Ivan Katkov, PhD.

Summary: the article outlines the issue of social-spiritual activities of young civil servants. The author proposes to consider the youth subculture as a significant element of society’s culture and as an indicator of its condition and renewal mechanism. The results of the research can be applied to the process of organizational culture design of the civil service.

The author specifies such concepts as socialization, gradual socialization and subculture. The functions of the youth subculture are characterized which provides ground for further functional analysis of this phenomenon.

Keywords: culture, subculture, youth subculture, social institutions.


Socio-scientific investigation of youth subcultures started in the mid-60s of the XX century in England (Center of contemporary cultural researches) and in the USA (Sociological University of Chicago) on the stream of studying youth deviation, place and role of youth subcultures in contemporary society culture. Later the scientists began to take youth cultures with a broader meaning differentiating them in accordance with the social activity spheres and social strata. Modern conceptions of scientific cognition more often take them as an important element of society culture.

With all the richness of its forms and types of culture acts as a regulator of social processes not only in society but also in social institutions, the basis of their stable functioning. One of the types  of current interest is organizational culture. It regulates relations within the organization on the basis of stable norms, rules, principles, positive and negative behavior patterns. Carriers of the organizational culture of public service are the employees themselves, whose moral qualities determine its status and the vector of further development.

In sociology theory culture is considered as a system. According to Pitirim Sorokin, as far as culture is not a complete holistic unity, it can be decomposed into its component elements forming the system integrity [Sorokin, 1992. P.20]. For half a century this idea was being actively developed by scientists.

As a result of researches subculture was highlighted as a significant element of cultural structure. However, still there is no generally accepted model of interaction between subcultures and society culture. The author makes an attempt to formulate the concept of subculture and a number of its specific functions as a dedicated part of the culture.

This subculture is seen as a set of ideas, values, beliefs inherent for a small social group necessary for its positioning in relation to other subcultures and culture in general. It inherits some of the values of its parent culture within which it originated. These values form the spiritual basis of the subculture and determinate future values of a specific stream representatives. Entering into a common culture, subculture also takes part in the implementation of its functions and specific functions. Further differentiation is made on the basis of values, value orientations and ways of their implementation to represent a specific youth subcultures.

  1. The indicator function of subculture is expressed in terms of the indicator of the state of public spheres (economic, political, spiritual). The very subculture does not reflect fully the depth of what is happening in society processes. However, the emergence of new subcultures or any changes in the status of such provide a signal reflecting changes in society. For example, the emergence of radical and extremist youth subcultures indicates that there are problems of self-realization and satisfaction of their spiritual needs in the context of generally accepted social norms. Young people are looking for new ways to develop their potential, including marginal examples of behavior.

As shown by author’s research, at the present time, according to 66,6% of the respondents, the problem of the existence of extremist and radical youth subcultures is important and requires urgent measures to deal with it: 31.4% agreed with the existence of the problem, but they do not find any situation requiring prompt intervention by the state*.

  1. Self-identity function is expressed through the group membership of the carrier of a certain subculture. As it is known, self-realization is the highest level of socialization, achieved due to its value-orientations such as spiritual, political, and social institutions. Since youth is the most socially active part of society in search of the ways for self-realization, it appeals to all available social organization that can satisfy this need.

Young people take a more active part in the political life of the country. An increasing number of youth political movements is the foundation for the emergence of youth political subcultures.

  1. Gradual socialization function is the process of assimilation of the required amount of spiritual values for the implementation of social life and activity, allowing you to contribute your personal potential through a certain subculture. Gradual socialization is expressed in the formation of new values, contributing to the further development of the individual. It involves, in particular, increasing of responsibility for their actions.

Positioning himself as a representative of any youth subculture is associated with entry into the social, political and economic relations, which is impossible without a certain level of responsibility and independence. The native youth subcultures different integrated into these relationships. Some subcultures are available only to youth with high material or spiritual level of development, while others are delinquent and marginalized.

Society largely focuses on marginalized youth subculture which is resulting in public opinion about the low spiritual level of their representatives.

