Cultures, Subcultures, and Countercultures: Crash Course Sociology #11

Cultures, Subcultures, and Countercultures: Crash Course Sociology #11

How many cultures are there in the world? We’ve talked a lot about the things that
make a culture a culture – things like norms
and symbols and languages. But we haven’t really discussed how you
lump all those little things together and say, yes,
these are the things that belong together – these things are culture A, and
these other things are culture B. So, what are the rules of culture? Well, culture isn’t just about nationality,
or the language you speak. You and another person can live in the same
country and speak the same language, and still
have totally different cultural backgrounds. Within a single country, even within a single
city, you see lots of different cultures, and each person’s cultural background will
be a mishmash of many different influences. So, there really isn’t – and never will be – a single,
agreed-upon number of cultures that exist in the world. But that doesn’t mean we can’t recognize
a culture, and understand cultural patterns
and cultural change, and think about how different cultures
contribute to the functioning of society. [Theme Music] Are you more likely to spend your free time
at a football game, or at a modern art gallery? Do you watch NCIS or True Detective? Do you wear JC Penney or J Crew? These distinctions – and many more like them –
are just one way of distinguishing between cultural
patterns, in terms of social class. Because, yes, Class affects culture,
and vice versa. So one way of looking at culture is by examining
distinctions between low culture and high culture. And OK, yeah, those are kinda gross sounding
terms. But I want to be clear: High culture does
not mean better culture. In fact, so-called low culture is also known as popular
culture, which is exactly what it sounds like: Low or popular culture includes the cultural behaviors and ideas that are popular with most people in a society. High culture, meanwhile, refers to cultural
patterns that distinguish a society’s elite. You can sort of think of low culture versus
high culture as the People’s Choice Awards
versus the Oscars. The Hunger Games probably weren’t gonna
be winning Best Picture at the Oscars. But they were massive blockbusters, and the
original movie was voted the best movie of
2012 by the People’s Choice Awards. By contrast, the winner of Best Picture at
the Oscars that same year was The Artist, a black and white silent film produced by
a French production company. Very different movies, very different types
of culture. Now, you can also look at how different types
of cultural patterns work together. The Hunger Games and The Artist may appeal
to different segments of society, but ultimately, they both fit into mainstream American media
culture. Mainstream culture includes the cultural
patterns that are broadly in line with a society’s
cultural ideals and values. And within any society, there are also
subcultures – cultural patterns that set apart a
segment of a society’s population. Take, for example, hipsters! They make up a cultural group that formed around the idea of rejecting what was once considered “cool,” in favor of a different type of cultural expression. Yeah, your beard and your fixed-gear bike, or your
bleach blonde hair and your thick-framed glasses – they’re all part of the material culture that signifies
membership in your own specific sub-culture. But, who decides what’s mainstream and what’s
a sub-culture? I mean, the whole hipster thing has gone pretty
mainstream at this point. Typically, cultural groups with the most power
and societal influence get labelled the norm, and people with less power get relegated to
sub-groups. The US is a great example of this. In large part because of our history as a country of immigrants, the US is often thought of as a “melting pot,” a place where many cultures come together to form a single combined culture. But how accurate is that? After all, each subculture is unique – and they
don’t necessarily blend together into one big cohesive
culture just because we share a country. And more importantly, some cultures are valued
more than others in the US. For example, everyone gets Christmas off
from school, because Christian culture holds
a privileged role in American society. That might not seem fair, if you’re a member of a
sub-culture that isn’t folded into mainstream culture. So, it’s not really a melting pot if one flavor
is overpowering all the other flavors. And this brings me to another subject: How
we judge other cultures, and subcultures. Humans are judgmental.
We just are. And we’re extra judgmental when we see
someone who acts differently than how we
think people should act. Ethnocentrism is the practice of judging one
culture by the standards of another. In recent decades, there’s been growing
recognition that Eurocentrism – or the preference
for European cultural patterns – has influenced how history has been
recorded, and how we interpret the lives
and ways of people from other cultures. So what if, rather than trying to melt all the cultures
into one, we recognize each individual flavor? One way to do this is by focusing research on
cultures that have historically gotten less attention. For example, afrocentrism is a school of thought
that re-centers historical and sociological study on the
contributions of Africans and African-Americans. Another option is expanding and equalizing
your focus. Instead of looking at behavior through the
lens of your own culture, you can look at it through
the lens of multiculturalism – a perspective that, rather than seeing society as a homogenous culture, recognizes cultural diversity while advocating for equal standing for all cultural traditions. In this view, America is less a “melting
pot” and more like a multicultural society. Still, the ways in which cultures and subcultures
fit together – if at all – can vary, depending on your
school of thought as a sociologist. For example, from a structural functionalist
perspective, cultures form to provide order
