chapter  III
18 Pages


Although, or perhaps because, the term 'subculture' has been used by anthropologists and sociologists in a variety of ways and contexts, it contains much ambiguity. There is a reasonable degree of consensus in its use among sociologists, but other social scientists and psychologists may be less familiar with its implications. The prefix 'sub' refers only to a subcategory of culture, a part of the whole; it does not necessarily indicate a derogation unless a particular subculture is viewed as undesirable by the members of the dominant or a contrary value system. For analytical purposes, the sociologist uses the term without a value judgement. In this section we seek to analyze the meaning of 'subculture' and to discuss its definition, with the hope that its conceptual meaning may be made more clear for future theory and research. This task appears particularly necessary in criminology where the subculture concept is being more and more used as both an a priori assumption and an a posteriori interpretation.