Subcultures 次文化研究

Instructor: Teri Silvio 司黛蕊

Fall Semester, 2005


This course will examine the category of “subculture” and some of the theoretical issues it raises. Questions we will consider include: What counts as a subculture, and what are the ideological stakes in different definitions? What definitions of “mainstream” or “dominant” culture are implied by different definitions of subculture? How can the concept of subculture be useful, or limiting, in non-Western contexts?

The course will compare methodological, as well as theoretical, approaches to subculture studies. Students will receive basic training in ethnographic methods (eg, interviewing, questionnaires, participant-observation) and ethnographic writing, and discuss the epistemological and political questions raised by these methods.


1. Class participation (10%) Students are expected to attend all classes and do the required readings. If you have a legitimate excuse for missing a class, please notify me before class, if possible. Students will be given higher marks for productive participation, that is, asking interesting questions and giving classmates productive feedback.

2. In-class presentations on readings (30%): Students will give in-class presentations on selected assigned readings. These presentations will include a summary of the author’s argument and the student’s reaction to the article. Presentations should consider the following questions: How is the author defining subculture, what is subculture’s implied “other”? What is the author’s research methodology, and how does the methodology relate to the theoretical framing of the argument? What are some ways that you can imagine this argument being applied to your own research interests? Presentations should also include a list of questions to initiate class discussion. A 1-2 page written review should be turned in at least one day before the in-class presentation. Each student should present on at least 4 readings.

3. Ethnographic project (60%):

a. Research proposal (10%): Each student will complete an ethnographic research project on a specific subculture. At least two weeks before the last class, each student will first present a project proposal. The proposal should outline why the student is defining their subject as a subculture. The student should formulate a specific, answerable question for research, and state why this question is signficant. The proposal must also outline and justify the research methods that the student will use, and give projected possible conclusions. Proposals will be presented in class, and classmates should give constructive feedback.

b. Term paper (50%): Each student will turn in a final paper after completing their proposed research.


1. (9/13) Introduction to course; introduction to Chicago School and Goffman

2. (9/20) Deviance and stigma


Goffman, Erving. Stigma: Notes on the Management of Spoiled Identity. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, Inc. 1963. Pp.1-40, 105-147

In-class film: Velvet Goldmine

3. (9/27) the Birmingham School


Hebdige, Dick. Subculture: The meaning of style. London: Methuen, 1979. Pp.1-73.

Thomas Shaw, “The Semiotic Mediation of Identity.” Ethos (1):83-119.

4. (10/4) Hebdige 2


Hebdige, Subculture, pp. 73-140

林怡伶, “複製或原真? 主流與非主流流行音樂之事實與迷思.” 中外文學 25(2) (民85.7): 10-31.

5. (10/11) Publics and counterpublics


Warner, Michael. Publics and Counterpublics. NY: Zone Books, 2002. “Publics and Counterpublics,” pp. 65-124.

Berlant, Lauren and Michael Warner, “Sex in Public.” in Warner, Publics and Counterpublics. NY: Zone Books, 2002: 187-208.

Hansen, Miriam. “Unstable Mixtures, Dilated Spheres: Negt and Kluge’s The Public Sphere and Experience, Twenty Years Later.” Public Culture 5.2 (1993): 179-212.

6. (10/18) Camp


Sontag, Susan. “Notes on Camp” [1964]. Reprinted in Camp: Queer Aesthetics and the Performing Subject, a Reader, ed. Fabio Cleto. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1999: 53-65.

Dyer, Richard. “It’s Being So Camp as Keeps Us Going” [1977]. Reprinted in Camp: Queer Aesthetics and the Performing Subject, a Reader, ed. Fabio Cleto. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1999: 110.

Flinn, Caryl. “The Deaths of Camp” 1995] Reprinted in Camp: Queer Aesthetics and the Performing Subject, a Reader, ed. Fabio Cleto. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1999: 433-457.

Ludlam, Charles. “Ridiculous Theater Manifesto”

7. (10/25) Class formations


Thompson, E.P. Customs In Common: Studies in Traditional Popular Culture. NY: The New Press, 1993. “Introduction: Custom and Culture,” pp.1-15.

Stallybrass, Peter and Allon White, The Politics and Poetics of Transgression. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press, 1986. “Bourgeois Hysteria and the Carnivalesque, ” pp. 171-190.

Williams, Raymond. Marxism and Literature, NY: Oxford University Press, 1977. “Dominant, Residual, and Emergent” and “Structures of Feeling.” pp. 121-135.

Gates, Hill. “Ethnicity and Social Class,” in The Anthropology of Taiwanese Society, ed. Emily Martin Ahern and Hill Gates. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 1981: 241-281.

8. (11/1) Fieldwork methodology and ethics


Jackson, Bruce. Fieldwork. Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 1987. Part Two, pp. 63-106.

