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The Dynamics of the Global Youth Subcultures and Movements: the Russian Context

Gavrilyuk TV1*, Garabazhii VA1, Gaisina LM2,Gabdrakhmanova LN3and Burenina IV4

1Candidate of Sociological Sciences, Sociology Department, Tyumen State Oil and Gas University Russia, Russia

2Ufa State Petroleum Technological University, Russia

3Candidate of Political Sciences, Department “Politologie, Sociology and Public Relations”, Ufa State Petroleum Technological University Russia, Russia

4"Economics and Management of Oil and Gas Industry", Ufa State Petroleum Technological University, Russia

Corresponding Author:
Gavrilyuk TV
Candidate of Sociological Sciences
Sociology Department
Tyumen State Oil and Gas University
Tel: +7 345 241-70-21
E-mail: [email protected]

Received date: March 02, 2016; Accepted date: March 21, 2016; Published date: April 05, 2016

Citation: Gavrilyuk TV, Garabazhii VA, Gaisina LM, et al. The Dynamics of the Global Youth Subcultures and Movements: the Russian Context. Global Media Journal. 2016, S2:10.

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The article analyzes the specifics of subcultural differentiation of youth in a global context; and, on the basis of the system-forming feature of the community and gender orientation of its representatives develops a two-dimensional typology of youth subcultures, pervasive all over the world. Using the methods of “participant observation” and qualitative analysis of documents, a scientific rationale has been suggested and the criteria of the youth subculture aggregates association into larger units, like youth movements, have been distinguished; the specifics of their glocalization and the latest period phases of their dynamics have been identified in the Russian social context. Through comparison of Western European and Russian subcultural groups functioning nature it was established that the specificity of their glocalization in Russia was associated with a number of basic differences in their socio-demographic structure, the specificity of their perception by other social groups and the focus of the state youth policy. The study contributes to further development of the issues of cultural globalization impact on youth communities of different orientations; its findings can be used in managerial, public and teaching activities.


Youth subcultures; Youth movements; Typological analysis; Cultural globalization; The globalization of youth subcultures; Globalization; Youth subcultures in Russia


The degree of subcultural differentiation of Russian society at the beginning of XXI century can be compared with similar processes in Western countries. This is due to a common tendency of modern developed societies to multiculturalization which is expressed by disintegration of the unity of dominant values hierarchy and establishment of diverse, eclectic and fragmented forms of cultural identity. The possibility of independent construction of the identity, resulting from the increased availability of electronic communication channels and activation of individualized marketing strategies of goods and services producers, has led to the abundance of its new forms associated with youth subcultures and movements, many of which are global phenomena.

Having originated as protest or escapist movements, various forms of subcultural solidarities have undergone significant changes, fitting consumer markets and becoming one of the forms of youth style game practices. Choosing subcultural identity in the global “cultural supermarket”, the youth attains an illusion of certain power and control over one's own biography. Each such strategy is unique and associated with individual tactics of protection against the suppression of one’s own personality by market abundance of mass culture. However, in sociological science a typological approach to the data analysis of cultural practices has been widely spread which can make a conclusion about some of the general trends of youth culture development. The objective of our research is the analysis and typology of global youth subcultures and movements of the modern stage of social development, identification of the specifics of their glocalization in the Russian social context, including the stages, the logic of development and the main peculiarities of subcultural differentiation of young people in post-Soviet Russia.

