A Subculture Case Study Analysis

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Subcultures made life and research interesting in the 20th century and have continued to do so in the 21st century, a fact that is highly evident in the context of the Australian Bra Boys. As much as subcultural critical edge and resistant nature has faced an eminent diminish after the 1970s, the contemporary times of economic and political upheavals, unemployment that the youth face, and the cuts in budget seemingly have resulted in the return of the urgency of subcultural practices (Baker, Buttigieg & Robards, 2015, p. 21). However, the case of expression by the Bra Boys as resistance to the mainstream has a clear relation to the labelling theory. Therefore, similar cultural expression processes have fundamentally continued to be in existence (Dhoest, Malliet, Haers & Segaert, 2015, p. 32). This paper offers a ground for the understanding of subcultural processes across the Australian context, the diversity in individual views and opinions not only on the nature but also on the dynamics of the Bra Boys, and the main questions on youth subcultures and their significance as resistance to the mainstream.

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Bra Boys

Having started in the 1990s as a surfie gang, the Bra Boys are currently in evolution to a “brotherhood” in which members are a cultural landscape of the modern bay Maroubra. They released a documentary on their lifestyle as being in possession of an own label of clothing and engagement in community activism to ensure improvement in the lives of the citizens of Maroubra. However, the Bra Boys are also fiercely protective of their belief besides being highly suspicious of the outsiders. As a result, they are popular for being violent with reports of their engagements in such activities as murder, assaults, and drug smuggling.

Subculture as Resistance to the Mainstream

As much as the rise in post-punk scenes and club subcultures in the 1980s was an inspiration to many individuals to engage in a critical analysis of the significance of the traditional theory of subculture, the Australian context of subculture has always been resistant to the mainstream (Muncie, 2016, p. 35). However, the recent post-subcultural thought lines are critical of the 1960s and the 1970s approaches developed in Australian, probably owing to the fact that it is romanticism of such elements as group identity, style, and political resistance (Baker, Buttigieg, &Robards, 2015, p. 92). Moreover, some of the reasons are attributed to the fact that it is virtually in an exclusive address of the subcultural practices of the Australian youths (An, 2015, p. 195). As much as post-subcultural perspectives are dismissive of the concepts, the traditional subcultural theory is still relevant, especially in describing the contemporary Australian subculture as resistance to the mainstream. However, the case of the Bra Boys as resistance to the mainstream draws expressions from the labelling theory. The labelling theory offers an explanation to why the behavior of individuals clashes with social provisions as in the case of Bra Boys. For example, the individuals who associate with the Bra Boys in receipt of their protection are definitely members of the fellowship and tend to recruit the behavior of the gang in their own. Therefore, as Goode and Ben-Yehuda (1994, p. 38) believe, it is of significance that individuals remain cautious, tentative, and modest about statements they make in regards to what is true and real in the material setting, as much as one could be confident that some subcultural expressions  are true whereas others are not.

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As much as the Australian cultural research has not completely engaged critically with the specific tenets in the post cultural turn in any sense of wholesale, a number of the manifestations of the Australian youth subculture, especially the Bra Boys, have shown tendencies that warrant them to be in a position, which is closer to the theoretical and the empirical terrain of post subculture as opposed to subculture (An, 2015, p. 195). Cantilon (2015, p. 190) believes that in the mainstream clubbing milieu of Australia, mating rituals of the Bra Boys work in an attempt to create  a traditional normative dynamics of gender by offering unimaginable privilege to the masculine desire and sexual expression. According to labelling theory, the labelled individuals could incorporate the label into their self-concept in such sexual expressions. However, at the same time, it denies women similar opportunities to engage in a free exercise of sexual agency. Similarly, Pavlidis (2015, p. 205) is of the belief that  the concept is of significance in the understanding of the complex issues of management and governance that entangles the social engagements in Australia, as women make attempts to have adaptations to the Bra Boys.

