Language. Rebellion. Identity. Sociological-anthropological Empirical Study of the Rap Youth Subculture
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Fragmentation and a large variety in search of one’s own hyperindividuality is anchored in symbolic creativity of an individual who constantly forms its own unique identity. The search for new, blending, selecting, and the pursuit of "the new" mixes here with mirages and employing the existing subcultural assets, giving a new postmodern quality. As a result, the individual, a postmodern participant of rap subculture, both in Poland and Ukraine, is trying to distinguish oneself from others, interpret oneself in opposition to the mainstream and, based on one’s own experience, rebel against the world. Lack of approval for the reality emerges as acts of rebellion, which often comes down to aesthetic codes, symbols and signs characteristic of rap subculture. It is, however, a protest rather than rebellion since it does not involve behavioral activity, but it is verbalized by defining the status quo. People identifying with rap subculture have a multitude of sources of individual, cultural and social identity. Both their system of values and lifestyle, through participation in selected forms of subcultural activities, clothing, and accessories, are closely related to the perception of the world by such persons. Young people often identify themselves with different subcultures at the same time. Belonging to several subcultures shows multiple subcultural identities of respondents and confirms the dissertation’s hypothesis. Rap jargon is rich and broadens the vocabulary of contemporary language. Adapting the subcultural lexis is closely connected with identifying oneself with a group. Thinking in terms of specific subcultural categories and interpretation of reality is not indifferent to the individual’s life motivations and accomplishments. For the identity of the individual is emphasized by the usage of social dialect and knowledge of slang words. Rebellious attitude is directed primarily at people and objects, rarely abstract phenomena. Strong ties with the US, where rap has originated, are visible primarily in lexical layer of both Poles and Ukrainians. Selective bilingualism is adapted to the socio-political reality and current problems of the country. To the same extent it helps to explain and imposes its own way of seeing and interpreting the real world. Interviews with respondents indicate that rap language evokes emotions and leads to reflection on the world around us. Events that trigger rebellion in the fatalistic, full of self-centeredness rap lyrics are injustice, inequality, power, lack of prospects and limitations. Defiance makes sense only if it is a group action. The biggest problem worrying the respondents is low standard of living. However, for the Polish people unemployment, as well as hypocrisy, poverty and lack of prospects for the future are more disturbing. The Ukrainians on the other hand dread corruption, lack of prospects for the future, injustice and politicians. Key values for Poles are love, health, friendship, freedom and respect. Ukrainians cherish friendship, health, self-fulfillment, freedom and love. The essence of this subculture is expressed in the language of rap since the content of the songs incorporates the key message inspired by stimuli of the surrounding world characteristic of this youth movement. Language of this transfer specifies the ontology by means of which people identifying with the rap subculture describe their world, not discarding the sovereignty of another man, their affiliation with another subculture, or their favorite kind of music. It must therefore be concluded that rebellion and protest against the reality in the lyrics of rap, which takes a fatalistic form is the result of problems with multiple and unstable identity.
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