The Social Dynamics in the Construction of the Other: Young Adults’ Perceptions of Youth Subcultures and Cultural Diversity Cover Image

Социална динамика на конструирането на Другия. Възприятията на младите хора за младежките субкултури и културното многообразие
The Social Dynamics in the Construction of the Other: Young Adults’ Perceptions of Youth Subcultures and Cultural Diversity

Author(s): Ireri Armenta, Vihra Barova
Subject(s): Anthropology, Social Sciences, Customs / Folklore, Cultural Anthropology / Ethnology, Culture and social structure , Rural and urban sociology, Sociology of Culture, Sociology of Politics, Globalization, Identity of Collectives
Published by: Институт за етнология и фолклористика с Етнографски музей при БАН
Keywords: stereotypes; discrimination; prejudice; critical incidents; subcultures; post-subcultures; identity; cosmopolitan skills

Summary/Abstract: This paper discusses the dynamics of the construction of culture from the viewpoint ofyoung adults. These dynamics can be identified both at a macro level, across cultures,and at a micro level, within cultures. Essentialist view of culture as monolithic entitywith fixed values, beliefs and behaviors is a construct that seems to reproduce inthe formation of the image of the Other. Subcultures are contrasted with the socalled norms of mainstream culture, a view which denies the fluidity of culture asa dynamic social construct which can lead to stereotyping and prejudice againstpersons (Holliday 2011). In the fields of sociology and cultural studies, Othernessis related to the construction of identities. It rests on social and cultural hierarchiesand relations of power. “Strangers” are socially produced (Bauman 1998) and theirOtherness reflects the established categories of race, gender and class.The presented study allowed us to unravel the tensions arising from the Us-Them divide, which often leads to discrimination and prejudice. This qualitativeinvestigation explores young adults’ perceptions of subcultures and cultural diversitywith the use of interviews and critical incidents to approach the interviews. In thediscussion of critical incidents, or short stories (Arthur 2001), Bulgarian and Mexicanstudents were seen to relate their own stories to those of the subcultural and foreignOther, thus creating a reflective vision about the cultural difference. The discussionsdemonstrate the invention of successful strategies for avoiding stigmatization,stereotyping and discrimination. On the contrary, their discussions were conduciveto acceptance of differences regarding cultural formation and cultural display(Delanty 2009). The participants raised their voices against discourses that deny thecosmopolitan value of openness and respect, and equal rights of freedom of persons.

  • Issue Year: 2019
  • Issue No: 4
  • Page Range: 415-434
  • Page Count: 29
  • Language: Bulgarian