Hilary Pilkington, Elena Omel’chenko, and Al’bina Garifzianova. Russia’s Skinheads: Exploring and Rethinking Subcultural Lives. London: Routledge, 2010

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Martin Heřmanský


Skinhead subculture is, in my opinion, one of the most interesting and academically stimulating youth subcultures, not just for its long history but particularly for the great diversity of its strands.
The work of Hilary Pilkington, Elena Omel’chenko, and Al’bina Garifzianova dealing with skinheads of Russia is important in two respects. First, it tries to rethink skinhead subculture, which was for a long time in a kind of theoretical stupor created by the interpretive frameworks coming out of the original Birmingham Centre for Contemporary Cultural Studies (CCCS), which were, to a great extent, reconstituted over and over again in subsequent works. Second, it does so by drawing on the postsocialist experience, while most of subcultural theories in general were based predominantly (though not exclusively) on the social reality of Great Britain or the United States. Although this situation is understandable, considering that both were cradles of most youth subcultures (punks, hippies, goths, ravers, etc.), the postsocialist subcultural experience offers an important contribution for understanding contemporary subcultural worlds, alongside data from the postcolonial world (e.g., Huq 2006; Baulch 2007) that is still (for whatever reason) similarly underresearched.


Youth Scenes, Authenticity, Russian Skinheads, Czech Skinheads, Postsocialist Subcultures

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