not children unlike by the rest of the society.
Teen1: You sound nice and pleasant like a father to his children but objectively speaking your appearance is rather threatening and seems to proclaim aggressiveness.
Biker: Well, some people consider bikers aggressive but devil is not as black as its painted. I think you should know more than a leather jacket about us not to treat us as monsters.
Feeling of flight and wind for these people is the main thing in their life. The movement of bikers arose in America in 1945. Characteristic features of bikers are leather jackets, tattoos and black clothes.
Nowadays there are more than 1000 motoclubs in the USA and more than 300000 motorcycles in Canada. The most widespread make of motorcycle is Harley Davidson. In modern Russia the most famous motorclub is Night Wolves. And now some words about riding. Professional sports training plays a big role in its life. The most important thing for the beginners is to learn to sit in the saddle.
The festivals of bikers are called Bike Shows.They are very bright and gather big audience. Professional bikers like loneliness and freedom. To some it up I’d say that we are not opposed to the society, its norms and standards. The founder of our subculture together with his friends kept order at the concert of underground musicians “Hell’s Angels” and other punks groups which are distinguished with their violent social behaviour.
Punk: Sorry to interrupt you but we express our opposition to the values, norms and materialism in the society in loud music, antiromantic love songs, strange clothing and hair of unusual colour. Punk Rock was born at the end of the 60th. After British invasion in America teenagers also wanted to play rock& roll, but the instruments were poor and out of tune. Teens hadn’t delicate ear for music either. At first it was a garage music with expressive minimalism, simple structure of music.
Punks are against rules and norms of the society. They are nihilists and non-conformists.
Nobody knows if Sex Pistols or Ramones were the first punks. But I think they were Ramones, because punk movement couldn’t be born in America. Punks have no rules, but first punks, in general, wore pants with Scottish check, big chains, leather jackets, big army shoes, T-shirts with pictures of favourite groups, they dyed their hair red , they had pins in their ears. They have famous Sid-Vicious belt-leather bracelets with metallic pyramids. It is a very popular thing nowadays. Modern punk movement consists of many subcultures like grunge, hardcore, emo, skinheads, etc.
Teen 2: I heard that your subculture is rather popular only among youngsters, mature people never get in touch with you.
Punk: As you remember our subculture appeared at the end of 60th. Can you imagine how old the first punks are now. 50 years old respectable, self-made gentlemen and ladies. Some who were punks became the main editors of famous newspapers. Of course they are not so strange in clothing and unusual hair colour, but they are still developing their own style distinguished from others. They have their own values and beliefs.
Host: Inspite of your words your subculture was designed to shock and you are still shocking the society and can’t help showing the rebellion against the existing regime.
Teen 3: Most of the subcultures are aggressive and rejecting. But it is not typical of the average youngster. Our generation aren’t looking for extremes and straight-edging. Most of us are ready to conform to the society standards, to avoid generation gap and collaborate with each other. Are there any subcultures which are not so rebellious and try to keep balance with the society?
Hippie: Yes. Its about us. Our subculture includes love, peace, freedom. We believe in peace as the way to resolve contentions among people, their ideologies and religions. The way to peace comes from love and tolerance. Hippies like nature, so they belong to environmental groups. They focus everyone’s concern on the environment to highlight our responsibilities to our planet and the future generations. Being a hippie is not a matter of dress, behavior, economic status. It’s a philosophical approach to life that emphasizes freedom, peace, love and respect to other people and the Earth.
Teen 4: Don’t you think that nowadays the hippie community is becoming a place for really hopeless characters and those without any ideas and principles?
Hippie: Certainly not. Moreover today hippies are socially active, they set up environmental groups and charity projects. Besides the subculture where love is the most powerful thing that brings people together can’t turn into a hopeless place.
Host: Thank you for your bright and emotionally coloured speech. I think you’ve persuaded many representatives of the young generation. But we have one more guest who is keeping silence. Let me introduce the person who certainly stands out of the crowd with startling white make up, black hair, lipstick and finger nails. Is everything around you so black as you are?
Goth: Yes. The world is not so black but its really dark and we like it that way. The Goth subculture is a contemporary subculture prevalent in many countries. It began in the United Kingdom during the late 1970s to early 1980s in the gothic rock scene. The Goth subculture has survived much longer than any others of the same era. Its imagery and cultural proclivities indicate influence from 19th century Gothic literature, mainly through horror movies. Gothic music encompasses a number of different styles. Common to all is a tendency towards a “dark” sound and outlook. Styles of dress within the subculture range from death rock, punk rock, androgynous, some Renaissance and Victorian style clothes or combination of the above, most often with black attire, make up and hair. Bauhaus are widely recognized as the first Goth band. The bands that began the gothic rock and death rock scene were limited in number and included Bauhaus, Southern Death Cult, Sex Gang Children, 45 Grave.
Today the Goth music scene thrives most actively in western Europe, especially Germany, with large festivals such as Wave-Gothic-Treffen.
The influence of the Gothic novel on the Goth subculture can be seen in numerous examples of the subcultural poetry and music, though this influence sometimes came second hand, through the popular imagery of horror films and television.
Teen 5: My question is addressed to the Goth representative because he looks extremely thin and too pale. Are there many drug sellers and drug takers among your group?
Goth: Our appearance isn’t the result of drug taking. It’s because of the wish to look like a vampire and that’s all. But I know that there are a lot of drug addicts among the hippies.