Literature Review

The development of sociological approaches to the study of the phenomenon of youth subculture has had a long history. First the covered topics became a matter of interest for sociologists of the University of Chicago [1,2] in the period from the 1920s to the 1940s, although the researchers did not refer their work to subcultural concept. In subsequent years the theorists of structural functionalism [3,4] returned to the issues of youth subcultures in the United States. Based on the traditions of problematization of adolescence, the concepts of the representatives of these two trends were based on the identification of youth subcultures and communities of persons with deviant behavior. A different approach to the study of youth subcultural associations was developed in the UK by the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies in the late 1960-1970-ies. The concepts of such authors as Brake M, Cohen S, Hebdige, Willis showed a break with the traditions of structural functionalism, based on neo-Marxist class approach [5-8]. The association of youth into subcultural groups was treated by the British researchers as a manifestation of the struggle between the bourgeoisie and the proletariat for cultural and social power. The protest of subcultural youth was most vividly expressed in designing their own styles. In addition, according to the western sociological tradition in the study of youth subcultures a special trend, represented by Roszak’s T concept of counterculture (1995), is distinguished with subsequent development by Reich CH [9,10].

From the latest research in similar topic, it is worth paying attention to postsubcultural trend which focuses on the analysis of the impact of marketing communications and new global media on creation, development and crisis of subcultural styles authenticity. The formation of a conceptual understanding of youth collectivity modern forms has become significant in recent years. Calling the subcultural concept "useless" and "universal", Bennett A offers a new neo-tribe approach, proving that the youth groups that have traditionally been considered as separate subcultures should be understood as a series of temporary associations with unstable boundaries and changing membership. Featherstone M believes that modern youth groups resemble classical subcultures only in discursive symbolic context, Read head S proposes to replace this term with “clubculture”, and Muggleton D even writes about the "death of subcultures” [11-13].

The impact of global trends on youth subculture is a topical issue for the global sociology. Apart from the above mentioned post cultural trend, it was analyzed by such authors as Tittley, Gidley, Kahn, Kellner, O'Connor, who regarded the trends of development and challenges of global youth culture in an interdisciplinary manner [14-17].

The subcultural discourse in the Russian science emerged in the late 1980s. At its early stages there was a significant methodological pluralism of conceptions of youth studies, associated with the growing liberalization of the Soviet society. Western lifestyle, consumer practices in particular, were still positioned as alien to the Soviet youth, but its cultural influence on the younger generation of the “perestroika” period was already taken for granted. In the 1990s Russian sociologists focused on the study of various youth activities within the framework of subcultural formations, the connection of the youth subcultural activity with lengthening of the period of education, with technical modernization of society, developing market relations and consumer practices of the new capitalist society. There emerges a discourse of non-conformism as a special form of social and cultural adaptation. Among the latest studies of youth culture and subculture in Russia it is necessary to distinguish, first of all, the research school established at the Center for youth research at the “High School of Economics” University under the guidance of Omeltchenko [18]. The research team of the Centre studies the cultural and style strategies of contemporary Russian youth; pays considerable attention to the analysis of everyday life of various youth spheres, like "normal" youth, criminal masculine communities of gopniks and skinheads, homosexuals; and studies the problems of drug addiction, gender and masculinity, bodily practices and sexuality, extremism and xenophobia in youth communities. The impact of cultural globalization on the Russian youth culture as a specific scientific problem has almost never regarded in modern Russian sociology, which determines the relevance of the present study.


We have chosen the typological analysis based on Tatarova’s method (2007) as the main methodological tool for the study of various forms of manifestation of the phenomenon under study [19]. The empirical basis of the research is generated through a combination of quantitative and qualitative strategies of primary data collection and data analysis.

The empirical study included:

1. The qualitative analysis of the Internet sources and printed subcultural editions;

2. Many years of participant observation at the meeting points of representatives of subcultures in Germany (Berlin, Cologne, Hildesheim) and Russia (Moscow, St. Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, Tyumen);

3. Mass formalized interview of the students from Russian universities (2095 respondents, including students from Moscow, St. Petersburg, Ulyanovsk, Irkutsk, Tyumen and cities of the North of the Tyumen region);

Analysis, Findings, Conclusions and Plans for Future Research

Typological analysis of global youth subcultures and movements

The object of our typological analysis is the phenomenon of youth subculture that has a global distribution character. The “type” refers to the aggregate of youth subcultures associated in accordance with system-forming features. The objective of the research is conducting multidimensional typological analysis of contemporary youth subcultures with the purpose of in-depth study of the genesis, nature, and forms of manifestation of these types of subcultures both in the world and in the Russian context.

