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Taking pleasure seriously: the political significance of subcultural practice

Dimou, E. & Ilan, J. (2018). Taking pleasure seriously: the political significance of subcultural practice. Journal of Youth Studies, 21(1), pp. 1-18. doi: 10.1080/13676261.2017.1340635


This paper demonstrates that subcultural theory continues to provide a relevant and useful analysis of youth leisure practices and their political significance in contemporary society. It achieves this by analysing the theoretical antecedents to both subcultural theory and the post-subcultural theory that followed it. It is argued that the post-subcultural turn to studying affects and everyday lives resonates deeply with the Gramscian perspective informing subcultural theory. It is thus possible to interpret post-subculturalism as augmenting rather than negating its predecessor. Deploying an analysis that combines these perspectives allows for an account of contemporary youth leisure practices that demonstrates a number of different forms of politics explicated within the paper: a politics of identity and becoming; a politics of defiance; a politics of affective solidarity and a politics of different experience. Whilst not articulated or necessarily conscious, there is a proto-politics to youth leisure that precludes it from being dismissed as entirely empty, hedonistic and consumerist. This paper demonstrates how the lens of post-subculturalism focuses on the affective spaces where this politics is most apparent and provides a means of updating subcultural theory to understand contemporary youth practices.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This is an Accepted Manuscript of an article published by Taylor & Francis in Journal of Youth Studies on 19 Jun 2017, available online:
Publisher Keywords: Subcultural theory, post-subcultural theory, youth leisure, politics, affect
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs > Sociology & Criminology
Text - Accepted Version
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