Subculture as a Neo-Liberal Conduct of Life in Leisure and Consumption

Hai Ren

[1] The development of an implicitly neo-liberalist framework of thought in subculture studies has been generally ignored by the scholarship on popular culture. The Subcultures Reader (1997), for example, offers an important and comprehensive survey of the most influential works in subculture studies since the early twentieth century. [1] Neither the editors of the book nor the included works, however, examine the development of neo-liberalism in subculture studies. Sarah Thornton's general introduction to the book summarizes four major aspects of subculture developed in subculture studies. Although all of these four aspects are governmental concerns, whether juridical, civil, social, or communal, [2] none of them is analyzed in terms of the development of neo-liberalism.

[2] Another important volume, The Post-subcultures Reader (2003), [3] aims at furthering the scholarship in subculture studies, not only by questioning the concept of "subculture" (as shown by the book's use of the notion of "post-subculture") but also by (re)directing the field of study to focus on "the political, cultural and economic realities of the twenty-first century." [4] Through analyzing a range of topics, including bondage punks and anarcho-punks, DIY-protest cultures, techno tribes, modern primitives, Latino gangs, new-wave metallers, and net.goths, as well as bikers, snowboarders, and windsurfers, the authors of the book collectively demonstrate that individuals involved in these practices maintain a very strong sense of agency in their lives. An important question remains: Since subcultural (or "post-subcultural") practices cultivate a strong sense of agency, how do we evaluate the role of such agency under contemporary conditions of globalization and transnational capitalism? A closely related question is: Does this kind of agency apply to those who are not involved in subcultural practices?

[3] In this essay, I argue that the accumulation of knowledge on subcultures in the past century not only reflects but also is inherently part of the development of neo-liberalism. Instead of following the common way of understanding popular culture by examining specific expressions of subculture in terms of either context or text, [5] I take a genealogical approach to investigate how subculture studies has contributed to the development of a style of thinking that addresses the neo-liberal agency of an individual under certain historical conditions of capitalism. Not only does a subculture express meanings of style (through clothing, decoration, color, and music), but it also communicates a personalized way of conducting one's life, one that especially emphasizes being active (being eccentric, decoding and recoding), calculative (managing risks and costs), subjective (accepting discourses, media representations, and capital accumulation), and intelligent (believing and deciding what counts as reasonable). The latter dimension of a subculture underscores an ideal mode of conduct under two important aspects of the neo-liberal historical condition. One is that the formal government (which represents a nation-state) shares authority and political power with many other institutions (corporations, non-profit organizations, non-governmental organizations, etc.) in governing the social order. Another aspect refers to the fact that popular culture and mass media are increasingly playing important roles in shaping values and conducts in everyday life.

[4] To trace a genealogy of neo-liberal epistemology in subculture studies, I focus on three of the most influential developments in the field: the criminological studies of the Chicago Schools of Sociology and Economics (the 1920s to the 1960s), the neo-Marxist studies of the Birmingham School of Cultural Studies (the 1960s to the 1980s), and postmodern subculture studies (since the 1990s). These schools appear to deal with different types of objects in their studies: delinquent and deviant individuals and groups (the Chicago School); disenfranchised and underprivileged individuals and groups (the Birmingham School); and heterogeneous, creative, and organic individuals (the postmodern school). However, these different types of objects in fact belong to the same kind: not only do they focus on the same kind of subject (youth), but they also make intelligible the same kind of human agency, by emphasizing the neo-liberal way of conducting one's everyday life through self-discipline, self-rationalization, self-responsibility, and self-development. My discussion of these schools will show that the development of the subcultural subject as a neo-liberal figure not only gradually elevates subcultural practices into the realm of the cultural (or the gradual disappearance of "sub" in "subculture") but also tends to treat subcultural individuals as "heroes" in a society in which mass culture (or mass-mediated culture) plays a very important role in shaping values and conducts in daily life.

The Chicago School: From the Delinquent to the Normative

[5] Subculture as an area of studies historically grew out of the development of knowledge for framing the everyday lives of individuals, part of what Michel Foucault calls "a bio-politics of the population," which focuses on a series of interventions into and regulatory controls of various aspects of human life such as birth, health, longevity, sex, and mortality. [6] Bio-politics requires the use of not only mechanisms of monitoring but also technologies of visualizing everyday behavior, identity, activity, even apparently unimportant gestures. The efficiency of policing society was greatly enhanced by new techniques and technologies of visualization - such as tables, charts, graphs, photographs, and cinema. [7] Since the late eighteenth century, as Foucault shows, the objective classification of crimes and criminals has gradually differentiated between criminal subjects as enemies who are disqualified as citizens, and "abnormal" subjects such as villains, monsters, and madmen. [8] Philanthropists, social workers, journalists, novelists, and scientists mapped a series of abnormal, delinquent, deviant, and criminal figures such as vagabonds, idlers, prostitutes, homosexuals, and thieves. In the 1840s and 1850s, for example, Henry Mayhew interviewed the "street folk" and criminal groups of London for the Morning Chronicle. [9] In the late nineteenth century, Emile Zola's research on department stores in Paris allowed him to write about female shop-lifting. [10] The figure of the delinquent was considered incapable of the capacity to bear liberty as sustained rights and responsibilities.

[6] The creation of scientific studies of "society" at the end of the nineteenth century and the beginning of the twentieth , presented opportunities for scholars to begin to address delinquency as a sociological rather than merely a juridical issue. Participant observation, for example, was used as a research methodology in the 1920s when a group of sociologists and criminologists in Chicago began collecting information about juvenile street gangs and deviant groups (professional criminals, bootleggers, etc.). From the 1920s to the early 1960s, scholars who taught or were trained at the Department of Sociology and Anthropology of the University of Chicago (established in 1892) gradually established subculture as an area for studying social behaviors, especially of the youth. Influential scholars of the Chicago School in the early period included Robert R. Park, Paul E. Cressey, Albert Cohen, Howard Becker, and William Foote Whyte. Park's 1915 essay on "The City" laid an important theoretical ground for subculture scholars to investigate "human behavior in the urban environment." [11] In 1927, Frederick Thrasher surveyed over 1,000 street gangs, [12] and in the late 1930s, William Foote Whyte described the rituals, routines, and occasional exploits of one particular gang. [13]

[7] In the post-World War II era, scholars of the Chicago School began to shape the sociological understanding of delinquency as an issue of subculture. In the 1950s, Albert Cohen and Walter Miller studied the continuities and breaks between dominant and subordinate value systems. Cohen's study of juvenile gangs, for example, proposed the notion of a "delinquent subculture," involving a process whereby "the core values of the straight world - sobriety, ambition, conformity, etc - were replaced by their opposites: hedonism, defiance of authority and the quest for 'kicks'." [14] Cohen treated subculture as delinquent because he did not recognize the intellectual capacity of a subcultural subject, for example, their calculation of risk in the process of stealing. [15] Despite this fact, Cohen also did not believe that all problematic values should be attributed only to the delinquent subculture. "Short-run hedonism," for example, was neither "inherently delinquent" nor a "characteristic of delinquent groups alone." [16]