and cohesiveness in a society. So in that view, a melting pot of cultures
is a good thing. But a conflict theorist might see the interactions
of sub-cultures differently. Prioritizing one sub-culture over another can create
social inequalities and disenfranchise those who belong
to cultures that are at odds with the mainstream. It’s hard to encourage individual cultural
identities without promoting divisiveness. In the US at least, it’s a constant struggle. But sometimes, sub-groups can be more
than simply different from mainstream culture
– they can be in active opposition to it. This is what we call a counter-culture. Counter-cultures push back on mainstream culture
in an attempt to change how a society functions. Let’s go to the Thought Bubble to take a
trip back to one of the biggest counter-cultural
periods of the 20th century: the 1960s. In the United States, the 1960s were rife
with countercultures. It was a time of beatniks, and hippies, of
protests against the Vietnam war, and of protests
for civil rights and women’s liberation. These movements were often led by young people
and were seen as a rebellion against the culture
and values of older generations. This was the era of free love, where people
embraced relationships outside of the traditionally
heterosexual and monogamous cultural norms. Drug use – especially the use of psychedelic
drugs – was heavily associated with this sub-culture
and was celebrated in its popular culture – think Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds
or the Beat authors’ books about acid trips. But this counter-culture was also a push back
politically against mainstream culture. Many cornerstones of the politics of the American left
have their origins in the counter-culture of the 1960s: anti-war, pro-environmentalism,
pro-civil rights, feminism, LGBTQ equality. From the Stonewall riots to the Vietnam war protests,
‘60s counter-culture was where many of these issues
first reached the public consciousness. Thanks Thought Bubble! So, counter-cultures can often act as
catalysts for cultural change, especially if they
get big enough to gain mainstream support. But cultures change all the time, with or
without the pushback from sub-cultures and
counter-cultures. And different parts of cultures change at
different speeds. Sometimes we have what’s called a cultural
lag, where some cultural elements change more
slowly than others. Take how education works, for example. In the US, we get the summer off from school. This is a holdover from when this was a
more agricultural country, and children needed
to take time off during harvest. Today, there’s no real reason for summer
vacation, other than that’s what we’ve always done. So how does cultural change happen? Sometimes, people invent new things that change
culture. Cell phones, for example, have
revolutionized not just how we make phone calls,
but how we socialize and communicate. And inventions don’t just have to be material. Ideas, like about money or voting systems,
can also be invented and change a culture. People also discover new things. When European explorers first discovered tomatoes in Central America in the 1500s and brought them back to Europe, they completely changed the culture of food. What would pizza be without tomatoes?! A third cause of cultural change comes
from cultural diffusion, which is how cultural
traits spread from one culture to another. Just about everything we think of as classic
“American” culture is actually borrowed and
transformed from another culture. Burgers and fries?
German and Belgian, respectively. The American cowboy?
An update on the Mexican vaquero. The ideals of liberty and justice for all
enshrined in our founding documents? Heavily influenced by French philosophers
like Rousseau and Voltaire, and British philosophers like Hobbes and Locke, as well as by the Iroquois
Confederacy and its ideas of representative
democracy. Whether we’re talking about material culture
or symbolic culture, we’re seeing more and more aspects of culture shared across nations
and across oceans. As symbolic interactionists see it, all of
society is about the shared reality – the
shared culture – that we create. As borders get thinner, the group of people
who share a culture gets larger. Whether it’s the hot dogs we get from Germany or the jazz and hip hop coming from African traditions, more and more cultures overlap as technology and globalization make our world just a little bit smaller. And as our society becomes more global, the
questions raised by two of our camps of sociology, structural functionalism and conflict theory,
become even more pressing. Are the structural functionalists right? Does having a shared culture provide points
of similarity that encourage cooperation and
help societies function? Or does conflict theory have it right? Does culture divide us, and benefit some
members of society more than others? In the end, they’re both kind of right. There will always be different ways of
thinking and doing and living within a society –
but culture is the tie that binds us together. Today, we learned about different types of
culture, like low culture and high culture. We looked at different ways of categorizing
cultures into sub-cultures. We contrasted two different ways of
looking at cultural diversity: ethno-centrism and
multi-culturalism. We discussed the role of counter cultures
and explored how cultural change happens. And lastly, we looked at a structural
functionalist and a conflict theory perspective
on what cultures mean for society. Crash Course Sociology is filmed in the Dr. Cheryl C. Kinney Studio in Missoula, MT, and it’s made with the help of all these nice people. Our Animation Team is Thought Cafe and Crash
Course is made with Adobe Creative Cloud. If you’d like to keep Crash Course free for
everyone, forever, you can support the series at Patreon, a crowdfunding platform that allows
you to support the content you love. Speaking of Patreon, we’d like to thank all of our patrons in general, and we’d like to specifically thank our Headmaster of Learning David Cichowski. Thank you for your support.

