- Culture is known to have many
meanings. One of them refers to the spiritual and material achievements of
humanity. On the whole it is possible to distinguish three kinds of culture.
They are elite culture, folk culture and popular culture. These cultures are
closely connected with one another and one culture is part of the others. Elite
culture is a highly developed sphere, it is comprised of painting, sculpture,
architecture, literature, music. Folk culture is the culture of everyday life
and routine relations of social life. Folk culture consists of traditional
knowledge and practice. It is like a habit of people, thus this culture does
not change very quickly Popular culture is mass culture. It is a professionally
organized sphere that works for a large mass of people. Popular culture gives
people, especially young, standards to be what they like.
- What can you say about the culture
of the youth?
- Today the life of many young
people in Russia as well as in other countries of the world is influenced by popular
culture. The youth follow certain stereotypes that are imposed on them through
TV, movies, and music. In their lifestyles they try to imitate the images of
their idols. Other young people are sports and music fans. They frequent
stadiums and huge concert halls. They follow their idols in their tours
throughout the country and support them. Unfortunately they are intolerant to
those who do not share their view. It is a specific aspect of the youth
sub-culture that cannot be ignored.
- Do many young people follow this
- No, they don't. Many young people
have other interests. For some of them getting knowledge is of primary
importance. They are fond of reading serious books, listening to serious music.
They go to the conservatory and theatres. They are engaged in Hi-Tech through
- What do you and your friends
- We prefer music. It plays a very
important part in the life of young men. Tastes differ, and the music scene is
changing. Young people like different kinds of music. Some like disco music
they can dance to. Some like loud, heavy rock music. Some like the popular
reggae sound. Some like South American rhythm. Many of them are fond of jazz.
Madonna and Bruce Sprigsteen from the USA and George Michael from Britain also
have huge numbers of fans. As for me, my friends and I enjoy Celtic folk music.
My favourite groups that perform Celtic music are "Chieftains" and
- Is Celtic folk music popular in
- Yes, it is. It is very popular.
For example, St. Patrick's Day, the major Irish holiday, is celebrated
throughout Moscow. You can hear Celtic music everywhere on this day. It should
be said that festivals of Irish music are regularly held in Russia, hosting
groups performing Celtic music from Ireland, Great Britain, the USA and Russia.
- Do you mean that there are groups
in Russia that play Celtic music?
- Yes, there are. In such groups as
"Slua Si", "Pucken' Piper", and "Reelroads"
Russian young men perform Irish and Scottish music.
- What can you say about Russian
- I am not a fan of Russian rock.
But there are a lot of rock musicians in our country. Such groups as
"Alisa", "DDT" and "Mumiy Troll" are very popular
among Russian young people. It is interesting to note that many young people
still listen to the music of the groups that do not exist any more. I mean
"Kino" and "Nautilus Pompilius".
- What books do Russian young people
- Many young people are fond of
stories and novels written by Victor Pelevin and Boris Akunin. Their works are
examples of such literary trends as post modernism and post Constructivism.
Besides, many young people like to read science fiction literature. The novels
by the Strougutskys's are best read even today. Among the young science fiction
writers the novels by Serge Lukjanenko are very popular. A lot of young people
are fond of are science fiction and fantasy.
- Why are science fiction and
fantasy so popular in Russia?
- These literary trends are poplar
not only in Russia but all over the world. The best read foreign fantasy writer
is J.R.R. Tolkien. His books really ushered in a new era in literature. J.R.R.
Tolkien won fame due to his original epic trilogy "The Lord of the
Rings". This outstanding work by the mid-1960s became a sociocultural phenomenon.
While working on his trilogy J.R.R. Tolkien created "The Hobbit"
which was an introduction to it. Both "The Hobbit" and "The Lord
of the Rings" are set in a mythical past. "The Lord of the
Rings" chronicles the struggle between various good and evil kingdoms for
possession of a magical ring that can shift the balance of power in the world.
The trilogy is remarkable for its fantasy types - elves, dwarves, hobbits - and
its sustained imaginative storytelling. It is regarded as a rare, successful
modern version of the heroic epic.
- Do you know anything about urban
sub-cultures of the youth?
- It is generally held that
sub-culture is the culture of those who are dissatisfied with their place in
society. On the whole Teds, Mods, Rockers, Bikers, Skinheads and Punks are the
sub-cultures of the politically or economically weak segments of the society.
- What do recent sub-cultures
- As is known, recent sub-cultures
reflect a refusal to con form in post-1945 society. For example, the
sub-culture of Rastafairians was based on nostalgia for a lost world. They
- Who were Rastafairians?