[8] The scientific "discovery" of the broader implications of the values of delinquent subcultures by the 1960s, furthered the understanding of subcultures as normative. In 1961, for example, David Matza and Gresham M. Sykes used the notion of "subterranean values" to critique the common reception of youth subculture as delinquent. They found that the subterranean values embedded in these subcultures served to underpin rather than undermine the puritan values of production (for example, postponement of gratification, routine, etc.). [17] More specifically, "the emphasis on daring and adventure, the rejection of the prosaic discipline of work, the taste for luxury and conspicuous consumption, and the respect paid to manhood demonstrated through force" were similar to the masculine leisure values of the middle-class as theorized by Thorstein Veblen. [18] Their recognition of the values embedded in subcultures reflected an effort to understand the development of the middle- and upper- classes in the era after World War II. One aspect of this development, for example, involved an important historical change beginning in the 1960s: The consumption/leisure values of capitalism began to move out of the shadow of the work ethic of capitalism (Weber's "puritan ethic") to take a productive turn. Thus, the attention to subculture's normative values in the 1960s tended to reveal and affirm the leisure-oriented ethic of capitalism, as I discuss further in the conclusion.

[9] Through normalizing the leisure-oriented values of subcultures, the sociologists of the Chicago School opened up the narrow focus on subcultures as criminal or delinquent. At the same time, the economists of the Chicago School also contributed to the understanding of subcultures, especially through theorizing deviant behavior as rational. Their emphasis on the role of the market in guiding social behavior represents a significant change from the classic or laissez-faire political economy theories of Adam Smith, David Hume and Adam Ferguson. Classic political economy (or classic economic liberalism), a dominant political rationality in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, regarded the autonomous role of the market as an "invisible hand" in regulating society. [19] For classic liberals, the notion of homo economicus could never apply to homo criminalis, simply because criminals were disqualified as citizens. The economists of the Chicago School modify this classic liberalist thinking by arguing that homo economicus applies not only to citizens but also to criminals. For them, a criminal or delinquent person behaves equally like a normal person: Either can be considered as a "rational-economic individual who invests, expects a certain profit and risks making a loss," [20] as shown in the work of the Nobel Prize wining economist, Gary S. Becker. [21]

[10] Both the sociologists and the economists of the Chicago School began by regarding subcultures as criminal, delinquent, and deviant, but then gradually shifted to conceptualizing them as normative and rational. The emergence of the subcultural subject as normative and rational is supported by the idea of "human capital," which includes two components: "an innate component of bodily and genetic equipment, and an acquired component of aptitudes produced as a result of nurture, education, etc." [22] It is the latter component (the learned rather than the biological or genetic aspects of human capital) that provides a critical link between human capital and conducting one's life in a rational way. According to the Chicago School, the acquisition of human capital through a learning process enables the production of value, not only the accumulation of capital (by the production and circulation of commodities) but also the production of satisfaction. [23] Moreover, the production of human capital focuses on the agency of the individual rather than that of a group. Once perceived as human capital, a subculture's value is no longer "subterranean" and group-based, as perceived earlier by such scholars as Matza and Sykes. Rather, a subculture's value becomes normative, being measured by rational accumulation of capital, not only in/through production (Weber's Puritan spirit of capitalism) but also in/through consumption (Campbell's hedonist spirit of capitalism). At the same time, it also becomes individual-oriented, depending on the development of personal agency to conduct one's life. Therefore, by the 1960s, the Chicago School redirected understandings of the subcultural subject from the disciplining of the delinquent body to the cultivation of an accountable and measurable conduct of life.

The Birmingham School: The Subcultural and the Hegemonic

[11] Since the establishment of the Center for Contemporary Cultural Studies at Birmingham University in Britain in 1964, cultural studies has been gradually institutionalized as a legitimate field of knowledge, especially for understanding cultural formations within Western capitalist countries. [24] The scholars associated with the Center for Contemporary Cultural Studies at Birmingham systematically investigated subcultures as representing both a new problem of social justice and a new theoretical issue for addressing cultural formations in a capitalist society like Britain in the period after World War II. Under the influences of British Marxist critics (Raymond Williams, E. P. Thompson, and Richard Hoggart) and continental theorists such as Louis Althusser, Antonio Gramsci, and the early work of Roland Barthes,[25] they produced a series of important publications, including Stuart Hall and Tony Jefferson's edited volume, Resistance Through Rituals: Youth Subcultures in Post-War Britain, [26] Geoff Mungham and Geoff Pearson's edited anthology, Working-Class Youth Culture, [27] Paul Willis' Profane Culture, [28] and Dick Hebdige's Subculture: The Meaning of Style. [29] These books represent the Birmingham School's distinguished contribution to cultural studies by establishing subculture as a major area of inquiry.

[12] For the scholars of the Birmingham School, subculture provides a lens for understanding certain contradictions of sociocultural change in a capitalist society. In post-war Britain, for example, subcultures became tied to working class youth culture. In 1972, Phil Cohen, on the basis of his research on London's East End, defined a (youth) "subculture" as a "compromise solution between two contradictory needs: the need to create and express autonomy and difference from parents, and by extension, their culture; and the need to maintain the security of existing ego defenses, and the parental identifications which support them." [30] In Cohen's analysis, subcultural styles, such as the mod, teddy boy, and skinhead styles, were interpreted as attempts to mediate between experience and tradition, the familiar and the novel. Cohen understood subcultures as a kind of symptom of a working class in decline - that is, his belief that when working-class communities were undergoing change and displacement in the 1950s and 1960s, or when the 'parent culture' was no longer cohesive, working-class youth responded by becoming subcultural, and this set the agenda for the Birmingham School as reflected in the four books mentioned earlier.

[13] The introductory essay (by John Clarke, Stuart Hall, Tony Jefferson, and Brian Roberts) to the book Resistance Through Rituals (1975), for example, explicitly argued that subculture is a theoretical tool for addressing the dialectical relationship between dominant cultural practices (that is, transmission and reproduction of culture) and resistance to these practices. [31] The authors regarded class as a central issue for understanding social changes in post-war Britain, but they did not treat it as being fixed or unchanging. In fact, they examined how both the working class and the bourgeois class became less coherent and more fragmented. They argued that youth culture had emerged not only as a new social phenomenon in the post-war period but also as a new theoretical site for understanding class formation. [32] For them, the working class subculture was significantly different from the middle class counter-culture, despite the fact that both were emerging class-based youth cultures. The working class subculture maintained its status as "subordinate" in comparison with the "dominant" status of the middle class counter-culture. This was a question of power.

