This is a graded discussion: 5 points possible
due Nov 17
Subcultures -Brainstorm for the project
For this discussion, I would like you to list 3 subcultures you are thinking about doing
your project on. Add a description of each. After you have posted make sure you
comment on two other posts to gain full credit. Let them know that you think about their
possible subcultures. Do you have any information on them? Do you think any of them
would be really interesting to read about?
Choose a subculture that is easily recognized for it’s own, unique characteristics buy
“outsiders” (i.e. those who are not part of the subculture), and consists of a group of
people who all share the same worldview or beliefs, have a common goal or purpose,
are of the same nationality, etc. Choose a specific group to write about, rather than one
that has a really broad scope (e.g. a major religion would be too broad, but a specific
denomination, mosque, church or temple would be fine).
Remember that you must have access to the cultures you pick for interviews.
Also ill attach other students discussions later to leave comment for them.
And here’s the link for the video : Subculture vs counterculture | Society and Culture |
MCAT | Khan Academy https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qoE3OVy4Vo
Ethnography of a Subculture
Instructions and guidelines for project
For this assignment, you’ll learn about a subculture by observing and experiencing it firsthand (and participate in it).
Be you begin, review the following terminology in your textbook and/or lesson; ascribed vs. achieved status, cultural
materialism, cultural relativism, dialect, emic and etic, ethnography, gender, key informants, kinesics, participant
–observation, ritual, stratification, style shifting, subculture and symbol.
Choose a subculture that is easily recognized for it’s own, unique characteristics buy “outsiders” (i.e. those who are
not par t of the subculture), and consists of a group of people who all share the same worldview or beliefs, have a
common goal or purpose, are of the same nationality, etc. Choose a specific group to write about, rather than one
that has a really broad scope (e.g. a major religion would be too broad, but a specific denomination, mosque, church
or temple would be fine).
This assignment will allow you to practice an anthropological approach, which includes:
1. Participant-observation: try choosing a subculture for which you can attend an event or a ritual and, ideally
have the opportunity to participate in it. If this is not possible, interview your informants in a setting related to
their subculture or where their events/traditions take place (e.g. workplace, sacred place, studio, university
a. Open- ended interviews: in addition to making observations, you need to collect your data by
interviewing at least two people who are members of this subculture (face-to-face interviews are
the best!). Construct questions that allow your informants to provide you with detailed responses.
You must devise in-depth questions that are structured around a topic in the outline. Put a lot of
careful thought into this. You might find it necessary to interview your informant more than once to
collect enough data with which to write your paper.
2. Cross-cultural comparison, holistic perspective and applying cultural relativism: you’ll be doing this when you
address the section and follow instructions in the outline below.
The result will be a ‘mini- ethnography’ of a particular subculture within American society. An ethnography is not
the same thing as a research paper; you will bot be conducting a literature search for this assignment. Keep on
mind that this is an ethnography of a subculture/group/community, not of a particular tradition, ritual or holiday
(though your paper may include several of these, they should not form the main focus of your paper). For the
purpose of this assignment we’re broadening the definition of a subculture to include activities that might be of
interest to you (e.g. hobbies, sports, occupations, religious activities, etc.) Examples of past student ethnography
topics: firefighter, surfing, nursing, hip hop, reform Judaism, US Navy, a particular fraternity, Vietnamese-
American in Garden Grove, board gaming.
The only restrictions are that you must choose a subculture your are not already a part of, and students will not be
permitted to study a subculture with a focus on any of the following: violence or causing harm to others;
discrimination towards other groups; drugs or drug related topic; or sex/pornography.
● Choose at least two informants. This is not a research paper, but one that is based on information that you
will obtain through interviews, observations and if possible, participation. To use an unbiased approach,
interview your informants individually so they do not influence each other’s answers.
● Devise your own, open-ended questions that will allow you to obtain in-depth information to address all of
the sections below. Each individual will likely have a slightly different experience as a member of that
culture. Take advantage of that by tailoring your questions to your informants. In other words, ask each
person questions that pertain to their individual roles, positions or experiences in the subculture.
● Submit your informants’ responses with your paper. Whether you take notes by hand or make audio/video
recordings of your interviews, you must provided a typed transcription of your interview notes with your
assignment (including dates, times and places or your interviews at the top). Include them in a separate
section at the end of your paper (you can call it ‘interview notes’). Points will be deducted from assignments
without interview notes.
Your paper must be typed using Microsoft word or saved as a docx. Include each of the sections in the outline in the
next section and follow the format below:
● At least five pages in length
● Double spaced
● 12 point font
● Default margin (1” top/bottom. 1”left/right)
● Include interview notes at the end of your paper (include dates, times and places of the interviews at the
Outline Guidelines for the paper:
Make sure your paper is very detailed- as if I have never heard of the subculture before! Since you will be writing
about your own experience and understanding of this subculture, as well as describing the culture from others’
perspectives, you need to use both a first person and third person voice throughout the paper. Organize your paper in
the following six sections (include the heading/titles in your paper in the same order they occur below.
● Provide a brief description of the subculture (including the characteristics, attributes, etc. that unite member
of this group).
● Introduce your informants (not necessary to include their names, but describe their roles or positions in the
subculture and some brief details about them).
● Briefly describe when and where the interviews, events, etc. took place.
II. Worldviews, Ideals and Beliefs:
● Describe some of the worldviews, beliefs, values, attitudes, etc. shared by members of this subculture.
Consider whether they share a common way of thinking, philosophy, ideology, religion, etc. (e.g.
discrimination, common goals…)
III. Cultural Rule:
● Discuss several examples of this groups’ culture rules, and possibly unwritten rules ( this might be harder to
uncover, as unwritten rules are those which people don’t really recognize).
● Describe some of the status differences that exist in this subculture, or examples of stratification.
● Discuss any gender-related issues present in this community
IV. Traditions, Rituals and Symbols
● Include detailed descriptions of at least two traditions, rituals or other activities described by your informants
and/or that your observed or participated in.
● If possible discuss a ritual (religious or secular/non-religious) in detail, including an explanation of why it
qualifies as a ritual (i.e. what makes it ritualistic in nature?).
● Choose a particular aspect of a ritual/tradition/activity – such as an action, object, an article of clothing, a
color etc. – for which you can discover and describe:
● It’s symbolic significance (emic perspective) and the practical reason(s) behind it, or a cultural
materialist explanation for it (etic perspective).
● Consider whether this subculture uses specialized terminology, codes, jargon or slang that is unique to this
group. If so provided several examples with a brief description of each. OR:
● If this subculture uses a dialect of English, provide some detailed examples and description.
● Explain how style shifting is used in this subculture and provide some detailed examples
● Describe at least one example of kinesics (non-verbal communication) you observed.
● Briefly provide a description of this subculture using an etic perspective. Think about the ‘’outside’’ view this
group, their traditions, cultural rules, beliefs and/or ways of speaking (positive or negative).
● Use cross-cultural comparison, to compare and contrast one or more aspects of this subculture to
mainstream American culture (or a subculture to which you belong). Describe some of the similarities and
differences between the two groups.
● Discuss the importance of practicing Cultural Relativism when studying, observing and learning about a
culture that is different from your own.