Charlie Bertsch (cbertsch) wrote,
Charlie Bertsch

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"I was there, man."

From John Clarke, Stuart Hall, Tony Jefferson & Brian Roberts, "Subcultures, Cultures and Class: A Theoretical Overview" in Stuart Hall & Tony Jefferson, editors, Resistance Through Rituals: Youth Subcultures in Post-War Britain (1975):
At one level, middle class counter-cultures -- like working-class sub-cultures -- also attempted to work out or work through, but at an 'imaginary' level, a contradiction or problematic in their class situation. But, because they inhabit a dominant culture (albeit in a negative way) they are strategically placed (in ways in which working-class sub-cultures are not) to generalise an internal contradiction for the society as a whole. The counter-cultures stemmed from changes in the 'real relations' of their class: they represented a rupture inside the dominant culture which then became linked with the crisis of hegemony, of civil society, and ultimately of the state itself. It is in this sense that middle-class counter-cultures, beginning from a point within the dominant class culture, have become an emergent ruptural force for the whole society. Their thrust is is no longer contained by their point of inception. Rather, by extending and developing their 'practical critique' of the dominant culture from a privileged position inside it, they have come to inhabit, embody and express many of the contradictions of the system itself.

Naturally, society cannot be 'imaginarily' reconstructed from that point. But that does not exhaust their emergent potential. For they also prefigure, anticipate, foreshadow -- though in truncated, diagrammatic and 'Utopian' forms -- emergent social forms. These new forms are rooted in the productive base of the system itself, though when they arise at the level of the 'counter-culture' only, we are correct to estimate that their maturing within the womb of society is, as yet, incomplete. They prefigure, among other things, the increasingly social nature of modern production, and the outdated social, cultural, political and ideological forms in which this is confined. The counter-culture comes, at best, half-way on the road to making manifest this base contradiction.
Tags: archive, collage, commonplace book, music, theory

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