100 thoughts on “Cultures, Subcultures, and Countercultures: Crash Course Sociology #11

  1. Please Crash course; do a playlist with Archaeology / anthropology. I'm currently studying archaeology at university, that genre applies so many different sciences like Sociology, geography, geology, psychology (in some instances), biology, chemistry, historical analysis, ethnology; basically almost anything that can be applied in order to help analyze history and date sites, artifacts or events properly. It would be very useful and interesting to see and hear it from your perspective, since I really fancy your videos in general.

  2. Well, there is a debate if fries originated as purely French, purely Belgian, or Franco-Belgian. Personally I think it was a Franco-Belgian regional thing, so no French fries in Flanders or Ostbelgien, or Basque country, Alsace, or Corsica.

  3. Only by preserving a culture "untouched", pure, in its core and fundamental traits, GLOBALIZATION wont hurt humankind originality and make all equally stupid and void as the school of frankfurt envisioned.

  4. She talks really fast. Its actually pretty hard to absorb what was said before the next sentence is already almost over. I kind of miss John Green's method of slowing down and pointed emphasizing a key line or take away. Reminds me of what Lindsey Ellis said about Bayhem. If what you're watching goes by at the same speed throughout and the same emphasis is placed on everything then you're brain can't distinguish what to retain and what not too.

  5. I don't believe culture binds us together, rather it binds us to the past. Humanism is an evolutionary step society needs to take, shedding constraints of culture. In my opinion.

  6. 86% of Sociology papers can't be reproduced, google "sociology/psychology replication crisis".

    It's not a science, it's a cult.

  7. "culture is what binds us together." so you can't have a nation without a common culture. so a melting pot is good?

  8. The structural functionalist or conflict theorist perspectives are both right; which one will hold more resonance is not a matter of truth, but a matter of power.

  9. Does multiculturalism always lead to socialism and Marxism? Because those who advocate for it usually are.

    Why do u think this is?

  10. There is a subculture I am a part of that doesn't exactly take place in the U.S.A., and also isn't really political. What might you know about the MOD subculture of the 60s? how exactly might they fit in socially for subculture? From what I know, mod basically makes up people who are incredibly self aware of their looks, dance to 50s and 60s American soul and jazz, while mixing in Italian Scooters and clothing. I know it really doesn't have any political significance, but I'm still curious!

  11. Would the American Deaf be considered a culture or a subculture? They have their own language, heroes of history, and cultural behaviors. Culture or subculture?

  12. Ugh…the idea that we get summer off due to farming children is a MYTH!
    If it were true, we would get the fall (harvest) and spring (planting) off.

  13. The best video i'll watch this year! thanks a lot for the clear explanation. keep on doing your valuable work!

  14. If their examples and references were not so profoundly (and ridiculously) American (JC Peney!??) these courses could be great for using in global classrooms!

  15. FYI Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds is not an anagram for LSD. John Lenin’s son bought home a drawing of his friend Lucy in the sky surrounded by diamonds.

