Subcultures in Estonia: perception of borders inside and outside subculture
Centre for Lifestyles Studies Insitute for international and Social Studies,Tallinn University Tallinn, Estonia
Estonia is a small transition society that has experienced a lot of changes over the past decades. Being young in contemporary Estonia differs fundamentally from the "being young" of the previous generation, both in terms of living conditions and common values. Younger generations have integrated into international youth cultures and subcultures which exert increasing influence onto their lives and identity formation. Distinctive subcultures have different positions in Estonia (Eastern Europe) as compared to Western Europe, since they have mostly spread and expanded only after the restoration of Estonia's independence and are not an inherent and accepted part of the society. Subcultures, their internal structure and relationship to wider society are also influenced by the small size and lack of historically formed classes in Estonia. This paper gives an overview of the changes regarding to subcultures last decades and focuses on the following issues: How are subcultures and subcultural identities constructed through the perspective of active participants - what is the meaning of belonging to subcultures? How are the borders between "us" and "them" perceived? How is mainstream and underground defined? What is considered authentic or commercial?
The empirical part is based on open-ended interviews with representatives of respective subcultures in the hip-hop, metal, and club culture.