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DRPS : Course Catalogue : Edinburgh College of Art : Design

Undergraduate Course: Subcultural Expression: Exploring Visual and Material Worlds (DESI10059)

Course Outline
SchoolEdinburgh College of Art CollegeCollege of Humanities and Social Science
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 10 (Year 3 Undergraduate) AvailabilityAvailable to all students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummarySubcultural Expression aims to investigate the development of youth subcultures in the twentieth century and their continued importance to contemporary culture. The course takes a decidedly visual and material approach to debates on youth subcultures, looking at issues such as the subversive power of fashion, through the visual culture of fanzines, to spatial forms of rebellion. It will be of intellectual and creative importance to students working across a variety of disciplines, including art and design, visual culture, music, cultural studies, sociology, social and cultural geography.
Course description This course explores the visual, design and sensory cultures associated with youth subcultures. The aim of the course is to enable you to critically investigate the wide range of social, cultural and political issues that led to the formation of subcultures, as well as their continued relevance to contemporary society. Whilst debates on subcultures stretch across a wide range of academic disciplines the primary focus of this course is the cultural, notably the visual, material and sensory realms of subcultural expression and experience. When we think of subcultures perhaps the immediate reference points are music and fashion. The course will examine these and other core critical debates associated with subcultural identity including, identity politics, gender, class, ethnicity, urbanism, and material culture. These will be investigated through a range of thematic case studies, including, but not limited to:
1) Filmic representations and popular media portrayals
2) Fashion and rebellion
3) The visual cultures of fanzines
4) Digital tribes
5) The spatial rebellion of skateboarding

You will be introduced to a range of key textual sources on subcultures as well as televisual and filmic materials. The primary mode of delivery is lecture-based and you will have the opportunity to actively participate in debate through seminars.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Other requirements None
Information for Visiting Students
High Demand Course? Yes
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Contextualise the historical development of youth subcultures.
  2. Identify and analyse the key theories on youth subcultures within a broader intellectual framework.
  3. Apply the key debates on youth subcultures to an appropriate case study.
  4. Engage in a variety of research approaches and methods pertinent to the study of youth subcultures.
  5. Communicate arguments in a coherent manner through appropriate academic writing.
Reading List
Gelder, K. (Ed.) (2005). The Subcultures Reader [Second Edition]. London: Routledge
Haenfler, R. (2013). Subcultures: The Basics. London: Routledge
Hebdige, D. (1979). Subculture: The Meaning of Style. London: Methuen
Jencks, C. (2005). Subculture: The Fragmentation of the Social. London: Sage
Muggleton, D. (2000). Inside Subculture: The Postmodern Meaning of Style. Oxford: Berg
Muggleton, D. and Weinzierl, R. (Eds.) (2003). The Post-Subcultures Reader. Oxford: Berg
Thornton, S. (1996). Club Cultures: Music, Media, and Subcultural Capital. Hanover: University Press of New England
Williams, J.P. (2011). Subcultural Theory: Traditions and Concepts. Cambridge: Polity
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills To exercise autonomy and initiative in the development of projects;
To be able to be able to identify and apply processes and strategies for learning;
To be able to search for, evaluate and use information to develop their knowledge and understanding;
To be intellectually curious and able to sustain intellectual interest;
To make effective use of oral, written and visual means to critique, negotiate, create and communicate understanding.
KeywordsSubcultures,visual culture,fashion culture,material culture,design cultures,cultural studies
Course organiserDr Craig Martin
Course secretaryMs Jane Thomson
Tel: (0131 6)51 5713
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