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An Introduction to British Youth Subcultures Online Short Course

Course description

This online short course is led by Ray Kinsella and Kevin Quinn and will introduce the key concepts and theories around British youth subcultures.

From bebop hipsters in Soho during the 1940s to grime kids from the inner-city in 2021, youth subcultures have been a dominant, prominent and subversive facet of British cultural life.

Beginning with the Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies (CCCS) whom first developed British subcultural studies during the 1970s, and then working through important theoretical texts such as Cohen (1972), Hebdige (1979) and Sarah Thornton (1995), we shall explore the traditions and the social and historical contexts in which debates and practices concerning youth cultures arose.

We will examine how subcultures and deviancy are entwined, investigate their origins and ask why do and have subcultures continue to generate academic interest and media scrutiny.

Who should attend this online short course?

This online short course is aimed at anyone with an interest in British youth subcultures, and also anyone interested in how popular music, popular culture, fashion, race and gender combine, and how identity formations are constructed, deconstructed and reconstructed through youth subcultures.


After this session you will:

  • Identify the canon of post-war British youth subcultures
  • Explain the significance of the sartorial styles, music, and cultural rituals associated with each one
  • Gain a basic understanding of the social and political transformations that took place in Britain after the war and the flashpoints from which these youth subcultures developed
  • Identify the role that the class structure, black people and women played within the emergence, evolution and exposure of these scenes
  • Evaluate the vital role the mainstream media plays in youth subcultures

This online short course offers:

  • Expert knowledge from industry professionals
  • Opportunities to meet other like-minded creatives
  • A chance to join the conversation with a live Q&A
  • Opportunity to upskill and develop professional practices
  • Participants will receive a certificate upon completion

Available dates

If no dates are showing then please sign up to our mailing list to find out about upcoming dates and new course developments.


This two-hour online short course will cover:

  • What do subcultures do and what is their function in society?
  • What are their attitudes, customs, beliefs, elements, practices, properties, sites of agency and values?
  • What makes a subculture, can anyone join them and how do they differ from each other?
  • How are/were subcultures communicated, displayed, expressed and exhibited? Crucially, how are they mediated, theorised and ‘academicised’ and how far does this framing alter, orchestrate and cement subcultures (e.g. moral panics)?
  • Subculture versus scene, ‘posing’, the individual within the collective: tribal, inclusion/exclusion (e.g. class/gender/race issues)


To take part in this online session you will need:

  • An up-to-date web browser (we recommend Chrome)
  • Microphone and headphones (a headset with a microphone function is recommended. The built-in microphone in your device would also be fine)
  • Webcam
  • Strong Internet connection - we recommend a minimum of 2 Mbps download, and 1 Mbps upload, faster if possible. You can test your network speed here -

We recommend you have:

  • A notebook
  • A pen

Meet the Tutor:

This two-hour online short course is an introduction to the history of post-war British youth subcultures, and will focus on the backgrounds, histories and contexts in which they emerged.

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