Are Survivalists A Subculture Or Counterculture?

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Survivalism is a social movement of individuals or groups who proactively prepare for emergencies, such as natural disasters, as well as other disasters causing disruption to social order caused by political or economic crises.

The term “survivalist” dates back to the early 1980s.

The survivalist movement has been associated with paramilitary activities of the self-proclaimed “militias” in the United States1. However, the question remains: are survivalists a subculture or counterculture?

In this blog post, we will explore the history of survivalism, the characteristics of subcultures and countercultures, and determine whether survivalists fit into either category.

What is a Subculture?

A subculture is a group of people within a larger culture, who share a distinctive set of beliefs, values, norms, and practices that differ from those of the larger culture.

Members of a subculture often identify with each other and may form a community.

Subcultures can be based on various factors such as age, ethnicity, gender, occupation, or interests.

What is a Counterculture?

A counterculture is a subculture that opposes the dominant culture and seeks to change it.

Countercultures often emerge in response to social, political, or economic issues.

Members of countercultures may engage in activities that challenge the norms and values of the dominant culture.

Countercultures can be seen as a form of rebellion against the status quo.

History of Survivalism

The origins of the modern survivalist movement in the United Kingdom and the United States include government policies, threats of nuclear warfare, religious beliefs, and writers who warned of social or economic collapse in both non-fiction and apocalyptic and post-apocalyptic fiction.

Survivalism gained popularity in the 1970s and 1980s, during the Cold War era, when the threat of nuclear war was at its peak.

Survivalists believed that the government would not be able to protect its citizens in the event of a nuclear attack, and therefore, they needed to prepare themselves for survival.

Characteristics of Subcultures and Countercultures

Subcultures and countercultures share some similarities, but they also have distinct characteristics.

Subcultures are often based on shared interests or lifestyles, while countercultures are based on opposition to the dominant culture.

Subcultures may be accepted by the larger culture, while countercultures are often seen as a threat to the dominant culture.

Members of subcultures may seek to integrate into the larger culture, while members of countercultures seek to change it.

Are Survivalists a Subculture or Counterculture?

Survivalists share a distinctive set of beliefs, values, norms, and practices that differ from those of the larger culture, which is a characteristic of subcultures.

However, survivalists do not necessarily oppose the dominant culture, which is a characteristic of countercultures.

While survivalists may be preparing for a collapse of society, they are not necessarily seeking to change it.

Therefore, it can be concluded that survivalists are a subculture rather than a counterculture.

Conclusion

Survivalists are a subculture of individuals or groups who proactively prepare for emergencies, such as natural disasters, as well as other disasters causing disruption to social order caused by political or economic crises.

Survivalism gained popularity in the 1970s and 1980s, during the Cold War era, when the threat of nuclear war was at its peak.

Survivalists share a distinctive set of beliefs, values, norms, and practices that differ from those of the larger culture, which is a characteristic of subcultures.

However, survivalists do not necessarily oppose the dominant culture, which is a characteristic of countercultures.

Therefore, it can be concluded that survivalists are a subculture rather than a counterculture.

Sources:

  • 2 Prezi: Survivalists-Counterculture by Steven Sedgwick
  • 1 Wikipedia: Survivalism
  • 3 Academia.edu: “Dropping Out and Bugging Out: Survivalists, Counterculture and the Architecture of Preparedness” by Lee Stickells