Table 1 presents a typology of contemporary global youth subcultures in two aspects: the main system-forming feature of the subculture and gender orientation of its representatives.

Types ofsubculture Sports and games Music Club Criminal Complex
Masculine oriented Football fans,bikers Metalheads(except glam-rockers) - -Skinheads, street gangs ("gopnics") Rivetheads
Androgynous oriented - Emoglam rockers Freaks - Goths, hippies,j-rockers, fans of the anime
Without distinct gender orientation Skaters, roller skaters, BMX, snowboarders, traceurs, role players,reconstructors Indie-rockers Ravers Hackers Rastamen, punks,glamour,hip-hop, hipsters

Table 1 The space of contemporary youth subcultures: a typological coordinate grid.

The most important feature differentiating youth subcultures today is their gender orientation. Many modern youth subcultures allow their bearers to experiment with their own gender identity. The androgyny, involving leveling of distinction faces of the sexes, is achieved through the use of specially stylized external attributes of the opposite sex, the inversion of the stereotypical behavior forms prescribed by gender roles. Manifested predominantly by young men, androgyny is one of the most important game practices of many popular youth subcultures. The attention should be focused on the fundamental difference between the androgyny, which is both a way of subcultural self-expression and the general trend in modern fashion and serious psycho-physiological disorders associated with sex, i.e. gender dysphoria and transsexualism. The androgyny is also not identical to cross-dressing (transvestism), although separate elements of this practice can be used. Masculine orientation, in contrast, emphasizes the masculinity of subculture bearers, which in this sense is relates to brutality and the cult of physical strength. Androgyny and masculinity are the two poles of gender subcultural orientation, generating conflicts between subcultural groups. There are also subcultures without distinct gender orientation both preserving gender roles (glamor, role playing, hip-hop) and gender-indifferent (punk, Rasta, hipsters, rave, downshifting, many sports subcultures).

Referring to the typology of subcultures according to the main system-forming feature, it is necessary to specify the contents of the selected types. Sports and gaming subcultures involve bringing together of young people on the basis of amateur practicing a certain sport (skateboarding, roller skating, BMX, snowboarding, motorcycle sports), sports fanaticism (football fans) or participation in costumed plays, also associated with physical activity (role players, in particular Tolkienists). For musical subcultures the main system-forming feature is fascination with this or that music style. Club subcultures exist only within nightclubs and in everyday life the subcultural identity of the individual cannot be seen (as it often happens with modern raves visitors); or it can attain less outrageous look (freaks). For criminal subcultures the main type-forming feature is the illegal nature of the activity, as well as the general predilection of their participants to "criminal romance". Neo-Nazi associations of skinheads, street youth gangs (in Russia they are called "gopniks"), as well as the criminals acting in cyberspace (hackers) are referred to as such youth criminal subculture groups. Complex subcultures without a dominant system-forming feature have the same foundations of creation and existence. Apart from their own music scene, there are other forms of art (literature, painting, photography, and others) both created in the frames of the very subcultures and borrowed from the common cultural heritage and other subcultures. The orientation of their activities is also different and is not limited to any dominant form of activity. We can say that these are subcultures of lifestyle.

Modern youth subcultures are not isolated entities. Despite the fact that subcultures that form the main trends in contemporary youth movements are significantly differentiated in ideological and value respect they share several important features. In our study, we interpret the term "youth movement" not in political but socio-cultural sense and imply a conglomerate of cultures united by common visual, musical or artistic stylistics, forms and ways of recreation and a common semantic and semiotic field. In modern society, the tendency to enlargement of subcultures and formation of large youth movements is global. This process is connected with identity change of subcultural youth, who increasingly deny their belonging to a particular subculture, but are aware of the relationship with larger formation, i.e. movement. We have identified several global youth movements, integrating modern youth subcultures on the following grounds:

• Stylistic affinity and common semiotic space - common symbols, attributes and preferred aesthetic forms;

• Common music stage - similar genesis of musical genres, functioning of music within a single communication space, distribution of music by means of common communication channels;

• Common communication space - shared infrastructure objects (clubs, shops, and magazines).