[14] The idea that working class culture was incommensurable with middle-class culture is also reflected in their evaluation of the work of the Chicago School. They recognized the fact that the Chicago School had produced "the most complex body of theory" in the late 1950s and early 1960s, especially shown by the work of Albert Cohen, Cloward and Ohlin, and Downes. And they pointed out that "[t]hese writers did indeed try to place delinquent sub-cultures within a larger class framework." But,

[u]nfortunately, in brief terms, American work envisaged the individual youth's class position as one rung on a single status ladder, leading inexorably to middle-class values and goals. The sub-culture problem was then presented as a problem of the disjunction between the (assumed) middle-class goal of success and the restricted (working class) means for achieving them. A youth group or sub-culture was defined as the result of status-failure, or anxiety because of rejection by middle-class institutions; or as the inability to achieve dominant goals because of blocked opportunities for success. In short there was an underlying consensual view of society based on a belief in the American Dream (of success). [33]

This statement indicates that the Birmingham School viewed subculture from the perspective of the working class while the Chicago School studied subculture from the perspective of the middle-class, despite the fact that both schools addressed the question of youth culture, especially within the context of the post-World War II era.

[15] Dick Hebdige published Subculture: The Meaning of Style, one of the most influential books in subculture studies, in 1979. In the book, Hebdige defined "subculture" as "the expressive forms and rituals of those subordinate groups - the teddy boys and mods and rockers, the skinheads and punks - who are alternatively dismissed, denounced and canonized; treated at different times as threats to public order and as harmless buffoons." [34] Such a definition of subculture furthered the understanding of ritualistic transgression in resistance, an idea advocated by the book Resistance Through Rituals. While this focus on the expressive forms and rituals of resistance in subculture did not abandon class as an important issue, it did give Hebdige more room to attempt to move beyond the simple binary relationship between domination and subordination. [35]

[16] Hebdige made an important contribution to subculture studies by developing a dialectical way of understanding subculture. On the one hand, subculture may be incorporated within the development of dominant or mainstream culture. On the other hand, subculture may always resist mainstream culture through expressive forms linked to the production of alternative meanings. He explained the dialectic of subculture through two concepts: "negotiation" and "making-do."

[17] His conceptualization of negotiation was influenced both by Antonio Gramsci's concept of "hegemony" and by Stuart Hall's elaboration of Gramsci. Gramsci originally developed the idea of "hegemony" to address the influence of Fordism on constructing a new way of life. When the "average type of Ford worker" becomes the model for the "average type of worker" in general, every aspect of life must change. A qualitative change in the way in which power operates, for example, is "tempering compulsion (self-discipline) with persuasion," as in the form of high wages that offer "the possibility of realizing a standard living which is adequate to the new methods of production and work which demand a particular degree of expenditure of muscular and nervous energy." [36] Under the condition of Fordism, thus, work life and leisure life become dependent upon each other. High wage and high standard of living are inseparable. As a result, class-based antagonism is contained by the hegemony of Fordism. From the 1950s to 1970s, Fordism became widely accepted, both in more countries than before (not merely the United States but also Britain and France, for example) and on a much wider scale of society. [37] In Britain, for example, the Fordist mode of accumulation blurred the boundaries between the employer's pursuits of productivity, efficiency, and competitiveness and the employee's concerns about welfare, security, and the capacity for consumption. [38] Even in subculture practices, work and leisure were tied together. The mods, for example, created a style that allowed them to negotiate between school, work, and leisure. During leisure periods such as holidays, week-ends, and evenings, as Hebdige pointed out, "there was real 'work' to be done: scooters to be polished, records to be bought, trousers to be pressed, tapered or fetched from the cleaners, hair to be washed and blow-dried." [39]

[18] Both Stuart Hall and Hebdige used Gramsci's notion of hegemony for understanding domination and resistance in a dialectical manner, with an emphasis on processes of negotiation. They regarded hegemony as:

a situation in which a provisional alliance of certain social groups can exert 'total social' authority' over other subordinate groups, not simply by coercion or by the direct imposition of ruling ideas, but by 'winning and shaping consent so that the power of the dominant classes appears both legitimate and natural.' Hegemony can only be maintained so long as the dominant classes 'succeed in framing all competing definitions within their range,' so that subordinate groups are, if not controlled; then at least contained within an ideological space which does not seem at all 'ideological'; which appears instead to be permanent and 'natural', to lie outside history, to be beyond particular interests. [40]

Hebdige applied this aspect of hegemony to subculture by arguing that the incorporation of subculture into the mainstream culture took two forms: the commodity and the ideological forms. The commodity form of incorporation involves "the conversion of subcultural signs (dress, music, etc.) into mass-produced objects (i.e., the commodity form)," [41] while the ideological form involves "the 'labeling' and re-definition of deviant behavior by dominant groups - the police, the media, the judiciary (i.e., the ideological form)." [42]

[19] At the same time, hegemony, because it requires the consent of the majority, can never be permanently exercised by the same alliance of class factions. "Hegemony... is not universal and 'given' to the continuing rule of a particular class. It has to be won, reproduced, sustained. Hegemony is, as Gramsci said, a 'moving equilibrium' containing relations of forces favorable or unfavorable to this or that tendency." [43] This aspect of hegemony entails negotiation as an ongoing aspect of the operations of power. Negotiation gives a subcultural subject an opportunity to resist the domination of power. For Stuart Hall, whose primary concern was the problem of communication, negotiation was expressed through "decoding" - the audience "situates itself within the hegemonic field of ideologies" to make "exceptions." [44]

[20] Within the explicit context of subculture, for Hebdige, negotiation is illustrated by "making-do," a mode of appropriation in the practice of everyday life. This understanding of appropriation in everyday life followed Levi-Strauss's notion of "bricolage," which refers to a mode of adapting "whatever is at hand," where things are put to use in ways for which they were not intended, ways that dislocate them from their normal context. [45] Hebdige's elaboration of the idea of "bricolage" within the context of subculture focused on "making-do" as a signifying practice in everyday life. His attention to the more open-ended realm of the everyday clearly marked him as a distinctive scholar in the Birmingham School in that he moved beyond the classic Marxist concern for the collective agency of the working class, to address situations where class became fragmented and where class-based exploitation became less clearly marked under Fordism. By implication, for example, making-do focused on the agency of the individual (rather than a working class group) in the practice of everyday life. Hebdige's emphasis on "making-do" in everyday life was also echoed in the work of Michel de Certeau in France, for whom making-do was expressed as "consumption" in the practice of everyday life, "ways of using the products imposed by a dominant economic order." [46] Like other Birmingham School scholars (especially Stuart Hall) and many influential French scholars (for example, Barthes, de Certeau) in the same period, Hebdige relied for his concept of making-do on a linguistic mode of communication, especially the appropriation of language codes in making meanings. Therefore, the politics of cultural production became the politics of access to codes of communication (including not only languages but also media).

[21] From the perspective of governmentality studies, negotiation in various forms (such as "decoding," "making-do," and "consumption") is inherently part of the way in which hegemony operates as a mode of governance --not a coercive but a cooperative mode of governance. If Gramsci first developed the concept to address how modes of power changed under the condition of Fordism, the scholars of the Birmingham School further identified hegemony as a mode of governance by elaborating how governance in a hegemonic mode could become less coercive and less coherent. The realization of the less coercive dimension of hegemony, as shown by Hall and Hebdige, does not occur naturally; rather, it must be accomplished in the active process of negotiation in various forms.