Constable, Nicole. Romance on a Global Stage: Pen Pals, Virtual Ethnography, and “Mail Order” Marriages. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2003. Chapter 2 “Ethnography in Imagined Virtual Communities”: 31-62.

Briggs, Charles. Learning How to Ask: A Sociolinguistic Appraisal of the role of the interview in social science research. Cambridge University Press, 1986. Chapter 3, pp,39-60.

9. (11/8) Problems in “outsider” and “insider” ethnography


Clifford, James. The Predicament of Culture: Twentieth-Century Ethnography, Literature, and Art. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 1988. “On Ethnographic Authority”: 21-54.

Humphreys, Laud. “The Sociologist as Voyeur.” [1970] Reprinted in The Subcultures Reader, ed. Ken Gelder and Sarah Thornton. NY: Routledge, 1997: 231-245.

Narayan, Kirin. “How ‘Native’ is a Native Anthropologist?” American Anthropologist 5(3), 1993: 671-686.

Weston, Kath. “The Virtual Anthropologist.” In Anthropological Locations: Boundaries and Grounds of a Field Science, Akhil Gupta and James Ferguson, eds., Berkeley: University of California Press, 1997.

10. (11/15) Racial subcultures


Rose, Tricia. Black Noise: Rap Music and Black Culture in Contemporary America. Hanover, NH: Wesleyan University Press, 1994. Chapters 1, 2, 4 – pp. 1-61; 99-145.

Deloria, Philip. Playing Indian. New Haven : Yale University Press, 1998. Chapter 5, “Hobby Indians, Authenticity, and Race in Cold War America,” Chapter 6 “Counterculture Indians and the New Age.” Pp. 128-180.

Newitz, Annalee. “White Savagery and Humiliation, or a New Racial Consciousness in the Media.” In White Trash: Race and Class in America, Matt Wray and Annalee Newitz, eds. NY: Routledge, 1997: 131-154.

11. (11/22) Fandom


Jenkins, Henry. Textual Poachers: Television Fans and Participatory Culture. NY: Routledge, 1992. Chapters 1, 8

Dyer, Richard (1986). Heavenly Bodies: Film Stars and Society. London, MacMillan Press. Chapter 3, “Judy Garland and Gay Men.” (pp.141-194)

Fiske, John. “The Cultural Economy of Fandom.” In The Adoring Audience: Fan Culture and Popular Media, ed. Lisa A. Lewis. NY: Routledge, 1992: 30-49.

Grossberg, Lawrence. “Is There a Fan in the House? The Affective Sensibility of Fandom.” In The Adoring Audience: Fan Culture and Popular Media, ed. Lisa A. Lewis. NY: Routledge, 1992: 50-65.

12. (11/29) guest lecture

13. (12/6) Globalization


Cornyetz, Nina. “Fetishized Blackness: Hip-hop and Racial Desire in Contemporary Japan.” Social Text 41 (Winter 1994):113-139.

Condry, Ian. “Japanese Hip-hop and the Globalization of Popular Culture.” In Urban Life: Readings in the Anthropology of the City, ed. George Gemelch and Walter Zenner. Prospect Heights, IL: Waveland Press, 2002: 372-387.

Farrer, James. “Dancing through the Market Transition: Disco and Dance Hall Sociability in Shanghai.” In The Consumer Revolution in Urban China, ed. Deborah S. Davis. Berkeley, CA: University of California Press, 2000: 226-249.

Gómez-Peña,Guillermo. “The Virtual Barrio @ the Other Frontier: (or The Chicano Interneta). In Technicolor: Race, Technology, and Everyday Life, ed. Alondra Nelson and Thuy Linh N. Tu. NY: New York University Press, 2001: 191-198.

14. (12/13) Gender and sexuality


McRobbie, Angela and Jenny Garber, “Girls and Subcultures.” [1975] Reprinted in The Subcultures Reader, ed. Ken Gelder and Sarah Thornton. NY: Routledge, 1997: 112-120.

Kinsella, Sharon (1995). “Cuties in Japan,” in Women, Media and Consumption in Japan, ed. Lise Skov and Brian Moeran. Honolulu: U. Hawai’i Press. Pp. 220-254.

Rose, Black Noise, chapter on women rappers

Jenkins, Textual Poachers, Chapter 6 “Welcome to Bisexuality, Captain Kirk” pp. 185-222.

McLelland, Mark. Male Homosexuality in Modern Japan: Cultural Myths and Social Realities. Richmond: Curzon, 2000. Chapter 4 “the Love Between ‘Beautiful Boys’ in Women’s Comics,” pp. 61-88; Chapter 6, “Images of Homosexuality in the Gay Media,” pp. 123-160..

15. (12/20) In-class proposal presentations

16. (12/27) In-class proposal presentations and wrap-up
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