The concept of urban tribes is present enough in our everyday lives to describe it one more time. They are around us and we interact with them every day, which has gradually made the society begin to understand their dynamic and accept their existence.
That of accepting their existence, although this sounds intolerant, is a reality that can be understood if we go back 300 years, when a woman could be publicly executed because of belonging to a group of witches. But it was not until the 20th century when the first psychological studies and the concept of urban tribe appeared.
As a quick review of some of the most important theorists, in 1950 the sociologist David Riesman distinguished a major group of people who accepted commercially provided styles, and another group which actively looked for a minority style; all of this, talking about the hot jazz of that time. The search of this minority style is often found in opposition to the values of the predominant culture, although it is not always the case.
It is not strange to think that in the XX century, many years after the Industrial Revolution, the behaviour of these social groups became a target of research. Besides coming to offer a wide range of exclusive products to dress a specific group, marketing ended up generating images which took off.
Already in 1979, Dick Hebdige pointed out that the members of a subculture expressed their belonging through the choice of clothes and style, in times when the punk movement appeared in London streets. In this sense, marketing has become a fundamental ally when looking for common codes.
We are not going to say that the urban tribes are a total product of a specific commercial view. It is not difficult to imagine, in times when marketing did not exist as such, the first men who chose to cut their hair and thus became a part of the rebel group of “modern” men who went against the natural trend of having long hair. In the same way, we cannot talk about marketing when the first Scotsmen appeared wearing trousers.
In this capitalist hemisphere, the human being does not consume for basic needs. That is, if he eats it is because he is hungry; but then, he chooses what to eat, what to wear or what kind of music to listen to, according to his own personal patterns. Given our social and emotional nature, it is common for us to reaffirm our decisions with the decisions of others.
What marketing possibly introduces into this scenery is the common denomination. In times of the first men, when the glass replaced the stick as the creator of fire, the first hipsters appeared, that is, people who found in the technique of the stick a way of becoming separated from the mainstream movement that proposed to create fire with glass. However, this group was not denominated in any way and it was simply forgotten.
May be it is the consumption with sense that ends up giving a name to each consumer group. The thinking of this society is marketised. The groups appear and are quickly identified with exclusivity, by using the elements that the market makes available, or if not, by using the market to create elements in opposition.
One thing is certain. The need of the human being to look for an identity, a sense of existence, has naturally determined their choices through history. Marketing ends up being the logical consequence of this nature, providing the opportunities that we as beings have been looking for.
Not choosing, that is in itself a choice; even when we do not seek to belong to a group, we end up belonging to the group of those who do not seek belonging. Marketing has not given a name to this group yet, but if the tendency continues growing, soon it will be a minority and even it could be identified with a way of dressing.