[22] The scholars of the Birmingham School made distinctive and distinguished contributions to the development of subculture as a field within cultural studies. Especially, they focused on subculture as style, its ability to transform cultural objects or to borrow from other places and other times; its engagement in ritualistic or symbolic modes of resistance, and the ambivalent structural relations a subculture bears to the working class parent culture and the less class-bound realm of mass culture. In addition to issues of class, these scholars also examined the impact of gender, ethnicity, and migration. From the perspective of governmentality studies, the most significant achievement of the Birmingham School's examination of working class youth subculture is their analysis of the active practices of ordinary individuals (especially the disenfranchised, the subordinate, the marginalized, and the underprivileged)--expressed in such forms as "decoding" and "making-do," that do not exist outside but rather within the political domain of the hegemonic mode of power. In fact, the agency of an ordinary person is constitutional to the hegemonic mode of power.

The Postmodernist School: Heterogeneous, Creative, and Organic Subculture

[23] Since the 1990s, subculture studies has entered into a postmodern era. New generations of scholars have criticized the Brimingham School's over-privileging of spectacular styles, its one-dimensional view of "resistance" and "incorporation," and its "refusal" to engage more concretely with subcultures as distinctive arrangements of everyday life. [47] These criticisms do not mean that the works of the Birmingham School are now dated. Hebdige's book, Subculture, for example, had been reprinted more than ten times as of 2002. The criticisms, however, do reflect the fact that recent scholarship on subcultures has moved on to address new sociocultural changes under the contemporary conditions of global capitalism. In what follows, I choose David Muggleton's work as an example of the postmodernist school of subculture studies because it not only builds explicitly on a critique of the Birmingham School, but also advocates a postmodernist understanding of subculture.

[24] In his Inside Subculture: The Postmodern Meaning of Style, [48] which examines subcultures in Britain in the 1990s, David Muggleton proposes that subcultural practitioners are "postmodern in that they demonstrate a fragmented, heterogeneous, and individualistic stylistic identification." [49] He differentiates between the "postmodern" age as epochal (his concept of "postmodernity") - a historical shift from or transformation of the modern period - and "postmodernism" as the culture of the "postmodern" age or what he calls "the culture of postmodernity." [50] "Following his differentiation, I argue that his study exemplifies a postmodernist model for understanding the subcultural subject as a liberal, entrepreneurial, and creative individual.

[25] Muggleton offers a sociological account of subculture, which includes three aspects: a rejection of the "elite" perspective of the Birmingham School; an emphasis on a Weberian approach to the understanding of subculture; and the development of a postmodernist, consumption-oriented perspective on subculture. First, he argues that scholars of the Birmingham School (for example, Dick Hebdige and Paul Willis) tend to be elitist in their perspectives because they do not care to learn what subcultural practitioners think or do. This criticism reflects a commonly accepted view that the works of the Birmingham School were primarily based on a literary (or cultured) cultural studies rather than an ethnographic popular cultural studies. [51] The Birmingham scholars' accounts of subculture, as Muggleton argues, had less to do with the experiences of subcultural practitioners than with the researchers' own "ideological" views, particularly their concern for youth subculture within a "theoretical framework of class oppression, conflict, and exploitation" in Britain.. [52]

[26] His critique of the Birmingham School's "ideological" relationship to subculture could be extended to a Marxist tradition that believes in the working class as the only class that may eliminate social and economic inequalities under capitalism. In the historical context of popular culture, however, this Marxist belief is problematic. In conceptualizing popular culture around the mid nineteenth century, Karl Marx himself designated the "lumpenproletariat," people in the "lower orders" of society, as non-revolutionary, because they were not aligned to the working class. [53] Moreover, in contrast to Gramsci in the early twentieth century, Marx also rejected the role that popular culture forms might play in the democratization of daily life. In 1845, for example, he criticized the serial novel, The Mysteries of Paris [written by Eugène Sue (1804-1857)], as an expression of "false consciousness" - the same novel that later inspired Gramsci's reformulation of Marx through linking the popular to governance in terms of Fordism. [54] The Birmingham scholars furthered Gramsci's work in their elaboration of his concept of hegemony to account for the agency of the subcultural subject. However, they still reflected Marx's view of popular culture as the basis for understanding subcultures because they maintained the working-class perspective, even as they acknowledged historical changes in class formation. Therefore, from the perspective of Marxism, Muggleton's critique of the Birmingham School draws our attention to the question of the changing relationship between the working class and capitalism under new historical conditions.

[27] Muggleton's rejection of the outsider perspective of the Birmingham School is based less on examining changes in class formation and more on addressing the methodology of subculture studies. Muggleton argues that subculture studies must reveal an insider's view through such important methods as ethnographic interviews. Muggleton's own experience as a punk enabled him to claim an insider's perspective. More importantly, he interviewed a total of fifty-seven people (including fourteen females), ranging in age from sixteen to thirty-four, involving thirty-eight separate situations in pubs and clubs in Brighton, East Sussex, and Preston, Lancashire, from 1993 to 1995. [55] These interviews, he argues, show the "subjective meanings, values, and motivations" of subculture practitioners. [56]

[28] The fact that an insider's perspective is developed on the basis of interviewing individuals involved in subcultural practices necessarily raises the question of who may be selected to represent the (authentic) voice of a subculture. To address this question, Muggleton takes a Weberian approach in which reality is seen as composed of a limitless number of individual entities and events, each capable of being described in an infinite number of ways. [57] More specifically, he draws on Alfred Schutz's phenomenological interpretation of Weber's notion of "ideal-type," which Weber refers to as the "significant" characteristics of a phenomenon. [58] Schutz argues that a scientific construction of reality takes place on the basis of a correspondence between the subjective interpretation of the individual, living his or her daily life within his or her social world, and the observation of the researcher. [59] Through using the concept of social reality, which incorporates both subjective and objective aspects of research, Muggleton focuses on both what his informants say and his own interpretation. In this way, his interviews demonstrate the varied voices of subcultural practitioners, which can be used to argue against the Birmingham School's position about the presumed relationship between a subculture and the working class.

[29] However, an important question remains: How does the authentic or "inside" voice of his informants enable the formation of a subcultural identity, if a coherent "inside" voice ever exists? Muggleton, I believe, is aware of the incoherence of the "inside" voice, as shown by his interviews that focus on the individuality of each subcultural practitioner. For this reason, Muggleton's conception of subculture tends to show the "end" or "death" of subculture as a concept.

