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Difference Between Counter culture and Sub culture

goth-nightclubCounter culture vs Sub culture

To understand the essential difference between the terms counter culture and sub culture a basic understanding of Latin roots is needed. The prefix ‘counter’ means against and ‘sub’ means under. Let’s take an in depth look at the differences

A counter culture is one that reacts against the prevalent culture in place and swings the pendulum in the opposite direction. In fact the term counter culture has a political implication that it is working directly against the mainstream culture in place to cause societal change.

A counter culture is different to the mainstream culture in their politics, norms, social beliefs, way of dress and social structures. A counter culture generally develops a large enough following to challenge the dominant culture of the time and they are actively working at odds with the mainstream culture.

A clear example of counter cultures throughout the last century might be the suffragettes and feminists, hippies and punk movements. All of these counter cultures have specific beliefs and values that fought to affect some kind of essential change to mainstream culture. The suffragettes fought to have the vote for women and later equal rights; the hippies broke down previously held gender stereotypes and protested against the Vietnam War and the punk movement of the seventies and early eighties sought to be anti-establishment and anti-capitalist.

A sub culture can have its own beliefs, norms and values, but they are generally able to exist within mainstream culture. That is, their political beliefs and social structures may not be as outspoken as those of a counter culture. Their beliefs or manner of being may be different enough to make them stand out, but they are not at odds with society.

Examples of sub cultures might be goths, emos, surfies, homies etc. Many sub cultures are based around aesthetics or common interest. Goths for example tend to identify themselves by dressing in black or dark colors and wearing pale makeup. Homies wear loose clothing and baseball caps or afro wraps.

Sub cultures tend to also share common interests and experience. For example you cannot be accepted as a homie if you don’t listen to rap music. Surfies like obsessing over weather and wave conditions and are often environmentalists.

1.Counter cultures are large movements that cause social change.
2.Sub cultures can exist within mainstream culture.
3.Counter cultures are against mainstream culture.
4.Sub cultures are united by common aesthetics, interests and experience.

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