It should be noted that identifying one or another subculture phenomenon as a movement we suggest that it combines at least two autonomous subcultures.

Table 2 presents a typology of modern youth movements and subcultures within their frames and describes the characteristics common for all subcultures within a particular movement. Thus, we developed a typology of youth subcultures and movements which demonstrates the complex nature of these phenomena, multiple displays of which requires careful study in global and globo-local context.

Glocalization of Youth Subcultures and Movements in the Russian Context

Phases of development of global subcultures in Russia

The logic of subcultural differentiation of young people in post- Soviet Russia is consistent with West-European trends: from protest subcultural boom to incorporation of alternative life styles into the consumer practices of mass culture. However, the period of changing different phases of the cycle is much shorter due to the "catching-up modernization” orientation of Russian society. Let us leave the dynamics of youth subcultures in the Soviet and early post-Soviet period behind our research interest and turn to the last subculture wave in Russia, which started, in our opinion, in the first half of the 2000s, when the society moved from the state of turbulence to the period of relative economic and social stability. The youth’s attention at this stage shifted from economic survival strategies in a transforming society into search of forms of self-expression and identity in cultural space. The generation of perestroika (mid 1980s - early 1990s), having become the embodiment of this subculture wave, was completely devoid of the Soviet mentality; the childhood and adolescence of its members fell on the period of value destabilization of the Russian society, which broke with the old cultural codes and actively, but often thoughtlessly, consumed the products of mass culture of the developed countries. It is obvious that the Russian subcultural stage consists almost entirely of borrowed trend, ideas and styles.

Movement name Subculture name Stylistic and symbolic Music styles
Metal Metal heads of“old school” Long hair,T-shirts with photos and logos of favorite teams, rough boots on thick soles, black leather wear, rivets, chains, wristbands, tattoos. Symbolic includes recognizable stylistic of logos of music groups, use of simple necro-symbols is possible (skull and bones"and so on) Music of “metal” or “hard rock” styles
Black-metal heads
Other metal trends not being separate subcultures
Dark-culture Goths Predominance of black or bright acid colors in wear, vinyl and leather clothes, men's skirts,use of make-up, boots on platforms, avant-garde hair-cuts, piercing and body modification. The symbolic of occult, and religious practices, industrial symbols ("radiation", "biohazard", and so on) Gothic rock, gothic metal, darkwave, electrometal, industrial, dark ambient, dark electro, EBM, gothabilly,J-rock,J-electro.
Black-metal heads
Alternative Downshifters Bright colors wear (trousers or jeans, t-shirts, hoodies, sneakers, piercings, excessive piercings of earlobes - the so-called "tunnels", half-long hair with oblique bangs or dreadlocks, riveted belts. Metalcore, hardcore, emocore,alt folk,nu-metal,rapcore,post-rock
Glamour Glamour Trendy clothes and accessories of leading brands or their imitations.
Symbolic: the logos of leading brands, prestigious commodities, iconic brands and things
("Must have").
Pop, rap, r’n’b, hip-hop,house, electro,
R’n’b-hip-hopculture in its non-commercial variant
Folk Role-players Reconstruction of the folk costume in its authentic or stylized form, pagan or Christian symbols, ornaments of folk cultures, reconstructed weapons and elements of military equipment of different epochs. Folk metal, folk rock,different variants of folk music or its stylization
Ethnic reconstruction

Table 2: Typology of subcultures in the frames of modern global youth movements.

