chapter  1
29 Pages

The use of subculture as an analytical tool in sociology

Culture has several, often contradictory meanings and its ambiguity, conceptually, can be located in its differing uses throughout history. Williams (1961; 1973) has seen this in the context of the culture and society. Two basic, familiar definitions have arisen historically. Firstly, the classical perspective of using a cultural setting as a standard of excellence, a yardstick of sensitivity, intellect and manners developed in the bourgeois world, and this can be encapsulated in the notion of ‘high culture’. The other view which has its roots in anthropology is seen by Williams (1961, p. 57) as a

particular way of life which expressed certain meanings and values not only in art and learning, but also in institutions and ordinary behaviour. The analysis of culture, from such a definition, is the clarification of the meanings and values implicit and explicit in a particular way of life, a particular culture.