It was pretty simple at first: the term “subculture” was introduced in the sociology of deviant behavior with the idea of challenging the theory of the “criminal personality”, dominant at the time. In the 1970s, at the renowned Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies (CCCS) in Birmingham, subcultures were interpreted from a neo-marxist standpoint as a form of youth resistance against the dominant values of the bourgeois society. The critics of the subcultural theory of the symbolic rebellion of the youth rightly observed that the class-centered approach was valid for the first decades after the war, but not for the later subcultures. The development of the post-subcultural theory from the 1990s onwards has categorically revised the approach to studying youth cultures, repeating the postmodern world’s mantra “fragmentation, flux and fluidity”.
With no intention to exhaust the entire field of subcultures in Bulgaria, the articles featured in this theme issue of Seminar_BG are searching for a notion of subcultures that is valid today. What are today’s youth cultures, and what do they articulate – resistance or consumption? Are they communities, or a collective manifestation of individualism? Do they discipline, or do they offer common space where individual differences and individual freedom could be cultivated?
What happens to traditional subcultures when they enter the realm of the virtual? And how does communication through Internet alter the forms of bonding and identifying with the group? The fourteen articles in this issue offer us plenty of material to contemplate on.
Daniela Koleva and Valentina Gueorguieva, Editors of Seminar_BG #3