We can distinguish three phases, reflecting the cycle of subcultural dynamics in Russia:

1. The first half of the 2000s - violent popularization of global subcultural trends (mostly Western, but there were also subcultural styles, inspired by the East - for example, J-rockers and anime fans); the attempt to construct their own cultural space in big cities, the emergence of club and media infrastructure; the dominance of escapist tendencies in the minds of subcultural youth; the increase of "moral panic" in society, associated with a rejection of the visual manifestations of subcultural identity.

2. The second half of the 2000s - stabilization of subcultural space and the beginning of its adaptation in the youth mainstreamculture; maturity of the communicative infrastructure of the main subcultures; the intensification of mobility within the global subcultural space (a dramatic increase in the number of events of the relevant topic, e-Commerce, media-content); the beginning of disintegration of authentic subculture stylistic, caused by their colonization of mass culture; the sustainably negative or indifferent attitude of the society towards image subcultures.

3. The first half of the 2010s - the decline in popularity of global subcultures; commercialization and virtualization of subcultural space; the blurring of distinction between mass culture and subcultural environment; rejection of the value component in favor of stylistic one; subcultural images and ways of group actions are completely stipulated by "hyper reality" of Internet communities; almost complete disappearance of subcultural discourse from mass media, society's neglect of this subject.

The Russian realities of the third phase of the latest subculture cycle, in our opinion, have achieved synchronization with global trends. Today, the expansive policy of global youth brands prevents any attempts of subcultural resistance, as provocative and escapist one, for several years absorbing any "otherness" by means of incorporating its stylistic into mass culture. Even the strategies of alternative marketing, used in the space of youth communities are not any alternative today, since they have acquired the function of a proven set of tools for working in niche markets.

Apart from the mentioned development trends of global subcultures, a distinct conservative turn of mass consciousness including youth’s consciousness is clearly observed in the third phase. Instead of the ideology of subcultural pluralism and individualization, the attempts to reanimate the lost cultural identity affected by globalization have becoming increasingly popular. This trend is reflected in the growing number of adherents of the so-called "folk culture", tending to demonstrate ethnocentrist ideology. However, the tendency of its development does not contradict the previously mentioned properties of the third phase of the subcultural wave, but is their continuation. The distinct impact of global trends of socio-cultural dynamics is observed, in particular, the so-called "folk revival" taking place in Western mass culture and art and reflected in the rise of interest to ethnics in the twentieth century. Especially vividly this process is reflected in music [20]. This phenomenon can be considered part of the “retrospective globalization” of culture (the term of B. Bernshtein), i.e. involvement of art, artifacts and practices, initially alien to it in the world of art, for example, archaic forms, preserved in traditional cultures or subcultural niches, where they acquire new functions and are interpreted in the system of its concepts and values [21]. The decline of youth subcultural activity in the third phase of the cycle is consistent with the Bourdieus’ ideas (1993) regarding the necessity to preserve the autonomy of the artistic field. Commercialization, active interference of the youth policy bodies, "demonization" of subcultural groups representatives in mass media have led to decrease of subcultural identity values in the minds of young people and, as a result, the lack of reproduction and development of these youth communities [22].

The specifics of the Russian context of global youth subcultures functioning

Globalization of youth culture defines common for youth groups value and stylistic features, affects the structure of consumption and implemented cultural practices. However, the matter of careful attention are the local specifics of global subcultural phenomena, their functioning in a specific social context, the impact they have on local youth, the ways of internalization and externalization of meanings, values and ideas. We will consider the phenomenon of glocalization of youth subcultures based on Russian realias. The results of participant observation and qualitative analysis of the documents revealed a number of factors determining the specificity of glocalization of subcultural practices and subcultural discourse in Russia, their differences from the processes in the developed “donor countries”:

1. Differences in demographic structure. Subcultural groups in Russia are almost entirely represented by teenagers and youth. Older people are extremely rare (with the exception of bikers and reconstructors) and are usually successful musicians or club events organizers. In European subcultures, in contrast, an evident increase in the average age of their representatives up to 30 years and above is observed. This phenomenon is explained, firstly, by transformation of European subcultures from opposing life styles into recreational practices which do not require permanent identification and, secondly, by the popularity decline of alternative subcultures lifestyle among adolescents and young adults.

