The book focuses on subcultures, in particular on youth music subcultures in the contemporary Czech Republic. It presents traditional and postmodern theories and approaches to the study of subcultures that have been developed both in the Western and Czech post-socialist contexts. It addresses issues of values, politicization of subcultures, their inner differentiation and relation to social structure and alternative lifestyles.
For case studies, the authors selected the four most prevalent music subcultures in the Czech Republic: punk, skinhead, techno and hip hop. They draw on qualitative data collected from in-depth and informal interviews with subculturalists, participant observation, and analysis of subculture-related media (fanzines, internet websites, song lyrics etc.). This ethnographic approach allows access to how participants in youth subcultures construct and interpret meaning.
The case studies follow the development of the particular subcultures in Czech society and their foreign influences; describe the subcultural styles (dress, music, dance, activities and so on); discuss subculturalists´ attitudes towards politics, religion, ideologies, and drug use; and document participants’ perception of subcultural social structures.
The final chapter compares these youth music subcultures in three ways: firstly, it examines what values and political values in particular the young people in subcultures have, if these subcultures form counter-cultures and how they perceive a mainstream culture. Secondly, it focuses on the structure of subcultures and their inner hierarchies based on subcultural capital, class, gender and race differentiation and their relation to stratification of society. Thirdly, it compares young people’s lifestyles and their use of leisure time, with a special focus on recreational drug use and community formation. The final chapter also attempts to explain to what extent Czech youth subcultures fit in with the traditional and post-subcultural theories, and how they differ from subcultures in capitalist societies because of their post-socialist legacies.