Skinhead subculture is originated among working class youths in United Kingdom in the 1960s. The first skinheads were greatly influenced by Jamaican rude boys and British mods. Originally, the skinhead subculture was primarily based on elements of fashion, music and lifestyle, not politics or race. However, with the revival of skinhead in 1970s, the emergence of white power skinheads made them largely related to race and politics. Today, I will explain the skinhead identity by showing two clips from Romper Stomper and my partner Silvia will introduce different factions and politics of skinheads as well as their condition nowadays. Clip ] This clip presents the conversation between Hando and the woman in his room, illustrating his main purpose of becoming skinhead. Hando’s life as a skinhead is largely related to Nazi. As showed in the film, his room is decorated with a great number of Nazi objects including the Nazi helmet, posters, flag, book and tattoos on his body. The neo-Nazi culture commodities are used as subcultural capital, which is expected to raise their status and help differentiate themselves from others.
However, audience of mainstream will interpret these subculture capitals as strange, deviant things and hence regard skinheads as a subculture which cannot be accepted by the mainstream culture. Although not clearly indicted in the film, the activities of these skinheads seem to be depicted as deviance that violates social norms. The first clip we intensively represents the deviant image of skinheads through scenes such as using violence to the Asians, and close-up of their unusual living place.
Deviant acts can be a way to predicate identity, thus against norms of the dominant culture and in favor of a subculture. Fashion The identity of skinheads can be also maintained through fashion and music. Fashion is an essential element to distinguish skinheads’ identity not only from that of mainstreams, but also from different factions. Through fashion, skinhead groups form unique resources for individuals to project an image and hence achieve their identities. Skinheads are visually identified by their short hair and unique clothing styles.
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Although various factions of skinheads may have tiny differences in dressing, they all conform to a general dressing style which includes braces, fitted jeans, ‘sta press trousers’, button-down shirts, polos, boots, and flight jackets. Moreover, skinheads favor of several brands such as Ben Sherman’s button-down shirts, Fred Perry’s polos and Doctor Marten’s boots. The choice of particular fashion items is orchestrated by skinheads to reflect their collective identity. Furthermore, skinheads also use fashion to distinguish between factions.
For example, several skinheads use different color laces in their boots to show their political identity, or stance on race. White laces refer to white power skinheads, red laces stand for communism and a combination of yellow, black, and blue laces refer to anti-racist SHARPs. In addition, tattoos are used to identify different affiliations. Number 69 can be found in those who pay homage to the peak of 1969 of skinhead subculture, while nazi symbols can be found on those racist skinheads.
MUSIC Music is another critical aspect for skinhead identity. Traditional skinheads were heavily impacted by Jamaican ska and reggae music. In 1960s, skinhead music was labeled as ‘skinhead reggae’ by record companies. Some bands such as Charmers, Desmond Riley were singing about skinheads. Thus, this early music reflects the clean cut fashion which is indicative of skinhead style. In 1970s, the emergence of Punk music not only drew skinheads’ attention, but also the mainstreams.
Since many skinheads label themselves as the periphery of mainstream culture, a new form of punk called Oi emerged to uniquely express skinheads’ frustration and ideology. Similar to fashion, difference could be found in various factions’ Oi music. For example, racist skinheads’ music can be easily distinguished because the themes of their songs are racism, largely differ from others. That’s the end of my part; let’s welcome Silvia to introduce the factions and politics of skinheads and their condition nowadays. http://v. youku. com/v_show/id_XMzIyNTQ0ODI4. html
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