Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Our SHSubculture

HW: Read Kohl's Values Americans Live By in your packet.

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.  
For some perspective, here are some examples of other schools' cultures.
Do you see how the values we have here might separate us from other schools?  Do you see how they shape so much of what we do here?  I do not know if it counts as a "subculture" by sociological standards, but I think these values are what many of those visitors are searching for in their own schools. For your own thoughts, what subculture(s) are you a part of? What are the traits that make your subculture unique?

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?


  1. SHS definitely has a unique subculture. I never realized it until you laid out the facts! By being on newspaper, I realized the major repercussions that discussing/writing about a taboo topic has on the people in our school and in our community.

  2. There are sooo many subcultures in SHS, and we don't realizes them despite them being right there under our nose! Today I walked through Stevenson and just looked around and realized that everybody is on a different page from the majority of people. I mean there are a few crossovers here and there, but in general people just stay with the same people so it ends up that there are many different groups and varieties of people and subcultures just lying around the school.

  3. I agree, this school is so big that people don't realize how much subcultures there are. But everyone has their own group of friends with their own way of doing things and sometimes that changes because there could be times where people discover that the group(s) they were once apart of aren't what they thought. From personal experience, I remember when I was a freshman/sophomore I became close with group(s) of people who I thought were nice and I could relate to them, but in the end they turned out to be inconsiderate backstabbers, and because of them I've learned my lesson on who to become close with.