  16. I watched this because I came up with a dance theme for homecoming, (culture color), and I wanted to learn about culture for any possible ideas but now I'm not really sure how I would use culture as a theme. Should I stick with one type of Culture? Or basically sum up Culture? Orrr…anyone feel free to reply

  17. The world is not as complicated as you are saying it is in your video. It is actually a very, very simple place 😉. African, Middle Eastern, Asian, Hispanic, and White people ALL make sense in everything they do 😉.

    (Using friend's account)

  18. Does anyone knows, what is the name of the teacher in the video? I want to quote this video in APA style

  19. NCIS! I feel like no one knows about that show or other shows I watch/watched, like Suits, White Collar, The Mentalist, Psych, Fringe, Lost, etc.

  20. Crash Course is one of the best educational youtube channel and i have recommended it to like a dozen of people so far. I am already done with with John Green at Crash Course US history and will definitely watch another Crash Course Series after this. Thank you Team Crash Course.

  21. Oooh the sixties 5:18 , currently generation gap it's technological, which is mass culture. Remember when mtv was bought by the big corporations? Well that's when it got from bad to worst and also the end of an era

  22. Feminism in America is in a weird spot right now, not being effective, focused or not having any reason to exist that cannot be debunked.

  23. Wow!!!! Not to be overly race conscious but I thought it was weird with the hand circle a part from the black hand there were soooo’ many light skinned(or near white)colored hands in the circle. That’s quite odd considering all the brown colored peoples in the world whether they be in portions of Central and South America, North America(Native America), North Africa, the Middle East, South Asia, Southeast Asia, the Pacific Islands or even in Southern Europe.

  24. Afrocentrism – The school of thought that RE-ENGINEERS historical and sociological study on the "contributions" of Africans and African-Americans.

  25. This was a pretty interesting video to go through a bunch of ideas really fast, but I had to change the video speed to 0.75 because normal speed was going too fast for me to be able to actually process what I was hearing. I forgot that youtube videos have that option, so helpful if any of you had the same problem as me. Cheers!

  26. Summer Break has nothing to do with farming; that's a myth. I grew up in a farm town, and farmers don't do anything during the summer. They planted in the spring, while I was in school, and they harvested in the fall, while I was in school. The farmer kids skipped school to work on the planting and harvest. I've seen other shows credit the roots of summer break to 19th century ideas of avoiding burnout, with the public schools modeling their calendars after the university system.

  27. You know when someone says one word so much that you realize how weird it sounds? I experienced that in the intro

    culture culture culture

  28. 1:00 I’d be in the art gallery sketching the art, listening to the match because I’m kinda introverted and don’t like large crowds but love art.

  29. We take summers off because of harvest? Since when is harvest in June, July and August? The information in this video about cultures, sub-cultures, counter-cultures is seriously flawed. America is a melting pot as we are a nation of immigrants, but through most of our history, those immigrants would assimilate into the one American society and this is what made us unique. Granted, there are a vast many sub-cultures in an assimilated society, but what the left is doing to day is to split us apart. The left's viewpoint which is the viewpoint of this video, that we should not be an assimilated one-nation, but a fractured nation full of various cultures and sub-cultures, and this is why instead of American flags, we are now seeing Mexican, Argentinian, Puerto Rican, Cuban flags, etc. Wearing a shirt to school with a Mexican flag is okay, but a shirt with an American flag is not. These are the issues and this junk that the left is spewing will destroy the country. But hey, that is what the left is all about anyway.
    And with regards to the young lady in this video, it is not her fault that she is spewing just what she was taught to believe in college.

  30. As a student of anthropology, I have learnt that culture is biological expectations. There is no such thing as sub cultures. The best way to look at it is the US disappeared then so would all subcultures. If some of these "subcultures" disappeared then American culture would still exist. Also American culture is best summarized as the myth of individualism.

  31. At the age of 31, I felt I've been a part of each one of these three descriptors in my search for, and eventual settling into, my identity.

    In 2004 when I was 15/16, I was heavily part of the emo/goth subculture group that pervaded high school at that time. Outfits were all black, my favorite bands were My Chemical Romance and Linkin Park, and my parents just didn't "get me".

