There have been different suggested theories as to why subcultures are formed. Since it has been known as a social phenomenon, the social and political issues of a certain area have to be investigated in order to understand a reason behind its emergence.
The first theory of the formation of a subculture was developed in the 1920s by sociology scholars at the Chicago school. After the existence of a deviant behavior was explored the deviance was discussed as a product of social problems within society. According to this statement the subculture can be given a definition of a collective deviance.
The research had indicated that the subculturists were appeared to be young, middle class individuals, which describes their desire to act out in resistance to mainstream and hegemonic social values. The subcultures’ nature is based on protest to dominant cultural values. Since a certain self-identification is shared only among a tight group of individuals such phenomena as subculture is being perceived as an underground and exclusive movement.
However, in the digitized 21st century, due to the rise of the social media platforms the lines between subcultures and media-coined trend have started to blur. By being associated with an ‘underground’, subcultures have always been perceived unreachable for a ‘mass market customer’. Subcultures play a role of ‘home’ for those who have not found it within the dominant culture. Together with an ‘outsider’ status those people have been sharing beliefs, taste in fashion and music even despite having different backgrounds in domain culture. According to cultural historian David Muggleton subcultures can no longer exist within the ‘social media world’s’ frame the way they have always been before: “Whether apolitical, reactionary, or radical, subcultures of this type typically aim for exclusivity and distinction by defining themselves against the dominant or mainstream fashionable standards of the time” (2010). After becoming accessible to masses subcultures have lost their appeal and become nearly a trend. The ‘secret identities’ of subcultures are being mainstreamed by the key figures in fashion when used as a source of inspiration.
This thesis will analyze two case studies in order to further understand the nature of this topic. The first case looks into the formed subculture around the 90’s Russian rave scenes of St. Petersburg. The paper will discuss the reasons behind the 90s-rave comeback in Russia as well as the long-lasting effect of this particular subculture.
This case will also examine the extent to which the style of forgotten 90s rave scenes of St. Petersburg shaped the modern Russian rave look. The second case study will be looking at Gosha Rubchinsky a modern Russian designer of a label Gosha Rubchinsky.
He will be examined for the subject of Russian rave being more of a trend created by him rather than a newly formed subculture. AD1 Subsequently there will be discussed as to why the modern subcultures don’t have a long-lasting call on a base of the comparative analysis between the modern Russian rave subculture and its 90s predator. Subcultures were formed because of the rebellion of a certain group of people against the social system. If the social standards of those times when subcultures existed in their conventional form were to be compared to the modern fluid society the urge for such phenomena would substantially decrease. Unlike its 21st generation descendants the youth of the 20s century was not gifted with a various amount of styles to choose from. If to be more precise there existed only one ‘accepted’ style that everyone had to follow or otherwise you would end up being an outsider.
Subcultures were created by those who had found themselves different from the crowd and felt an urge to express their individuality through provocative outfits. AsAD2 was mentioned by dress historian Dick Hebdigein in his book ‘Subculture the Meaning of Style’: “The struggle between different discourses, different definitions and meanings within ideology is therefore always, at the same time, a struggle within signification: as struggle for possession of the sign which extends to even the most mundane areas of everyday life. …Style in subculture is, then, pregnant with significance. Its transformations go ‘against nature’, interrupting the process of ‘normalization’.
As such, they are gestures, movements towards a speech which offends the ‘silent majority’, which challenges the principle of unity and cohesion, which contradicts the myth of consensus”.(AD3 2012) The formation of style has a rebellious nature that has been developed by its wearers. In the modern world society subcultures lose their appeal due to the existence of various style directions. Instead of forming a subculture some people either prefer to stay independent or follow the mass media’s created mainstream wave. Currently Russia is going through a period of rapid and radical social and political changes. Being in the transition state people start losing their sense of belonging, which have risen a need for a new subculture to be formed.
After the Maidan Revolution in Ukraine in 2013 Russia has been treated as an enemy among all European nations, which led to the economic slowdown inside the state. It is known that any change in political or social system leads to crisis and rise of rebellious and aggressive movements. Due to the governmental system, the chances of being heard in Russia are very low, so instead of protesting on the streets some people are looking for alternatives to express their rage. AD4 A murky future of the state in combination with a political instability drowned people in depression. The ‘kids of chaos’ were looking for escape, a place where they could disappear with a like-minded crowd. The urge for such place was rising amongst Russian youth, which led to the resurgence of the rave subculture.
The rave movement was born in the 80s in the UK consisting of all-night parties and drug use to heighten the sensual experience. By being an underground and illegal phenomena, raves were found appealing by the Russian youths, which was still Soviet at that time. The St. Petersburg artist who were privileged to leave the country borders brought raves from the Western Europe to Russia. The rave subculture was adopted accordingly to the local cultural frame and has been developed into a massive cult in Russia.