A counterculture (also written counter-culture) is a
Some scholars have attributed the counterculture to
Scholars differ in the characteristics and specificity they attribute to "counterculture". "Mainstream" culture is of course also difficult to define, and in some ways becomes identified and understood through contrast with counterculture. Counterculture might oppose mass culture (or "media culture"), or middle-class culture and values. Counterculture is sometimes conceptualized in terms of generational conflict and rejection of older or adult values.
Counterculture may or may not be explicitly political. It typically involves criticism or rejection of currently powerful institutions, with accompanying hope for a better life or a new society. It does not look favorably on party politics or
Cultural development can also be affected by way of counterculture. Scholars such as Joanne Martin and Caren Siehl, deem counterculture and cultural development as "a balancing act, [that] some core values of a counterculture should present a direct challenge to the core values of a dominant culture". Therefore, a prevalent culture and a counterculture should coexist in an uneasy symbiosis, holding opposite positions on valuable issues that are essentially important to each of them. According to this theory, a counterculture can contribute a plethora of useful functions for the prevalent culture, such as "articulating the foundations between appropriate and inappropriate behavior and providing a safe haven for the development of innovative ideas".
Typically, a "fringe culture" expands and grows into a counterculture by defining its own values in opposition to mainstream norms.[
According to Sheila Whiteley, "recent developments in sociological theory complicate and problematize theories developed in the 1960s, with digital technology, for example, providing an impetus for new understandings of counterculture". Andy Bennett writes that "despite the theoretical arguments that can be raised against the sociological value of counterculture as a meaningful term for categorising social action, like