  1. Positioning function of the individual contributes to the orientation of the representatives of subcultural trends in the sphere of social relations. In this case, the values are beacons on the basis of which the individual builds relationships and develops personal position in the social institutions and processes. Thus, the function contributes to both group and individual positioning of individuals united by common values regarding social norms, defining further the overall vector of socialization.
  2. Value rotation function is a subculture regardless of its form as the update mechanism of culture, protecting it from stagnation. Born subculture brings new values, gradually assimilate them. Over time, this leads to their dissolution in the conventional and well-established moral values norms and consciousness of individuals, enabling the rotation values.

As historical experience shows, subcultural ideas formed and established in the form of subcultural values and attitudes still exist in the form of ” ideas sputtered in the air”, which under the influence of social conditions can develop in new subcultural trends. The state should take into account this property subculture the development of state youth policy.

Youth subcultures, being a special kind of subcultures, perform a number of specific functions, namely:

– the adaptive function. Adaptation in society occurs through the adoption of social status, alleged  by subcultures;

– organizational function. Youth subcultures unite young people in order to combat external “aggressors” seeking to impose their will;

  • buffer function. Youth subcultures are a transitional stage from childhood to adulthood. Here subcultures appear in the form of a kind of niches that enables young people to realize themselves in a new status, thus is constant socialization of youth;
  • value-translational. Youth subcultures translate the values of the parent culture among the youth subcultural trends.

Most of young government civil servants under the age of 30 years  have a system of values and value orientations, a formed personal position in relation to other subcultures and cultures. Thus they organize youth subculture of civil servants of different directions.

Youth subcultures, according to Levtova S.I., implementing their functions, represent a very important mechanism that protects society from social explosions [Levikova, 2002. P. 150].

Culture is the basis of any social organizational activities. Developed with the contemporary requirements of the organizational culture of the state civil service is a necessary condition for a successful and constructive dialogue between civil society and authorities. Knowledge about the nature of functioning of subcultures within the organizational culture of the state civil service provides an in-depth analysis of its spiritual condition and helps to predict future trends for change in the civil service reform.


Levikova S.I.  The phenomenon of youth subculture. Dr. filos. Sci. diss. Moscow: Moscow state pedagogical university, 2002, 358 p.

Mankheim K. Selected: the culture sociology. Moscow: St. Peterburg, 2000.

Parsons T. About the structure of social action. Moscow, 2000.

Rutkevich M.N. The social structure. Moskow, 2004.

Sorokin P.A. Person. Civilization. Society. Moscow, 1992, 544 p.

Toshchenko Zh.T. Sociology thesaurus. Thematic dictionary. Moscow, 2009.

Turchinov A.I., Magometov K.O., Kononenko T.A. The sociological analysis of problems of personal policy and human resource management in the Russian organizations. Moscow, 2010.

Uledov A.K. Spiritual life of society. The problems of methodlogy of research. Moscow, 1980.


Youth subcultures. What to read?

The basics of working with the youth. Textbook, Moscow: Alpha-M, 2013. 219 p. The book examines the situation of youth as a social group of the Russian population. Such directions of youth policy are disclosed as health, development of physical culture and sports, prevention of social conflicts and extremism, as well as issues of a young family, information nets, fashion etc.  Special attention is paid to the social potential of the youth of rural areas. The textbook was prepared for students of higher educational institutions, students in the field of “Social work”, and “State and municipal management”.
Belenkij A.Yu. Monitoring of youth subcultures in Moscow/ [Belenkij A.Yu. And others: edited Gusev A.V., Bugaev A.V.]: Departament of youth and family politics in the Moscow city. Moscow, State budget institution of Moscow Youth center “Constellation”, 2012. 155 p. The book presents the data of sociological studies of youth groups in the city of Moscow.

*The research «Youth in modern Russia: topical spiritual and moral problems of civil servant» was held the Department of civil service and personnel policy Department of the Institute of public administration and personnel management” of the Russian Academy of national economy and public service under the President of the Russian Federation in 2012. As respondents (experts) there were 51 state civil servants with experience of over five years. The array is processed using the software package SPSS (17 version). The degree of correlation is 0.75.


Leave a Reply