Leigh Davidson Leigh Davidson

Rebellion: What Is It For?
Upper Intermediate to Advanced level


In this lesson, Ss will discuss the differences between subcultures and countercultural movements, looking at and analyzing some historic examples, as well as modern-day equivalents. A pre-lesson reading task will introduce Ss to two specific, popular subcultures ('steampunks' and 'hipsters'). This article will help Ss understand and define what is a subculture and what is the purpose of subculture groups (for the individuals involved and for society at large). An in-class video will guide Ss to think about the effectiveness--or lack thereof--of certain subculture groups that aim to be 'countercultural.' This will lead to a final discussion, on how the role of 'subculture' and 'counterculture' might look like in our increasingly globalized and interconnected future.


Abc Why Do Hipsters All Look the Same?

Main Aims

  • To provide Ss with an opportunity for freer speaking practice within the context of understanding and evaluating subcultures, countercultures, and their role and purpose in society.

Subsidiary Aims

  • To provide Ss with an opportunity to practice listening for a purpose, specifically concerning the subject of hipsters and their 'ironic' anti-mainstream mainstream culture.


Warmer/Lead-in (6-9 minutes) • To set lesson context and engage students

Write on the WB TRIBAL GROUPS. Try to elicit from the WC any tribal groups that once lived in Turkey (in turkish history). Write the Ss' answers on the WB. Some possible answers: Gok Turk, Mongols, Khazars, Seljuks. "Who were these people? What did they do? Did they travel or live permanently in the same place? How did they arrive in modern Turkey? Where did they originally come from?" Elicit from the WC what the people, within these groups, shared with each other. "Did they share the same language? Did they share the same traditions? Did they wear the same clothes?" Try to guide Ss to think about 'tribal behavior' and how that can bring a group of individuals together. "Do these groups still exist in modern-day Turkey?" (T answer: no, they are lost tribes)

Exposure: Subculture Types (28-30 minutes) • To provide a model of production expected in coming tasks through reading

Show Ss the migration map of the Turkic peoples (from the 5th to 13th Century). "Based on this map, can you say for certain what it means to be ethnically Turkish? Or, did these tribal groups merge, evolve, and become something culturally different by the time they settled in modern-day Turkey?" If interest is shown in this line of discussion, you can take it one step further and explore how the Ottoman empire, and its expansion into Europe, Africa, and Asia, mixed subgroups even more so. Refer Ss back to the warmer discussion, on the shared cultural bonds amongst these tribal groups. "There are modern-day tribal groups as well, that are bonded together by a shared culture. We call them SUBCULTURE or SUBCULTURE GROUPS." (write on the WB) Elicit from the WC any subcultures that they have seen here in Turkey (more specifically, Istanbul). Some possible answers: punk, goth, metalheads, hippies, rockers (or emo), rastafarian. Write the Ss' answers on the WB. Show the Ss some picture examples of some subcultures. Verify that the Ss are familiar with each subculture. Divide the WC into groups and instruct the groups to discuss 3 of the projected subcultures. "What do the individuals, within each group, share in common with each other?" Instruct the groups to think about OUTER APPEARANCES (clothing, hairstyle, makeup, etc.) as well as INTERESTS, IDEAS, PHILOSOPHIES, LIFESTYLE, etc (write on the WB). Following GW discussion, bring everyone together for WC FB. Ask the WC the follow-up question: "What do all of these subcultures share with each other? What do these groups have in common with one another?" Try to guide the Ss to say COUNTERCULTURE or COUNTERCULTURAL MOVEMENTS (write on the WB). Focus on the hippies, in the US in the 1960s, and what they were trying to do (and say; their 'message') with their radical change in lifestyle from their parents'. T answer: going against accepted norms (whether political, social, sexual, cultural, etc.); to overthrow what is normalized and start something new; to revolutionize.

Productive Task: Steampunks and Hipsters (10-13 minutes) • To provide an opportunity to practice target productive skills

Refer the WC to the pre-lesson reading task ('Two Urban Trends'). Elicit answers to the while-reading questions: 1) "Why do you think these two groups, 'steampunks' and 'hipsters,' are categorized as 'subcultures?' Based on the article, and our earlier discussion, what is a 'subculture'?" 2) "Why do you think someone might want to 'join' one of these subcultures? Why would someone want to dress like a steampunk and pretend to live in a world where technology is based on steam-powered machinery and people interact like they are living in 19th century Europe? Why would someone want to be a hipster?" 3) "What do you think is the role of a 'subculture' group in society? What purpose do subcultures provide for society?"

Productive Task: Why All Hipsters Look the Same (16-18 minutes) • To provide an opportunity to practice target productive skills

Focus the WC on the opening description of hipsters, in the article. "According to the article, 'hipsters are young people who reject everything mainstream...' But what if hipsters, themselves, become a popular, mainstream group? What is a 'hipster' then, if they are defined by their anti-mainstream lifestyle and preferences?" Focus the WC on the article's paragraph that defines hipsters, based off of specific traits and behaviors. "Would we still identify these specific traits and behaviors as 'hipster'? Or, do they now apply to other individuals, or groups, as well?" Inform the WC that they are going to watch a short video on this very phenomenon. "In this video the speaker is going to explore the irony of mainstream hipster fashion." Instruct the WC, while watching the video, to try to answer the following questions: 1) Why is it impossible for a hipster to actually be a hipster? 2) How do hipsters choose products? How do these consumer choices reflect the hipster philosophy? 3) Can hipsters identify other hipsters? 4) Can science predict what will be a hipster band (a band popular among hipsters) or a hipster movie (a movie popular among hipsters)? 5) Based on the research quoted from this video, is being a hipster a countercultural movement, or just following the current popular trend? Youtube: "Why All Hipsters Look the Same" (3:49) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LVylJLQn4vI Following a viewing of the video, refer the WC to the while-listening questions and have them answer those questions in groups. Distribute a HO with the while-listening questions on it. "Answer the questions, on this HO, and discuss your general thoughts on the video. Do you agree or disagree with the speaker? Do you think that it is almost impossible for a countercultural movement to remain counterculture, because of the popularity of being anti-establishment?"

IF TIME Activity: Frank Zappa Deviation (12-15 minutes) • To provide an opportunity to practice target productive skills

Write on the WB DEVIANT SUBCULTURE. Try to elicit from the WC the differences between a 'subculture' and a 'deviant subculture.' (T Answer: a subgroup who's values and moral code differ significantly from those in the majority of society; it is always defined by the majority of society, and what they fear and disagree with.) Write on the WB the following quote: "Without deviation from the norm, progress is not possible." (Frank Zappa, musician and filmmaker) You can also show the short interview clip, on Youtube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Vm6_5j8gXM) Instruct the WC, in groups, to discuss this quote. Do they agree or disagree with Zappa? Must deviation happen for society to move forward and progress? Following GW discussion, bring the WC together for FB.

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