2. Differences of social context and environment, defined by characteristics of the collective consciousness. Many aspects of subcultural stylistic, which entered the cultural mainstream in Western Europe long ago, keep on being perceived as a manifestation of deviation in Russia. More detailed description of the local social context of global subcultures existence in Russia will be given in this article which will be devoted to the analysis of the Russian youth attitude to the most popular subcultures.

3. Differences defined by territorial differentiation. The tendency towards decentralization characteristic of developed societies is still not realized in Russian reality. Provincial and capital city "informals" demonstrate life styles different from each other, because of their cultural and social backgrounds, level of foreign language proficiency and general information competence, objective economic factors determining the differences in the quality of life of the younger generation.

4. Differences defined by specific social structure. The Russian society of the early 2010s is not as polarized as in the 1990s, however, the middle class in our country is still not sufficiently developed (about 40% of the population according to the information of the RAS Institute of Sociology). The interrelationship between the social and subcultural identities of a young man was proved by British theorists in the 1970s; therefore, we can identify certain correlation between these parameters today. The continuing dominance of a lower layer in the social structure of (although in Russia its part not standing below the poverty line is called a "base layer") leads to marginalization of a significant part of young people whose life chances in educational and professional fields are very low. At the same time, the upper part of the middle layer expands and is represented mainly by the capital and megalopolises residents. This dualism is embodied in the parallel existence of the two youth "cultural worlds": the young people from the lower and lower middle class of the Russian province who join street gangs of "gopniks" and advanced "hipsters" represented by youth of large cities who are fond of contemporary art practices, indie music and creative trends [23].

5. Differences in the content of scientific discourse. In Russia subcultural issues are traditionally considered in the context of problematization. Up to the 2000s most researchers interpreted subcultures as forms of deviant behavior, requiring correction by means of institutional ways. Conceptualizing subcultural communities as homogeneous formations, the authors considered them as an object of social control and influence. Insufficient attention was paid to the issues of intrasubcultural differentiation. The differences became evident at the level of methodology: western researchers traditionally used a qualitative text analysis and ethnographic methods to obtain reliable data on diverse forms of youth activity in social, political, cultural, leisure and intimate spheres; to study the peculiarities of the sociocultural self-representation of young people, including symbolic aspects of subcultural stylistic and corporal experimentation. Russian researchers relied primarily on quantitative methods and large-scale surveys; the interest to the qualitative research emerged only in the last decade.

6. The differences in the state youth policy. The youth subcultures in Russia are under pressure not only of public opinion, but also of the state. In 2008, the attempts were made to legally ban Gothic and emo attributes from schools, which caused a number of protests from non-conformist-minded youth. It was quite natural, because these subcultures are not antisocial and any attempts to suppress cultural self-expression of youth were not authorized by democratic norms. The school uniform in Russia is not mandatory; therefore, the attempts to introduce such restrictive measures at the national level seem to be a pronounced discrimination of certain subcultural groups. Young people have traditionally been treated by Russian officials as a resource of social and cultural reproduction and innovative activity; however, the directions of this activity are strictly regulated. So, today, some movements are supported at the state level, like hip-hop movement, bikers and folk culture, but many other forms of youth associations are regarded as potentially socially dangerous.

