Subcultures: German Soccer Gangs and Convicts

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Define subcultures and discuss two examples of a subculture, one that you belong to and practice and another you do not. Culture is everything we have come to know minus our natural instincts. Many of us know culture as simply our ideologies, religion, family values, beliefs, and behaviors but after this chapter, I have learned that it also entails technology that humans have developed and used to dominate nature. Interesting, but what exactly is a subculture then? My best understanding came through the use of an example since the concept of subculture is difficult to lock into one specific definition. A Subculture is defined as a group within society that is united by its own values, concepts, symbols and shared meaning specific to that group. This group belongs to a larger culture but is distinctive enough to differentiate the members of the group from the others within the larger society.

Since I’ve been living in Germany for quite some time now one of the first examples that comes to mind is the soccer gangs also known as “ultras” or as referred to by the news as “hooligans” (I recommend the movie Green Street Hooligans for a better picture), Every soccer team has its own gang and they’re called such because of the violence and brotherhood that comes with the membership. Typically, the gangs fight each other in defense or representation of the team they are supporting. Many stadiums even have segregated fenced off areas that the members of the ultras must stay in to prevent Violence; that is if they‘re not banned from that stadium already.

Every gang has created their own slang and unique style of dress mainly for the games. Although they have formed their own unique culture and are distinctive from the other member of soctety, they still belong to a larger societal culture as well. Convicts and parolees also fit into a subculture. Many are “inked-up” or covered in tattoos some of which carry meanings. Many tattoos are done from within the prison system and symbolize their rank, sexual preference. and the crimes they have committed. For the inmates this is a type of language allowing them to communicate essential information without drawing the attention of the guards.

Even after a criminal has been released from prison they normally still stick out in crowd from the phySIcal appearance, to the way they carry themselves, and their speech. Many ex-convicts have formed a type of brotherhood with the people they served time with and vowed to “watch each other‘s backs” whether they’re in or out. I myself was enlisted in the Army for over four years before becoming medically retired. The Army itself is a government organization, but the people within it have created a new culture unlike anything you would encounter in the civilian world; and it gets carried with you. Even after I was discharged and no longer wore the uniform I had people asking me it I had served.

The way you speak and carry yourself is completely different than the average individual. We have been noticed to have higher levels of respect and to be more courteous, humble, and of course to drink, smoke, spit, and cuss a lot more. Then there’s the obvious, the Army has developed Its own language and many times when explaining something to a person who has not served we forget to speak English. Everything has an acronym or nickname, Cultures and subcultures are interesting and yet extremely complicated concepts to try to explore. Cultures entail everything which we have come to know except our natural instincts and a subculture is a smaller version of that within itself with distinctive qualities. Question what is truly instinctive and what is instinctively taught Does a baby naturally know to breast feed? Or must the mother teach the newborn child? What becomes an instinct and what becomes culture and furthermore, what forms our subcultures?

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Subcultures: German Soccer Gangs and Convicts. (2023, Jun 20). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/subcultures-german-soccer-gangs-and-convicts/

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