Therefore, with a clear understanding of the subcultural theory in addition to its adaptation for application in making a critical analysis not only of style but also of violence-based youth subcultures, the case study of the Bra Boys is a presentation in the examination and development of the key issues that makes subculture resistant to the mainstream (Blackman, 2014, p. 501). However, with a critical analysis of the case of Bra Boys, it is clearly evident that the application of subculture in the contemporary context of the Australian setting is apparently more grounded in the semantic convenience of the specific term as opposed to any specific critical engagement surrounding the fit between subculture and the specifics of the contemporary subculture of the youth in Australia. Therefore, with a change in the post-subcultural turn towards a greater establishment in the youth cultural scholarship in Australia, there have been hopes that the new analytical modelsand conceptual frameworkswould be under development to ensure sensitivity not only to the local subcultural dynamics but also to features of the Australian youth subculture (Fürst, 2015, p. 238). Moreover, it would ensure sensitivity to its points of coverage in the global trends in subculture, music, and the leisure and lifestyles that are in association to subcultures.

In viewing subculture as a resistance to the mainstream, the subcultural theory is reinterpreted in the context of the Bra Boys subculture (Lane, 2017, p. 12495). It is therefore vital to know how to redefine subcultural resistance relative to the recent practices not only of cultural production but also of entrepreneurship. Moreover, the redefinition of subculture relative to the contemporary Australian cultural practices is of significance. In making these redefinitions, it is evident in the contemporary Australian hybrid and in the landscape of the global media; Bra Boys have not only assimilated production practices but also production, which were traditionally in consideration as the mainstream (Guțu, 2017, p. 920). In regards to the redefinition of subcultural resistance relative to the recent practices, it is apparent that the explicit significance of neo-Marxist frameworks of ideological struggles is of great limitation in the contemporary Australian context. Therefore, it is now difficult to make a discovery of the elements of either radical political protest or of the autonomous do-it-yourself in most contemporary outlets of the Australian subculture (Ali, 2015, p. 152). Most researchers are of the belief that low social class has played a significant part in the labelling of individuals as members of the Bra Boys subculture. However, in the industries of creation, new models of business are on the rise and they have a close resemblance of the do-it-yourself approach. Likewise, there is emergence of new forms of civic action in resemblance of protest movements. Moreover, regards to the redefinition of subculture relative to the contemporary Australian cultural practices, the Bra Boys have lost their social radical resistance edge owing to the fact that their practices are becoming more market oriented (Epstein, 2016, p. 13). For instance, Pavlidis (2015, p. 206) indicates barriers to the participation of women and girls in Bra Boys activities are not only cultural but also are structural. Therefore, there is no much sense in the use of distinction between subculture and the daily cultural engagements. As much as the investigation of the daily cultural engagements has recently deviated away from the study of the only available mundane, the subcultural investigation has recently shifted away from being merely the study of the extraordinary (Baker, Buttigieg, &Robards, 2015, p. 21). As a result, the boarders between the specific domains have continuously become blurry hence not only warrant questioning but also warrants reestablishment. According to recent studies in the Australian context, the Bra Boys are not the main force propagating white male heterosexual adolescents, but rather includes such parties as the adults, women, LGBT people, and individuals of a variety of ethnic origins (Dhoest, Malliet, Haers & Segaert, 2015, p. 32). Therefore, studying subculture in the contemporary Australian context involves the study of culture of a variety of social clusters, which are not only intertwined with one another but also with the global mass culture.

Conclusion

The main questions on youth subcultures and their significance as resistance to the mainstream include the redefinition of subcultural resistance relative to the recent practices not only of cultural production but also of entrepreneurship in addition to of subculture relative to the contemporary Australian cultural practices.As much as the Australian cultural research has not completely engaged critically with the specific tenets in the post cultural turn in any sense of wholesale, a number of the manifestations of the Australian youth subculture have shown tendencies that that warrant them to be in a position, which is closer to the theoretical and the empirical terrain of post subculture as opposed to subculture. Moreover, regards to the redefinition of subculture relative to the contemporary Australian cultural practices, the Bra Boys have lost their social radical resistance edge owing to the fact that their practices are becoming more market oriented.

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  1. Ali, N., 2015,‘Outsiders and Onlookers: Formulations of Girlhood’ in Two Novels by Mariko Tamaki.Jeunesse: Young People, Texts, Cultures, vol. 7 no. 1, pp.150-157.
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