[30] One way to understand this "dead" or dying subculture is to develop what he calls a "postmodernist," consumption-oriented perspective. He regards this perspective as a radical break from the Birmingham School's "modernist," production-based perspective. The Birmingham School's modernist view is based on the Enlightenment ideas of stasis, homogeneity, and demarcation. As a result, they regard subcultures as coherent, homogenous, collective, and linear. In contrast, he considers subcultures as fragmented, heterogeneous, individualistic, and hyperreal by drawing on not only Scott Lash and Jonathan Friedman's ideas of "aesthetic modernity" in terms of "movement," "flux," "change," and "unpredictability" [60] but also on Jean Baudrillard's notion of simulacra, which permits the understanding of postmodern culture as lacking authenticity and originality. [61]

[31] Moreover, Muggleton also argues that his work shifts away from the Birmingham School's understanding of subculture as production by focusing on subculture as consumption. This conceptualization draws on a critique of Max Weber's "ethic" of capitalism, which focuses on the productive process. Weber argues that "rational-Puritanism" as the "spirit of capitalism" [62] produces a "Protestant ethic" that refers to the moral imperatives of hard work, discipline, and the rational accumulation of profit. According to this Protestant ethic, subcultural practice, although it may take place in a leisure period, may be viewed as a productive process. [63] For the Birmingham School, the production of a subculture is the process through which social contradictions are located and revealed.

[32] Muggleton, rejects Birmingham School's idea of social contradiction, which is closely associated with the working class, [64] and instead views subcultures in terms of their practices of consumption. This consumption-oriented perspective draws on Colin Campbell's notion of the "Romantic ethic" as the "spirit of (modern) consumerism" [65] - a pleasure-seeking, expressive ethic of Romanticism, derived from a religious ethic of pietistic Protestantism, which lies behind the restless and hedonistic search for novelty that characterizes modern consumer behavior. [66] The "postmodern" development of subcultural studies since the 1960s, according to Muggleton, has been based on this romantic ethic, as shown by its pursuit of pleasure, individualist but creative self-expression, and stylistic innovation. [67] Through the use of interviews and by focusing on consumption, Muggleton discovers that "freedom" emerges as one of the most consistent themes in subcultural practices: for example, "freedom from rules, structures, controls and from the predictability of conventional lifestyles." [68]

[33] Muggleton's account represents a new model for understanding subcultures as fragmentary, incoherent and unfixed. [69] This postmodernist model has three characteristics that distinguish it from the Birmingham School. [70] The postmodernist model shifts away from the semiotic approach of the Birmingham School to embrace sociological approaches informed by ethnographic and qualitative methodologies. The postmodernist model also moves away from a simple binary understanding of social constructs (for example, resistance versus domination, normal versus abnormal) to address issues related to multiplicity, heterogeneity, differences, contingency, and mobility. Finally, the postmodernist school also addresses the issue of emancipation, not in terms of a universal and macro-level politics but in terms of an individual and micro-level politics (that is, the politics of the ordinary). The postmodernist view of subculture, therefore, is based neither on the perspective of the working class (for the Birmingham School) nor on that of the middle class (for the Chicago School); rather, it perceives the subcultural subject primarily from the perspective of the ordinary person in everyday life. Based on this perspective, the term "subculture" may be used interchangeably with other terms such as "club culture," "youth culture," "fan culture," and even "popular culture." [71] For Muggleton, subculture as a practice of everyday life, constructs the subcultural subject as an entrepreneurial individual, who is concerned less with social contradictions (in terms of class, gender, and ethnicity) and more with self-development, self-management, and self-realization, all of which center on the theme of freedom. [72]

[34] It is important to point out that since contemporary expressions of subculture are heterogeneous, creative, and organic, they may also contain aspects that address the issues of community and collectivity. However, they do not necessarily give up an emphasis on the individual as the bearer of freedom and responsibility. In practicing "tribalism" as a new form of sociality in subculture, for example, group identity as a tribe may not be more important than the needs of individual members. [73] For goths, anarchist punks, and some subcultural groups associated with social and political projects, community or group identity often emerges on the basis of the image of rebellion, but it nonetheless remains within a politics of the state - that characterizes individuals as a people who belong to a state, according to a scheme of classification that focuses on the group rather than the individual. As rebellion becomes a criterion for classifying individual participants as a group (whether a protest group or a consumer group), it does not erase the identity of the individual; in fact, it further evokes the individual's identity by provoking his or her agency. Thus, questions about the political potential of subcultures hinge not on whether subcultural practices may express a communal identity but on how the expression of a communal identity may be constituted by its outside-ness or "death." [74]

Conclusion: Subculture as a Neo-Liberal Conduct of Life in Leisure and Consumption

[35] My genealogical discussion of the three most influential moments in subculture studies - the criminological studies of the Chicago Schools of Sociology and Economics (the 1920s to the 1960s), the neo-Marxist studies of the Birmingham School of Cultural Studies (the late 1960s to the 1980s), and postmodern subculture studies (since the 1990s) - has shown that subcultural subjects have been systematically developed as political subjects since the early part of the twentieth century. The three schools examine subculture by focusing on different types of objects and by using different perspectives: the Chicago School focused on delinquent and deviant individuals and groups from the perspective of the middle class; the Birmingham School on disenfranchised and underprivileged individuals and groups from the perspective of the working class; and the postmodernist school on heterogeneous, creative, and organic individuals from the perspective of the ordinary person. However, they all have contributed to the theorization of subcultural participation as a neo-liberal way of conducting one's life through self-discipline, self-rationalization, self-responsibility, and self-development. [75]

[36] The neo-liberal mode of conduct reflects historical changes under new conditions of capitalism. The idea of "neo-liberal" does not mean that neo-liberal forms of expression are completely new.In fact, many of them, such as self-rationalization, self-discipline, and self-improvement, have been expressions of the liberal mode of conduct for elites and the traditional bourgeoisie at least since the eighteenth century. In Britain, for example, the bearers of the liberal mode of conduct were limited to those who maintained liberty as "rights" and "responsibilities." The liberal subject was "read [as a] middle-class male, individual, not Irish, not black, not female" because the white male bourgeois individual was the only subject who could be "rational, disciplined, and self-sufficient." [76] The development of knowledge about the neo-liberal mode of conduct does not really argue against the liberal mode of conduct originally associated with bourgeois liberalism; rather, it opposes social realities under which the bourgeoisie are the only legitimate bearers of liberty. In the development of cultural studies as a field of knowledge production, for example, a major struggle for scholars who address the question of culture has been fighting against exclusions in various forms (for example, on the basis of sexuality, gender, class, race, ethnicity, and nationality). [77] As a result of this struggle, it is by now commonly assumed that the identity of the liberal subject (the bearer of rights and responsibilities) has significantly expanded from the traditional bourgeois individual to the ordinary person (any education level, any class, any gender, any sexuality, any ethnicity, and any race). Thus, the neo-liberal mode of conduct does not represent a qualitative break from the liberal mode, but it does register the fact that the subject of liberty now applies not merely to the privileged but also to ordinary individuals under certain conditions of capitalism.

