Smells Like Teen Sprit 4/8

Thursday 23rd February 

Fight the Power 

Subcultures and the challenging of hegemonic values 

  • Traditional values
  • Subcultural Resignification – Create a new meaning from an old meaning
  • Male suit and its traditional connotations
  • Dressing smart to impress
  • Subcultures play with active organisation of objects with activities and outlooks

The Zoot Suits 

  1. Paraphrase (Alford, 2009, p354 )
  • (Alford, 2009) said
  • The style is exaggerated and over the top.
  • It was mainly worn by African Americans and hispanic Americans and also found on lower class people.  To show you were richer.
  • You had a walk when wearing this to embrace the suit
  • There was a secret type of vocabulary used as a type of African American slang
  • They feel the suit gave them a voice by making them visible
  • Struggled with negativity

2) How does this quote relate to subcultural concepts and practices as identified in Clarke, Hall and Jefferson’s (1975) research?

  • It was exaggerated style using bright colours.
  • The suit and accessories weren’t the main part of the look it was also the way the hair was worn.
  • Collars hats and dutch shoes were used to accessories the suit
  • The Zoot suit came with a walk that was used to embrace the suit
  • It also had its own language that was African American slang that was added to add to the scene
  • Its based on the classic suit
  • (ALFORD,2009)

3) Paraphrase what these quotes are claiming about identity statements in the wearing of he Zoot suit.

4) What do these observations suggest about the importance of

social/historical context in generating meanings within visual and material culture?

  • Zoot suit expressed cultural
  • A way to exclude others like white
  • Later during the civil war there was a right to the suit white power, black power.
  • Fabric was rationed in the war the zoo suit was using a a lot of fabric that was illegal
  • rebelling against the rules

5) What is being suggested about contexts that contribute meanings within visual and material culture?

“The counteract a dominant ideology” ( tulloch,2006)

6) What does this case study on the Zoot suit have in common with other subcultures that we’ve studied so far?

The Teds 

  • Waited jacket, narrow trousers and toe capped shoes
  • Hair was longer
  • was taken by working class youths
  • the colours were vivid green reds and pinks


  • The colours
  • The hair was part of the look
  • Jacket
  • Buying status


  • Type of trousers
  • The class

Modification of the suit that shouldn’t be worn by working class Londoner.

Subcultural can evolve like the teddy boy look

Consider the recurring style


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