- Rastafairians were Afro-Caribbean
immigrants in Britain. They dreamed of golden age in Africa before the slave
traders came. They viewed Britain as part of the Biblical 'Babylon', the land
of slavery, and Africa especially Ethiopia as the 'Promised Land'. These
Rastafairians began to wear distinctive clothes, camouflage jackets, large hats
in the red, gold and green colours of Ethiopia and put their long, uncut hair
in 'dreadlocks'. They took to speaking in a special 'patois' or dialect.
Rastafairians were defiant until they became a recognized and legitimate
minority group in Great Britain at the end of the 1980s.
- What made the greatest impact on
the development of urban sub-cultures?
- Black music which came to Britain
through the Rastafairians made its impact on urban sub-cultures. Such types as
ska, reggae and 'Hip-hop' evolved in the Caribbean and the United States,
developed in Britain during the 1970s, came to Russia in the 1990s In Britain
reggae music is held as powerful expression of dissidents. In our country
reggae is the music of the teenagers. Many sub-cultures developed as a result
of music fusion of black and white cultures.
- Can you give an example of such
- Skinheads developed in the 1970s
in England out of an older cult, the Mods. They imitated black mannerism and
fashion and danced to reggae. At the same time the white teenagers who loved
the music and copied the clothes of the Afro-Asian immigrants were violent to
them. They wore heavy boots, jeans and braces, and shave their hair or cut it
very short. They aggressively sought to recover a crude working-class identity
which their parents' generation had largely abandoned. In the main, Skinheads
dreamed about the revival of the traditional working-class culture. Now this
movement is in decline in Britain but it flourishes in East European countries
and Russia. The Skinheads in Great Britain were identified with extreme right
- What can you say about Hippies?
- Hippies belonged to the opposing
young people of the late 1960s. Their forms of protest corresponded to the
standards of their contemporaneous society. Coming against the war in Vietnam
the young Americans, who associated themselves with Hippies, established their
communes. The movement spread throughout Europe. Hippies led a primitive life
in their own countries and then moved to the East. They rebelled against the
values of their society. Their idol was J.R.R. Tolkien, who created the fairy
tale of the twentieth century. His epic trilogy "The Lord of the
Rings" became the guidelines for Hippies.
- What do you know about Punks?
- As far as I know, Punks appeared
in Britain in the 1970s as a reaction to the glamour of the pop star world of
the 1960s. Punks, like the Skinheads, are regressive, but inactive and
politically indifferent. Their real attraction to the young has been their
ability to insult middle-aged opinion, especially among the guardians of social
values. They have done it by using vulgar language, wearying green and pink
hair, dressing in torn clothes, mutilating their bodies with safety pins. Now
Punks are in decline in Britain but are popular in our country. Punks,
Skinheads and Rastafairians, each in their own way asserted that they resided
in a world, as they understood it, alienated by class and race. Generally they
were young people with low self-respect, who did poorly at school. Joining a
gang was a means of finding a status. They opposed the traditional world in
which they were settled as fiasco elements.
- Are there other cults within urban
- Yes, there are. "Heavy
metal" is one of them. This music of failure is widely despised by those
who enjoy pop, reggae or soul. Unlike other rebel cults the followers of heavy
metal behave them selves as victims. They wear gothic script and grinning
sculls, expression of disheartened interests. It is known that cults arise and
disappear over periods of a decade or two. Ragga and Gothic arose in the 1980s.
Raggas are American-inspired. They are clothed in baseball caps, tracksuits
trousers and chunky trainers. Gothic is a blend of 1970s Punk and 1960s
Hippies. "Goths" wear their hair very long and dyed black, and dress
in cheap, loose clothes. They put on make-up, looking very pale with cosmetics
around the eyes. They are not aggressive, and seem to feel nostalgia for the
youth culture and music of the 1960s. At the end of the 1980s Acid House was a
fashionable sub-culture. It fascinated thousands juveniles who had not earlier
belonged to a cult. Acid House guaranteed fun and all-night dancing. It had its
own music which was another variation on black music from America ("House
Music"). By the 1990s this movement was also in decline. It is interesting
to note that sub-cultures follow a cycle. At first they shock then provoke a
strong response. As soon as the sub-culture gains momentum it magnetizes youth
in search of rebel unity. Many adopt it for fun, and play at rebellion in their
leisure time. The sub-culture rapidly ceases to express serious dissent. In the
end it becomes another recognized and colourful part of urban culture.
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