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The Subculture of Skateboarding

  • Date Submitted: 11/02/2012 03:15 AM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 52.4 
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Research Question: What is a subculture, and provide an example of a subculture with details to substantiate your claim.

In this paper I will provide information to substantiate the claim that skateboarders are a subculture of mainstream society. After explaining the definition of culture, I will explain the characteristics of a subculture, and how skateboarding fits that description. I will also give a brief history of skateboarding, in relation to how the public sees skateboarders through the media. Once this is clearly laid out, I will outline the norms, values, and artifacts that separate skateboarding from dominant sports culture. With my personal experience as a skateboarder, I hope to provide valuable insight into the culture and lifestyles associated with skateboarding. I will use these concepts to argue that skateboarding is a subculture in its own right.

A subculture is a combination of values, norms, artifacts, and lifestyles within a larger culture. Culture as a whole is made up of many different subcultures, each with their own attitudes and special behaviors (Penguin Dictionary of Sociology 2006 p.384).

Mainstream sports vary from region to region. Association football is widely considered the world’s most popular sport, but any sport watched on national television by millions of fans is considered the mainstream of the sporting world.

Skateboarding culture originated as an extension of surfing culture, and many tenants of surfing culture, such as anti-establishment views and freedom of expression, carried over into skateboarding (Brooke 1999). This has lead to mixed views of the sport, and its practitioners, in the media.

The sport started in the late 1950s as a way for surfers to practice when the surf was poor. (Brooke 1999, p. 20) The earliest term for skateboarding was ‘sidewalk surfing’, (Brooke 1999, p.17) for the carving motion early skateboarders would make on the board, emulating a surfing motion. Early skateboarders would...


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