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Culture, Subculture, and Their Differences Essay

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Updated: Jul 15th, 2020


Culture refers to a group of people who are joined together by similar cultural ties. It describes the social heritage of a particular group of people. Culture provides people with ways in which they can easily solve their own problems which result when they interact with each other as well as with their environment. The manner in which people think, act, feel and perceive other cultures depend on the influence of their own culture. These attributes are also passed on to future generations through teaching and immersion. It is through a culture that people devise what is acceptable and what is not acceptable, right or wrong, and what is important or unimportant (Jenks 45).

People who belong to the same culture share the same assumptions, knowledge, values, behavior, language and dress. This is an indication that people who belong to the same culture engage in similar activities together. The different activities that people across the world engage in lead to the existence of different. Therefore, since different cultures engage in different activities, which is acceptable in one culture may be unacceptable in another culture (Turner and Rojek 65). The difference in the practices that different cultures engage in often leads to disagreements between cultures.

Culture has a significant influence on the way that people live. Culture is known to influence the manner in which people interact socially. It also affects people’s family life and shapes people’s personalities and attitudes. Culture is very broad in scope. There are various characteristics that are associated with culture. These include language, Art and Science, Spirituality, Social Activities, Thought, and Interaction (Gudykunst 65). Language is the oldest medium of communication that has enabled people to express themselves to each other for centuries.

People who belong to the same culture, therefore, speak in a common language. It has also been noted that people who belong to the same culture practice the same art and science (Jenks 32). People who belong to a similar culture also have a common way in which they perceive and understand their environment. They also engage in similar festivals and life-celebrating events (Muggleton 34). It is, therefore, true that culture has a lot of influence on the way of life of people. It is the one that shapes the way in which different people in different parts of the world relate to each other.

Culture plays a very important role in influencing the manner in which human beings conduct their daily activities and the way in which they relate with each other. Culture is known to provide a background to various factors that influence people’s way of life such as social class and the family (Gudykunst 12). The manner in which people who belong to different social classes and families relate is as a result of cultural influence.

For example, in the modern world, the different perceptions that consumers have regarding different products being offered in the market are a result of cultural influence. In this perspective, there is a certain group of people who can consume a particular product while another group is restricted by culture to consume a particular product (Muggleton 34). This scenario is illustrated in the situation whereby Muslims do not consume pork because of the restrictions imposed by their culture.


Subculture refers to a subgroup of people who are distinguished by residence, religion, ethnic background, and status. There are certain societies that criticize subcultures because subcultures are said to act against the dominant standards of a society. Subculture normally brings together a group of people who are like-minded and who feel that their society has neglected them. As a result, such people enter into a subgroup which enables them to develop a sense of uniqueness. People who engage themselves in a subculture mostly aim at raising their status and knowledge so that they can differentiate themselves from the larger cultural background (Muggleton 32). There are various ways in which subcultures can be identified.

The punk subculture is a perfect illustration of a subculture. People who belong to the punk subculture are known to express themselves in the form of fashion, clothing, dance, film and literature. The punk subculture is said to have originated from punk rock. People who belong to the punk subculture often love listening to aggressive rock music. Punks are also said to cover the political spectrum whereby they demonstrate trends such as anti-capitalism, anti-racism, anti-militarism and socialism. The mode of clothing, body modification, and hairstyles that these people adopt are also outrageous (Jenks 32). Punks, therefore, seem to act contrary to the expectations of other members of society.

When people develop negative impressions of the activities that their society undertakes they are said to be in a subculture. In this perspective, such people do not participate in the activities that other members of society engage in. Instead, they either remain idle or engage in other leisure activities. People belonging to a subculture often have negative relations with their social class. In this perspective, they tend to engage in activities that do not conform to the traditional activities of their social class. They also move out of their homes and engage with other social groups that are not in any way related to their original social class (Muggleton 34). These attributes are found in those people who are members of the punk subculture

A subculture is normally characterized by the value that a particular group of people attaches to activities such as music and clothing. The members of a subculture often have affectations which they use to identify them with a particular subculture. The dominant culture often has a different interpretation of the affectations that the members of the subculture adopt. In most cases, the various affectations that are adopted by the members of different subcultures are often not welcome by the dominant culture.

In this perspective therefore, the members of the subculture are therefore not treated as members of the dominant culture especially when they keep on violating the rules and regulations that are stipulated in the dominant culture (Turner and Rojek 43). In order for people to identify themselves with a particular subculture, people use styles such as fashions, argot and mannerisms (Jenks 46). In this perspective, therefore, the punk subculture can be observed to act according to the expectation of the society

Subcultures are prevalent at various levels of an organization. This means that it is possible for multiple subcultures to exist in a particular culture. For example, there is a large number of Americans who exercise the punk subculture. In order to ensure that the dominant cultures in society continue to operate, the various subcultures that emerge in different societies need to be regulated.

From this analysis therefore, it is true that there is a significant difference between culture and subculture. Therefore, a person can be able to choose which subculture to participate in but is it is not for him to choose his own culture.

Works Cited

Gudykunst, William B. Bridging Differences: Effective Intergroup Communication. New York: SAGE, 2004. Print.

Jenks, Chris. Subculture: The Fragmentation of the Social. New York: SAGE, 2005. Print.

Muggleton, David. Inside Subculture: The Postmodern Meaning of Style. New York: Berg, 2000. Print.

Turner, Bryan S and Chris Rojek. Society and Culture: Principles of Scarcity and Solidarity. New York: SAGE, 2001. Print.

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