The social context of the youth subcultures existence in Russia: public opinion

The study of local specifics of young people’s attitude to subcultural communities will let us understand the social context of their existence. It is evident that young people feel the greatest interest in subcultural topics and knowledge in this field. Accordingly, the objects of the survey were the students of Russian universities. The main objectives of the empirical research were as follows:

• To assess the degree of awareness about the existence of the most popular modern youth subcultures;

• To identify the regional specificity of students' attitude toward modern youth subcultures;

• To identify the respondents’ possible subcultural self-identity;

Based on the study of students’ awareness of and attitude towards the contemporary youth subcultures and subcultural areas, it was established that neutral attitude was predominant. Figure 1 presents the regional distribution of respondents, positive-minded to specific subcultures. The respondents are positive about the subculture of prestigious youth entertainment mainstream such as hip - hop and R'n'b glamor. Positive perception of these groups I demonstrated by one-third (32.2% of Ulyanovsk youth positive about hip-hop) to half of the respondents (51.4% of St. Petersburg students perceive the R'n'b culture positively). This demonstrates significant influence of musical and entertainment mass media on the minds of the modern students. The MTV channel and the like actively position the above mentioned youth cultures as the most "advanced" ones, forming through subcultural attitudes of these groups, together with pop-cultural stage, modern "culture for young people". It is noteworthy that in Moscow the interest in these subcultures is significantly lower than in other cities: in hip-hop - only 27.1% of the respondents, in R'n'b - 33, 6%.

Apart from entertainment mainstream-subcultures, about a third of respondents expressed a positive attitude towards football fans and bikers. The phenomenon of football fanaticism is a constant subject of public attention in Russia and worldwide. Demonstrative, expressive behavior, serious clashes between rival gangs, physical violence cultivated by fans, all this allows speaking about this subculture as masculine-oriented and leading to social disruption. Since there is generally predominant negative attitude to disruptive youth groups students’ sympathy for fan subculture may indicate a misunderstanding of the phenomenon nature. Not all football supporters are fans. Fans are an organized group of active supporters of this or that football team, actively supporting it during home and away matches and aggressive towards other teams’ fans. Positive attitude towards the bikers’ subculture is also difficult to explain in terms of rational position, because bikers have similar musical and image tastes with metalheads, who are positively treated by only about 15% of the respondents. It can be assumed that this attitude is due to the long-term existence of the subculture and social mythology formed around it is associated with the construction of the image of a free and independent "iron warrior", for whom there are no frames, restrictions and laws. Also there is some confusion of bikers’ and motorcyclists’ subcultures in the minds of a part of students. The latter have external attributes, different from those of bikers’ and tending to a sport, not rocker’s, style, different musical preferences and behavior stereotypes. Positive attitude to Rastamen, 31.5% of the respondents in the North of the Tyumen region (in other cities 15-20%), may be an indirect evidence of use of light drugs by young people in this region or tolerance to such practices.


Figure 1: Distribution of the respondents’ positive attitude to youth subcultures (% of the respondents in the region).

In terms of the respondents negatively related to subcultures, the vast majority demonstrates negative attitude towards masculine youth groups (skinheads and gopniks), as well as to radical pseudo-religious sects (Satanists) (Figure 2). The analysis shows that the level of tolerance to destructive subcultural formations in medium-sized cities in the North of the Tyumen region is higher than in capital cities. Thus, a negative attitude towards skinheads was expressed by 59.1% of the respondents in small and medium towns of the North of the Tyumen region, towards gopniks - 54.5%, while in St. Petersburg; these figures correspond to 81.2% and 79.7% and in Moscow – 75.4% and 70.3% respectively. These results suggest that for many respondents of the North of the Tyumen region these groups’ subcultural consciousness and behavior do not seem deviant and do not contradict human culture. This can also mean the belonging of the surveyed students to these subcultures or sympathy for them, which is an indirect evidence of the depth of marginalization of a significant part of the youth in Russian province. The rejection of Satanism in any way reflects the significance of traditional religious attitudes to Orthodoxy and respect for the Christian religion for most students of Russian universities. The strongest rejection of this sect is demonstrated by the students from Saint Petersburg; 83.1% of the respondents were negative about it.