    In 2008 when I was around 20, I discovered marijuana and spent the next 4 years with a different group as part of the 'counterculture' revival. I fully embraced the hippie moniker and loved the live Woodstock album and movies like Fear and Loathing. I engaged in free love and protests (and earned a 1.02 GPA!), with hippie stickers on my bumper and incense burning in the back seat.

    Finally, in 2012, I started to realize that those two sub and counter-cultures were pieces of who I am at my core, but not my identity. I went back to school and came out the other side a clean-cut, conservative finance guy who dresses like he stepped out of a J Crew magazine. Oh, and I finished with a 3.96 GPA (a far cry from my hippie days!).

    It was a fascinating time of discovery and changing different cultures to find where I truly fit, but I can say with certainty that I have felt at home here as I returned to my upper-middle-class roots these last 7 years. It was a wild journey, for sure.

  32. Mmmm, language is absolutely fundamental to a culture – you can't just gloss over it (actually you can and you did!). Also, who decided that we define subcultures by the amount of 'power' they have or don't have? All sounds very post-modern to me. This is a good video and well presented but the subtle political bias of the content is not really suitable for objective learning.

  33. Thanks for educating in a way that I don't feel like I am being propagandized to agree with a point of view.

    I would label myself a critical thinker who is often critical of our world society because I perceive it to be run by royal families then own these nations in governments and businesses openly proclaim that the worst they fight are against us.

    They promote NASA and environmentalism not because they care anything about We the people that they use those topics to sneak in their constant goal to depopulate the Earth so they can continue to bully the rest of us.

    I say all that so that the audience understands that it is not my goal to be argumentative or to feel ostracized from the majority of the population whom I feel would rather associate with the conventional way reality is described that is funded by these rich elites who openly proclaim that they're better than the rest of us.

    I am also critical of my personal behavior as well as the other truth-seeking citizen journalists like myself.

    so I am writing in this comments section today in order to extend an olive branch to other individuals within our world community in hopes that we could combine this critical conspiracy point of view with this area of studying human culture.

    Paradoxically because I feel the need to defend my own individuality and that aspect of the entire human species as it is being attacked by fake behavior that is promoted by the bank or run media and artificial intelligence pushing us all around towards this anti human point of view.

    Now that I've learned all this information like that NASA released a warfare of the future document that explains that the plan is for this banker run government to attack the people by 2025 I want to learn how to organize a viable folk community locally that is connected with other independent folk communities worldwide.

    I think that problems like drug addiction can be seen as part of consumer addiction which is a secular version of religious mind control.

    If divide and conquer pig alien dialectical tactics are used by the ruling class purses the consumer slave class then we should grow up and learn how to address these issues without being hateful or blaming anybody.

    my suggestion is that we refer to the existing corporate government system for what it is which it represents the will of the bankers and the royal families that own everything.

    I would like to help set up a folk business government using smartphones as well as offline systems so that we can represent ourselves and our unified efforts.

    I don't want my son to grow up in a world where he has to choose between two bad outcomes – go along with what is popular without question so you can be happy or face the truth which is ugly and feel ostracized in like you oppose 90 + percent of the people.

    I like what you said about how the intended design of America as far as we're concerned is to respect the diversity of individuals and groups in bringing out the best in all of us.

    I want to see what happens if you could get these different parties together in a folk version of the UN so that we are not following the propaganda from the media design to divide us but we are creating solutions.

    The main scam that I see in all sectors of life is the difference between talking about a good idea versus actually executing it.

    I still agree with the concept of a United States because even if I think that I understand things more correctly than a majority of people who I consider to be mind-controlled I know that it's not going to matter unless I can communicate and cooperate with the greater community.

    We need more unity that is gained through the hard work encountering people with different ideas in getting past our entrenched positions in the more that we directly work on what goes on in this world the more that we will be helping and the last we will be arguing in a way that is not beneficial for us as individuals or a group.

  34. i would love to see more videos about culture and culture studies snd philosophers like william raymond.. l s eliot.. marx.. hegel.. eagleton.. gramsci……etc 's views and definition of it

  35. I'm an Irish Polish Italian Catholic of the folk mass dem/ union variety.
    at school and since I've been inundated with nerd culture, but otoh I like actual subjects vs fandoms.

  36. To summarize: nothing about America is actually American, which is precisely what makes it so American.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *