Difference Between Culture and Subculture

Key Difference – Culture vs Subculture
 

Although the two share many similarities, there is a clear difference between culture and subculture. In every society, there exists a culture. Culture can be defined as the ways of life of the people in a particular society. It is through the culture that people learn of the accepted and expected codes of behavior. For instance, when a child is born, he is not only dependent but unaware of how to behave. It is this culture that teaches the child to behave in an accepted manner. On the other hand, subculture refers to the ways of life that exists within the main culture. These are unique to specific groups of people. This is the key difference between culture and subculture as the main culture is shared by all members but the subculture is not. Subculture is only shared by segments in the society. Through this article let us examine the difference between the two terms.

What is Culture?

First, let us begin with the culture. As explained in the introduction culture refers to the ways of life of the people in a particular society. This includes the values, norms, mores, taboos, ideas, attitudes, etc. Through the components of culture, one can state that culture defined the accepted patterns of behavior in a particular society. It raises awareness among the people as to how to behave in particular situations and places. Culture is not something that exists only for a limited period of time, on the contrary, it is passed on from one generation to another.

Small children are taught their culture by parents and various other social agents such as schools, religious leaders, etc. This process is referred to as socialization. This provides the child with knowledge on how to behave in the society. In every society, culture plays a huge role as it lays a clear impact on the lives of the people.  Now, let us move on to the next word, subculture.

Difference Between Culture and Subculture

What is Subculture?

Subculture refers to the ways of life that exists within the main culture. In a single society, there can be many different cultures based on ethnic groups, religious groups, etc. This highlights that although the people share a common culture of which everyone is a part of, within this culture there are sub-sections as well of which the individuals are a part of. In some cases, there can be a clash between the main culture and subculture. This creates a difficult condition not only for the individuals but also for the very society as well.

Let us comprehend this through an example. In most universities, there are subcultures. These include particular ways of accepted behavior and codes of ethics. Ragging is one such practice that is a part of the University subculture. Although this is followed only by the university students who belong to the subculture, this can create a clash with the culture of the society. In such instances, the main culture can have a huge impact on changing the subculture. As you can observe although culture and subculture are connected to one another, there is a clear difference between the two.

 Culture vs Subculture Key Differences

What is the Difference Between Culture and Subculture?

Definition of Culture and Subculture:

Culture: Culture can be defined as the ways of life of the people in a particular society.

Subculture: Subculture refers to the ways of life that exists within the main culture.

Characteristics of Culture and Subculture:

Society:

Culture: In every society, there is a culture.

Subculture: There can be a number of subcultures within a single society.

Influence:

Culture: The culture can influence the subcultures in the society.

Subculture: Subcultures can influence the culture of the society.

People:

Culture: All members are part of the culture.

Subculture: Not all members in the society are part of the subculture.

 

Image Courtesy:
1. “Colorful crowd, Mali” by Ferdinand Reus from Arnhem, Holland – MaliUploaded by mangostar. [CC BY-SA 2.0] via Wikimedia Commons
2. “Gothic girl” by Marc Planard – Own work. [CC BY 2.5] via Wikimedia Commons