Despite the fact that over 40% of the respondents in all the cities declare a neutral attitude towards image subcultures, about onethird of the students have a negative attitude to emo and Goths. At St. Petersburg Academy, training future civil servants, the rate is about 50%. This fact indicates the absence of tolerance to such subcultures with future officials. As for the associations existing in Russia for a long time - punks and metalheads -the negative estimation is around 20-30% of the respondents. Moscow is the most tolerant for punks (only 17.6% of the respondents were negative), which can be explained by the promotion of less radical, transformed versions of punk - DIY and pop-punk - in the capital. In Tyumen and the Tyumen region the percentage of negative attitude towards metal heads - about one-third of the respondents -is higher. This phenomenon is explained by the fact that metal heads’ subculture is one of the most popular musicalimage subcultures in this region. The conflict between the metal heads’ subculture and youth provincial mainstream - gopniks - is permanent.


Figure 2:The distribution of the respondents negative to youth subcultures (% of the number surveyed in the region).

Such rejection of the “alien” groups clearly demonstrating their social identity, can be explained from the viewpoint of the social identity theory, more specifically, the theory of group discrimination of Tajfel. Intergroup discrimination, from their point of view, occurs even when their own personality interests are absolutely not affected and are not connected with the fact of favour to in-group; there is no inter-group competition and there is no previous or current hostility among groups. The only purpose of such discrimination, according to Tajfel is determining differences among groups in favor of their own [24]. In other words, image youth subcultures cause their immediate perception as out-groups not relevant to groups of "normal", "ordinary" youth. This generates the desire of non-subcultural young people to acquire more positive colour for their own social identity by comparison with certain out-groups and discrimination of the latter, even if their scope, goals and interests do not contradict. It is noteworthy that the negative attitude to youth subcultures of such orientation is expressed by male respondents. Almost half of the surveyed young people’s negative attitude to emo and Goths, actively using androgynous aesthetics, trying to combine the characteristics of both sexes in its image, gives evidence of strong gender stereotypes of behavior and appearance in the minds of young people and of the importance of traditional masculine attitudes to modern Russian students. The negative attitude to punks and metalheads dates back to the emergence and development history of youth subcultures in the USSR. Punk and metal, along with almost dead today hippie subculture are the first youth subcultures, which came to Russia during perestroika, and having been referred to as "informal". Conservative views of major part of the population, educated in traditions of the Soviet epoch did not allow forming a neutral attitude to the existence of these groups, so today's rejection of these subcultures was a priori formed in the Soviet times.

Students are less aware of subcultures, mainly popular in megalopolises (freaks and rivetheads), which are closed communities (role players and BDSM), or do not have style and values clearly differentiated from other subcultures’ (downshifters). The attitude to these subcultures is practically not formed. However, in the capital cities the attitude to freaks is more clearly shaped. So, 35.7% of the students of St. Petersburg Academy of Public Service have a negative attitude to them, while in other cities this figure is around 20%. This phenomenon is explained by the enormous differences between the spiritual world and social behavior of future civil servants and young people who consider themselves freaks.


Today, in developed societies, the norm is the situation of subcultural pluralism, when the society is an aggregate of coexisting ethnic, professional, religious, territorial, and youth subcultures, each of which has its own picture of the world, including its own system of norms and values, attitudes, beliefs and interests. The method of typological analysis used allows speaking about its effectiveness for research of intrasubcultural differentiation, the possibility of its further application to study other complex youth associations both in global and globolocal scales.

The qualitative research methods allowed us to identify a number of basic factors determining the specificity of glocalization of global youth subcultures and movements to determine the phases of their dynamics. Mass survey demonstrated Russian youth’s lack of tolerance to non-criminal youth communities, not related to entertainment cultural mainstream (only about 40% of the students surveyed are neutral to them, the others show negative attitude).

Plans for Future Research

The combination of quantitative and qualitative research strategies helped to identify some features, but did not fully contribute to the achievement of desired outcomes. During further investigation of this issue it seems appropriate to refer to cross-cultural forms of research using anthropological methods.


The article was supported by grant RFH # 15-03-00284a “Image of the future in the selection algorithm of social mobility of modern Russian youth ".


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