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As early as 1950, David Riesman distinguished between a majority, "which passively accepted commercially provided styles and meanings, and a 'subculture' which actively sought a minority style ... and interpreted it in accordance with subversive values".[1] In his 1979 book Subculture: the Measuring of Style, Dick Hebdige argued that a subculture is a subversion to normalcy. He wrote that subcultures can be perceived as negative due to their nature of criticism to the dominant societal standard. Hebdige argued that subcultures bring together like-minded individuals who feel neglected by societal standards and allow them to develop a sense of identity.
In 1995, Sarah Thornton, drawing on Pierre Bourdieu, described "subcultural capital" as the cultural knowledge and commodities acquired by members of a subculture, raising their status and helping differentiate themselves from members of other groups.[2] In 2007, Ken Gelder proposed to distinguish subcultures from countercultures based on the level of immersion in society.[3] Gelder further proposed six key ways in which subcultures can be identified: through their often negative relations to work (as 'idle', 'parasitic', at play or at leisure, etc.); through their negative or ambivalent relation to class (since subcultures are not 'class-conscious' and don't conform to traditional class definitions); through their association with territory (the 'street', the 'hood', the club, etc.), rather than property; through their movement out of the home and into non-domestic forms of belonging (i.e. social groups other than the family); through their stylistic ties to excess and exaggeration (with some exceptions); through their refusal of the banalities of ordinary life and massification.[3]

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