[37] The historical development of subcultural studies as a field of knowledge has shown very precisely how the conduct of life displayed through subcultural practices becomes conceived as neo-liberal. The Chicago School's understanding of the subcultural subject shifted from the subcultural as delinquent to the subcultural as normative through the measurement of rational calculation of risk and the accumulation of human capital. For the Birmingham School, a concern for social justice and social equality for the working class enabled its scholars to develop their understanding of subcultures as active in resisting the domination of mainstream culture through "negotiation," "decoding," and "making-do." This conceptualization of subculture has both made intelligible and enabled an understanding of subcultural subjects as active - despite their disenfranchisement - in the politics of emancipation. The emphasis on resistance's dialectical relation to domination, however, also suggests that the development of the agency of the marginalized also constitutes the hegemonic mode of power. With respect to the postmodernists, the subcultural is conceptualized as the cultural; the modern as the postmodern; and the hero of subculture as an ordinary individual (rather than as a bourgeois or a working-class person). Thus, the historical development of subculture studies has reflected changes in measuring subculture as a form of politics: from the Chicago School's liberal politics (measured by capital, especially economic capital) to the Birmingham School's politics of emancipation (measured by social justice and equality), and finally to a postmodernist politics of the ordinary (measured by leisure and the consumption practices of everyday life).

[38] Despite their differences, these approaches share an understanding of subculture as being situated within a neo-liberal mode of power that enables a neo-liberal conduct of life. As political authority and power in governing social orders are increasingly shared among various institutions, not only the formal government (representing the nation-state system) but also transnational corporations, non-profit organizations, and non-governmental organizations, they also are dispersed in such a way that they force and encourage an investment in the neo-liberal mode of power that underscores the conduct of the privatized individual (or the personal) in the practice of everyday life. Subcultures have become an important site for developing a neo-liberal mode of power that enables a neo-liberal conduct of life. This happens under a critical historical condition of capitalism: the normalization of consumption as the spirit of capitalism, as shown by the consumption of communicative media (especially multiplicity-based media) in subculture.

[39] The wide acceptance of consumption as central to the development of capitalism in the post-World War II era represents a critical response to a historical condition in which the production aspect of capitalism is both overemphasized through the utilization of Taylorism (that is, technological management and production of efficiency) [78] and over-moralized by the Puritan ethic of productivity and efficiency (Weber's "spirit of capitalism"). The normalization of consumption as a moral imperative of capitalism takes place not only at the level of balancing production with consumption in the economy (as in the case of Fordism) but also at the level of legitimizing consumption as a conduct or behavior. The latter aspect is especially important for an understanding of subcultural participation as a neo-liberal mode of conduct.

[40] Subcultures have been perceived primarily as practices of consumption in leisure. In the 1960s, the Chicago School scholars, such as David Matza and Gresham M. Sykes, acknowledged the fact that subculture practice was based on the hedonism of leisure. However, the conceptualization of subculture as a neo-liberal mode of conduct especially situated in the realm of consumption did not happen until the 1980s when the sociologist Colin Campbell theorized the pleasure and hedonism of leisure as reflecting the consumption spirit of capitalism. He traced the historical roots of modern consumerism to Romanticism in the eighteenth century by arguing that the "romantic ethic" embodies "the spirit of modern consumerism." [79] Campbell shows a symbiotic relationship between the Puritan and the romantic ethics, as when he argues that "both the delaying and the suppression of emotion work together to create a rich and powerful, imaginative inner life within the individual, the necessary prerequisite for a 'romantic' personality." [80] His work significantly extends Weber's well-known argument about the productive spirit of capitalism on the basis of Puritanism, [81] and elaborates consumption as a moral imperative of capitalism.

[41] Such a treatment of the pleasure and hedonism of leisure as expressing the consumption spirit of capitalism has enabled the conceptualization of the subcultural subject as an entrepreneurial individual. Following Campbell's argument, for example, Muggleton recognizes consumption as the primary context for subculture practice. More importantly, as he shows, the search for pleasure by means of consumption is inseparable from the obligation to exercise freedom. His characterization of subculture as postmodern effectively formulates a neo-liberal notion of the entrepreneurial individual. This notion of the individual regards the subcultural subject as a rational-economic individual who accumulates human capital through the production of value in subcultural practices. These practices necessarily involve the accumulation of human capital, for example, not only college education in arts, social sciences and humanities but also "exceptional knowledge of youth (sub)cultural history, popular culture, music and fashion." [82] Thus, subcultural practice incorporate the aesthetic of "high culture" (formal knowledge and literacy as measured by college education) into a field of conduct and behavior. [83]

[42] This shift in understanding of the subcultural subject - from the working-class person (for the Birmingham School) to the entrepreneurial individual (for the postmodernist school) - represents a reconceptualization of the subject as an active citizen within the field of consumption. For the Birmingham School, the subcultural subject was a social citizen, deriving his or her power and obligations from being part of a collective body (that is, a coherent working-class youth subculture) within the productive field of capitalism. For a postmodernist like Muggleton, however, the subcultural subject becomes a consumer citizen in the sense that the consumer manifests citizenship through the free exercise of personal choice among a variety of marketed options. [84] It is in the field of consumer conduct and behavior that the subcultural subject, as Nikolas Rose might put it, "is not merely enabled to choose, but obligated to construe a life in terms of its choices, its powers, and its values." [85]

[43] Within the realm of consumption and leisure in everyday life, subcultures have a close relation to the rapid development of communicative media, especially multiplicity-based media. Historically, communicative media enable the development of modalities of intelligence, which are fundamental technologies of the self. For the Greeks in the first two centuries, letters, diaries, and autobiographies were important technologies for constructing and caring for oneself. It was through "writing" that the self became a knowable object. [86] Here, writing primarily refers to the alphabetic word. As a linear modality of intelligence, the alphabetic word represents a technological coding system in communications, [87] which has been globally disseminated throughout the expansions of Western colonialism, imperialism, and capitalism. [88] Since the mid nineteenth century, however, new writing technologies such as photography, the telephone, radio, cinema, television, and computer have been developed and used widely in everyday life. [89] These technologies have formed and supported the development of new modalities of intelligence that are based less on the linear coding of alphabetic writing and more on the multiple coding systems of audio and visual writings. [90]

[44] The rapid development of media (especially of multiplicity-based media) provides an important material and cultural means for the development of neo-liberal modes of conduct in everyday life. In consuming multiplicity-based media, both the interaction with the media and the reflection in the interaction are integrated. In the context of playing a simulation game like SimCity and Civilization II, for example, the playing process involves simultaneously two actions: both the interaction with the game itself, and the understanding of the game's content. Because the game's content is overtly framed by controls, charts, menus and other interfaces, an understanding of its content must be based simultaneously on interaction with the game, resulting in an interactive reflexive process, which produces certain simulative effects on the agency of the player. [91] Thus, the consumption of multiplicity-based media incorporates not only objective, instrumental rationality but also subjective, imaginative rationality. [92]

[45] The consumption of media involves a complex set of cultural practices including reception and interpretation (for example, close attention, careful rereading, intense discussion, and even the decipherment of texts in foreign or archaic languages; program selection, canon formation, and evaluation through such forms such as gossip and trivia), and production (such as fan fictions, zines, music, and videos). As shown by his excellent ethnographic analysis, [93] Henry Jenkins argues that media fans are "poachers" who "do not observe from a distance (be it physical, emotional, or cognitive); they trespass upon others' property; they grab it and hold onto it; they internalize its meanings and remake these borrowed terms." [94] As a result of their active cultural practices, media fans have constructed an aesthetic that values immediacy, and proximity. Although this new aesthetic, as Jenkins argues, may represent a shift from traditional "bourgeois aesthetics" that "consistently value detachment, disinterestedness, indifference over the affective immediacy and proximity of the popular aesthetic," [95] it still emphasizes the agency of the individual, especially in conducting his or her own life. Through developing this personalized aesthetic, a fan is transformed from being subcultural (for example, being "fanatic") to simply being cultural.

[46] Media consumption often takes place at home, one of the most important sites in and for the practice of everyday life. Both communicative media (such as radio, television, telephone, and the internet) and other technologies such as programmable appliances, fitness equipment (for walking, jogging, and climbing), gaming equipment, and personal computers have increasingly become used widely at homes around the world. Their use on the 24/7-basis has transformed a regular house into a "smart home," [96] and domestic space into a site for conducting one's daily life according to the neo-liberal mode of self-governance. [97] At home, all the members of a household participate in using media and technologies to protect, organize, and manage domestic space and their daily activities. Domestic space becomes not only an automated space enabled by media and technologies, but also an autonomous territory governed by the family itself according to its own logic and rules. The development of this automated and autonomous domestic space underlines a series of neo-liberal policies adopted by various governmental agencies. [98]

[47] My brief discussion of the normalization of consumption as the spirit of capitalism in the context of consuming media (and technologies) has shown that the consumption of media, once situated within the consumption-oriented morality of capitalism, has become an important field for governing conducts in everyday life. Such conducts as self-discipline, self-development, and self-government become neo-liberal, not only because they become personalized through consumption of multiplicity-based media and technologies, but also because they become tied to a neo-liberal mode of power invested in the privatized domestic space at a time when formal government withdraws its authority from many social and public areas including social security, health care, public infrastructures (waterways, railways, and airways), and even national security. [99] Therefore, the historical development of the subcultural subject as a neo-liberal individual within the knowledge field of cultural studies is paralleled with the historical normalization of consumption as a neo-liberal imperative of capitalism. While cultural studies has made intelligible the subcultural subject as an ordinary neo-liberal individual, the normalization and moralization of consumption in capitalism have led to a materialized field for practicing the neo-liberal conduct in everyday life.


[1] Gelder and Thornton (1997).

[2] First, subculture is perceived as a community that deviates from normative community ideals. For example, a youth subculture deviates from an adult community. Second, subculture is envisaged as disenfranchised, disaffected, and unofficial - in contrast to the public as a body of "responsible" citizens. Third, subculture practitioners are not passive "mass" consumers; rather, they are not only highly differentiated, but also active and creative. Fourth, the boundaries of a subculture are often experienced as a matter of collective perception rather than any legal, physical, or geographical definition or regulation. Subculture in this sense is informal, organic, whether participants congregate by choice or through the forced commingling of a particular institution (for example, the prison, the asylum). See Thornton (1997), pp. 2-4.

[3] See Muggleton and Weinzierl (2003).

[4] Weinzierl and Muggleton (2003), p. 5. It is important to note that the notion of "post-subculture" used in the book does not mean that the realities of subcultural practices come to the end; ; rather, this concept draws to our attention new theoretical models and recent developments within subcultures since the 1970s and 1980s, when the Birmingham School of Cultural Studies dominated the field. Thus, it is reasonable to argue that the "post-subcultural" practices examined in the book are still subcultural.

[5] The context-oriented understanding addresses subculture as a social phenomenon, a behavior, or a practice in the larger context of everyday life. For example, subculture is often viewed as a youth culture or club culture. The text-based understanding focuses on subculture forms and their reception. Common forms include music (e.g. heavy metal, rap, hip-pop), fashion (e.g., latex or rubber clothing), and hair (e.g., punk). Studies of reception deal with reading practices (that is, coding and decoding), and fandom (or fan community).

[6] Foucault (1990[1976]), p. 139.

[7] See Mattelart (1996[1994]), particularly "Part IV, The Measure of the Individual;" Cartwright (1995); Crary (1999), particularly Chapter One, "Modernity and the Problem of Attention;" and Rose (1999a), particularly Chapter 12, "The Gaze of the Psychologist."

[8] Foucault (1995[1975]), p. 101.

[9] See Tolson (1997).

[10] Shoplifting was named as "kleptomania," not only a medical but also a legal problem, in the second half of the nineteenth century. See Miller (1981), pp. 197-206.

[11] Park (1967), p. 1.

[12] See Thrasher (1936).

[13] Whyte (1943).

[14] This quote is from Hebdige (1979), p. 76. Also see A. Cohen (1955), pp. 30-32.

[15] A. Cohen (1955), p. 27.

[16] He said: "it is common throughout the social class from which delinquents characteristically came. However, in the delinquent gang it reaches its finest flower. It is the fabric, as it were, of which delinquency is the most brilliant and spectacular thread" (A. Cohen 1955, pp. 30-31).

[17] See Matza and Sykes (1961), pp. 712-719.

[18] Matza and Sykes (1961), p. 715. Also see Veblen (1934).

[19] Gordon (1991), pp. 14-41.

[20] Lemke (2001), p. 199.

[21] Becker (1992).

[22] Gordon (1991), p. 44. Gary Becker's Human Capital (1993) (originally published in 1964) was one of the earliest books on human capital.

[23] Gordon (1991), p. 44.

[24] Richard Lee provides a detailed investigation of the history of cultural studies using a world-system analysis. See Lee (2003).

[25] See During (1993), pp. 2-12.

[26] Hall and Jefferson (1975).

[27] Mungham and Pearson (1976).

[28] Willis (1978).

[29] Hebdige (1979).

[30] P. Cohen (1972), p. 26. Also see P. Cohen (1999), p. 59.

[31] See Clarke, Hall, Jefferson, and Roberts (1975), pp. 45-57.

[32] The authors defined "youth culture" as a distinctive way of life of the youth, including "the meanings, values and ideas embodied in institutions, in social relations, in systems of beliefs, in mores and customs, in the uses of objects and material life" (Ibid., p. 10). The formation of British youth culture, according to them, was inseparable from five major changes in post-war Britain: more disposable income for teens; the development of mass culture (mass communications and mass entertainment); "new" forms of juvenile delinquency caused by the war (absent fathers, evacuation and other breaks in normal family life, and constant violence); the expansion of education (secondary education for all and mass extension of higher education); and the emergence of a whole range of distinctive styles in dress and rock-music that focused on the youth. See Ibid., pp. 19-20.

[33] Ibid., pp. 28-29, original emphasis.

[34] Hebdige (1979), p. 2.

[35] Critics of Hebdige's work have noted that he was less strictly focused on class than Phil Cohen and Paul Wills, because he viewed subculture style as syncretistic; for example, punk borrowed reggae traditions from the Caribbean. See Gelder (1997a), pp. 87-88.

[36] Gramsci (1971), p. 312.

[37] The widespread deployment of Fordism first took place among White and mostly male workers (through government-initiated post-war policies related to infrastructure and suburbanization) and then across gender, racial, and ethnic boundaries through social movements such as the civil rights and women's movements since the 1960s and 1970s.

[38] See Rose's discussion of work as a field of subjectification in postwar Britain (Rose 1999a, pp. 55-119).

[39] Hebdige (1979), p. 53.

[40] See Hebdige (1979), pp. 15-16. Also see Hall (1977), pp. 332-334.

[41] Hebdige (1979), p. 94.

[42] Ibid.

[43] See Clarke, Hall, Jefferson, and Roberts (1975), p. 40. Also see Hebdige (1979), p. 16.

[44] Hall (1977), p. 344.

[45] Lévi-Strauss (1966[1962]), pp. 16-18.

[46] de Certeau (1984[1980]), p. xiii. de Certeau defines consumption as productive in correspondence to "a rationalized, expansionist and at the same time centralized, clamorous, and spectacular production" (1984[1980], p. xii).

[47] See Gelder (1997b), p. 145.

[48] Muggleton (2000).

[49] Ibid., p. 158.

[50] Ibid., pp. 33-34.

[51] In the early to mid-1990s, for example, the Manchester Institute for Popular Culture at the Manchester Metropolitan University was formed to "reorient" the "contemporary cultural studies" of the Birmingham School toward "popular cultural studies," which focused on "ethnographies of contemporary 'sub' and 'club' cultures." See Redhead (1997), pp. 1-3.

[52] Muggleton (2000), p. 16.

[53] Gelder (1997c), p. 264.

[54] See Mattelart (1996[1994]), pp. 280-281.

[55] Muggleton (2000), p. 171.

[56] Ibid., p. 5.

[57] Ibid., p. 14.

[58] Ibid., p. 10-11.

[59] Schutz (1954), pp. 266-268. For Muggleton's use of Schutz, see his (2000), p. 10.

[60] Lash and Friedman (1992), p. 1. Cited in Muggleton (2000), p. 35.

[61] Muggleton (2000), p. 46.

[62] Weber (1958).

[63] See Hebdige (1979), p. 53.

[64] Muggleton (2000), p. 46. The idea that the working class is in crisis under certain historical conditions is also suggested by Baudrillard's discussion of the "end of the social" caused by processes of simulation. See Baudrillard (1995), p. 90.

[65] Campbell (1987).

[66] Muggleton (2000), p. 29.

[67] Ibid., pp. 50-53, 157-167.

[68] Ibid., p. 167.

[69] Many scholars, who follow this notion of subculture, even consider the term to be inappropriate. See Muggleton and Weinzierl (2003).

[70] See Weinzierl and Muggleton (2003).

[71] Redhead (1997), for example, views "subculture" as "club culture" or "popular culture." Henry Jenkins's study of Star Trek fans proposes the notion of "fan culture" to refer to active reading practices of fans in terms of intellectual involvement, re-reading and -interpretation, and fan community. See Jenkins (1992). Other examples include Joe Austin's study of graffiti (2001) and Jeffrey A. Brown's study of comics fans (2001).

[72] Muggleton (2000), pp. 157-167.

[73] For a critique of the idea of "tribalism" in the context of subculture, see Weinzierl and Muggleton (2003), p. 12.

[74] The search for an answer to this question leads to Dylan Clark's argument that "punk had to die so that it could live" (2003, p. 223). Similarly, Oliver Marchart argues that subculture has to become "post-subcultural," or to move beyond itself, in order to locate its political potential: for example, "leaves the darkness of the Club and steps into the light of the public realm" (2003, p. 96).

[75] The neo-liberal conduct of the individual is often incorporated into the process of building a community as a "third space," "a moral field binding persons into durable relations... a space of emotional relationships through which individual identities are constructed through their bonds to micro-cultures of values and meanings" (Rose 1999b, p. 173. Original emphasis).

[76] See Lee (2003), p. 63.

[77] This development is shown by the development of cultural studies in Britain, the United States, Australia, and Canada. See Lee (2003).

[78] See Banta (1993).

[79] Campbell (1987).

[80] Ibid., p. 222.

[81] Weber (1958).

[82] Muggleton (2000), p. 169, note 11.

[83] For a detailed discussion of how high culture (literary culture) becomes tied to the field of conduct and behavior through the development of culture as a common way of life, see Bennett (2003).

[84] For a general discussion of consumer citizenship, see Rose (1999a), pp. 229-231.

[85] Ibid., p. 231.

[86] Foucault (1988).

[87] For a history of the development of writing, see Ong (1982).

[88] Many scholars have provided insights on this point. Marshall McLuhan (1962), for example, links the capitalist expansion of the alphabetic word to the widespread use of the printing press since the nineteen century. The work of Lydia H. Liu (1995, 1999a. 1999b, 2004), which focuses on the historical context of Chinese-Western relations, is especially insightful because it provides a detailed historical analysis of how different modalities of intelligence across different cultural traditions have been forced to become commensurable by means of translation. Historically, as she demonstrates, translation is not merely a linguistic practice but, more importantly, a political practice that has shaped international relations and modern nation-state formations.

[89] Knowledge of these new writing technologies has been rapidly growing in recent years. See Kittler (1999), Sterne (2003), Crary (1999), Doane (2002), and Kwinter (2001).

[90] For some examples of recent important writings that have made efforts to theorize modalities of intelligence based on audio and visual coding systems, see Derrida (1978, 1986[1982]), Flusser (2000[1983], 2002), Derrida and Stiegler (2002[1996]), and Debray (1996, 2000[1997]).

[91] Miklaucic (2003), p. 332. Also see Craig R. Wills' discussion of playing online games (2004).

[92] I have developed this argument in the context of examining time-telling. See Ren (2004, 2005, and forthcoming).

[93] Jenkins (1992).

[94] Ibid., p. 62.

[95] Jenkins' use of the term of "bourgeois aesthetics" comes from Pierre Bourdieu. See Jenkins (1992), p. 60.

[96] See Heckman (2004)'s discussion of how the development and use of domestic technologies have shaped family lives in the United States.

[97] See Hay (2003).

[98] In the United States, some examples of these policies include: the privatization of social security, the promotion of family(-based) values, and the protection and reinforcement of (heterosexual) marriages. They also are reflected in the widespread use of fortified residential zones and gated communities around the country (see Davis 1990, 1992; Ross 1999). For discussions on Latin America, see Garcia Canclini (1995) and Caldeira (2000).

[99] Many scholars have addressed these issues. Jean and John Comaroff (2004), for example, argue that the withdrawal of governmental authorities in civil society is one of explicit reasons for the rise of privatized security measures, legal or illegal. Michael Hardt and Antonio Negri (2004) have discuss some examples of how the U.S. War on Terror was partially operated using private companies and organizations.

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