Hippie: Our ideals include love, peace, freedom of self expression and non-conformity to social rules. In this world of corruption and moral crisis hippies show to young people an alternative to all that. In the 60-70th hippies used to take drugs as something new and distinct. But lately the hippie community has stopped proclaiming the drug taking. Of course there are some drug addicts among us but there are a lot of them among other subcultures, too.
Journalist: I want to add some statistic data. The recent surveys really show that drug cases are increasing. There was a survey among the patients of the drug clinic. They were asked only 2 questions. Do you belong to any subculture? And if yes, what subculture you belong to. We’ve got the following results.
(Charts 2, 3)
So it’s obviously that belonging to a group or a subculture doesn’t mean drug taking.
Psychologist: Let me comment on this situation. It’s rather regular and easily explicable from the psychological point of view. Group members can rebel against the society but never reject the rules of their subculture. As any subculture is a structural organization with the leader any member must obey rules and obligations and can’t escape subordination. Teens doesn’t think about their future life, they want to live now but home, school and neighbourhoods don’t let them do it. Being in a group is like living a real life for them. Teens want to show off but at the same time they think about changing the world to the best.
For those who don’t belong to a group real life and adulthood are associated with alcohol and drugs. Moreover we can’t but mention the parents’ powerful influence on young people. Actually they don’t pay much attention to what their children do whereas the groups’ leaders always know everything about their youngsters: their school life, their problems, their love stories including. So, subcultures are not so black as they thought to be.
Audience 1: As far as I understand you mean that it is good to be the part of the subculture because you are perfectly cared about. But do you really believe that shocking hair style, a bunch of jewelry, imitation of the Jamaican rude boy style and rushing around night city on the bike is a good thing?
Psychologist: Of course, I didn’t mean that. Nobody wants to point to a single answer if a subculture is a curse or a blessing. We can easily find both advantages and disadvantages of being a part of a group.
Host: Let’s ask our representatives of different subcultures to think about positive features and our audience about negative features of belonging to a group. Present your results in some minutes.
Advantages of belonging to a group
- You find a lot of like-minded friends.
- You share the experience, the interests and the ideas.
- You know how to spend your leisure time.
- You don’t have the problem of generation gap inside your group. You are treated like an adult.
- You have your own style.
- You feel comfortable and protected.
Disadvantages of belonging to a group
- You can be intolerant to other subcultures and individuals.
- Not all your interests can coincide with the group ones.
- It is easy to join the group but is it easy to leave it?
- No annoying parents you may dispute with but there is a strong leader you must obey.
- No individual style. You differ from the society but look like everybody in your group.
- You spend too much time in your subculture and don’t notice the world culture.
Host: Look what we have. Each pro easily finds its con. No matter how many pluses we have we’ll easily find the minus.
Journalist: Well, the situation with the subcultures in Russia is more or less clear for us. Some people want to belong to a cultural grouping, some of them don’t. And this is the right and the choice of an individual to be a member of the group or not. So many people, so many opinions. But I’d like to know what’s up in other countries.
Teen1: As I know they are of the same opposition to the social rules as in Russia.
Teen 2: Couldn’t agree more. The only thing I’d like to add is British government and British society have to bear the existence of such groupings till they break the law.
Teen 3: As we remember a lot of famous and respectable people came from this or that subculture. That’s why they prefer not to pay much attention to their exotic appearance and behavior.
Teen 4: Subcultures are suggestive of a particular period of life. Very few people stay hippies or punks or bikers for all their life. Sooner or later they give it up. Teenagers grow and start struggling against other teens who take their places in their former cultural groupings.
Psychologist: To comment on the situation I’d say that the only distinguished feature between British and Russian group members is their different social status. As we’ve heard in Britain cultural groups are attractive for the poor, but in Russia the situation is just the opposite. Wealthy youngsters try to escape the average social life and are looking for extremes. As a rule this wish paves their way to this or that subculture.
But still in Britain and in Russia we have the example of rebellion and protest.
Teen 5: Having obtained so much information about different subcultures I’m absolutely sure that none of them suits me.
Teen 1: Not only you but any up-to-date teenager. The mentioned negatives are too strong and don’t let the personality to leave free and develop yourself.
Host: I think our audience is too categorical. Psychologists say, if you reject, please, suggest. You have a lucky opportunity to make and present your own subculture. While working you should pay much attention to such points as:
- values and beliefs;
- relations with the society.
Host: At the same time I want to suggest that our guests think about striking slogans and attractions to involve teenagers to their groups.
Our guests are to entertain us with their slogans.
Want to be happy, be hippie!
Don’t want people to bite you, stay with bikers!
If you are a goth-being life is worth living.
East or west punks are the best.
Host: Now let’s listen to the presentation of the subculture our audience has created.
appearance: natural, creative make-up, bright coloures in clothing, futuristic style
music: classic music with expressive beats
opinions and beliefs: atheists, believe in eternal love and reincarnation, for healthy way of life, are fond of future techniques and high technology
relationship with the society: mobile and flexible, cosmopolitans, tolerant to the culture of the past, reserved with strangers
Host: After this complicated discussion we see that everybody makes his own choice and follows his own way. It depends on the individual what answer find to the question: belong to a group or stay on your own. But let us not forget that we need information and knowledge to make the right choice.
Teacher: Dear friends! That's where we must draw the line. We've come to the end of our investigation. I appreciate your work. You were very creative and convincing. Whether you agree or not, we all have to learn to live together. we may not always approve of the other people's behavior, but we do have to live with it. It is impossible to force other people to behave exactly how we think they should behave. But in the same way you expect them to allow you to live your life. You don't have to pretend that you like how some other people live but letting them be themselves is often the only choice. I think that this little experience will help you in your future life.