Subcultures are smaller worlds within larger cultures. Subcultures follow the overall culture of a society, but they have distinct elements of their own culture that separate them.
1. Individually: What is a subculture that you are a part of? Use your notes to help you, if you are not sure what a subculture is. Why is this group a subculture? What are some unique, interesting aspects about this group that the non-members will not know?
2. In small groups, discuss the culture at Stevenson. What makes us so special that visitors from all over the country come to visit and study us? Is there enough of a difference to consider ourselves a special subculture? As a group, find elements of culture that make us different from America:
Today's lesson was about what makes a subculture. A subculture is part of a larger culture, but it has its own unique cultural aspects. To illustrate how this works, we used our school as an example. Why do so many visitors come here to see us? What makes us so different? Is our school a subculture? To examine this, we reviewed these cultural traits and applied them to our school:
- Material Culture; all the physical stuff unique to our school: the buildings, uniforms, guidebook
- Mores: really serious norms that would disrupt the culture if violated: Walking on the right side of the hall/stairwell, not stopping in the hall or stairwell, not cheating, not fighting, knowing where to park, knowing how to be called out. All of these are important norms. If you violate them, there will punishment or judgement against you.
- Folkways: norms that do not have serious moral implications; being late to class, saying the pledge, no drinks or snacks outside the commons and not wearing green & gold on spirit days all are norms that are frequently violated without serious disruption to the school culture.
- Taboos; Norms that are so accepted, they are not even talked about: pregnancy & sex, use of drugs outside of school; these are activities that are embarrassing to even talk about.
- Language: PAC, link, traveller, FMP, LOP, Glass commons, wood commons,
- Symbols: the Patriot (six fingers :-), the SHS seal, the statue, green and gold,
- Values: going to college, grades, competitiveness; These values are the most important in shaping our school culture. They pervade every part of the school culture and they are a part of students, teachers, parents and administrators, but this is the hardest aspect of culture to see.
Takeaway (For more info see Ferris and Stein 83-85):
What is a subculture?
Why are values important to a culture?
What is a counter culture?