Readings: Haenfler “Chapter 2: Skinheads The Symbolism of Style & Ritual,” pp. 1729.
often, our image of subculturalists rests upon stereotypes, oversimplified generalizations applied to all members of a group.
Stereotypes are often based on distorted facts, halftruths, and even outright lies
Origins of Skinhead
Roots of Skinhead Culture Rude Boys and Mods
subcultures often evolve into new forms, adopting fresh styles and changing to fit different times and places
skinhead lineage begins with the Teddy Boys, fashionable British youth who sported "Edwardian coats, tight pants, and very
short hair styles". They enjoyed drinking and dancing to the newly popular rock and roll, and their style appropriated a
wealthy facade which contradicted their working class roots
After the Teds came the Mods and the Rockers
Mods rode scooters (usually Vespas), wore trendy clothing, frequented dance clubs, and listened to bands such
as The Who and The Kinks, embracing the future even as they struggled against the constraints of their mostly working class
Rockers, riding motorcycles in their leather jackets, fought their rival Mods for territory, symbolizing for Mods a
clinging to the past.
Eventually the "hard mods" who were more working class than their counterparts, became the skinheads
roots of skinhead culture can be traced to people of colour, especially black Jamaican immigrants to the UK
British youth fused the Ted and Mod styles with the Jamaican "Rude Boy" culture
Rude Boys were a 1960's Jamaican subculture of youth trying to get by in the poverty and unemployment of the post
independence era. Frustrated by a declining economy and disappointed by the lack of expected improvements after the British
departure, many youths turned to crime and violence
Working Class English Skins
while the teds and the mods tended to emulate upper class fashions and lifestyles, temporarily escaping their workday lives,
skinheads celebrated their working class roots.
wore denim jeans, work boots, white tank top, suspenders, flight jackets, and Fred Perry polo shirts or Ben Sherman button
ups. Also shaved heads, hence skinheads.
avid football (soccer) supporters
female skinheads, called Chelseas, have shaved heads but retain bangs or a "fringe" of hair. Fashion includes bleached hair,
plaid/checkers skirts, and flight jackets and denim jeans
Structural Context and Subcultural Emergence
structural context: the historical, social, political, cultural, and economic circumstances in a society that influence
subcultures emergence and form. The " big picture" in which subcultures exist
social class designates ones economic standing in a society and therefore many of ones opportunities
symbolic resistance: the theory that, say rather than being truly revolutionary in making actual political change,
subcultures all for symbolic challenges to society that in reality produced little social change
hegemony: the dominance of one group over another. Typically associated with the powerful wealthy classes and nations
exercising political and cultural domination over the rest of society in order to keep their power
blocked structural opportunities: the theory that youth join deviant groups due to inadequate legitimate access to
society's rewards, including wealth and prestige, as well as decent jobs, Health Care, and luxury goods
though skinheads hold diverse ideologies, they tend to accept several core values related in one way or another to social class.
First and foremost, skinheads express working class pride. The value common sense, hard work, camaraderie, and worker unity,
distinguishing themselves from intellectuals and managers who they consider spoiled, lazy, or effeminate
pride is a general skinhead theme, but their pride in one's self, friends, f