Theoretical Framework for Deadhead Research (04:23)
Loyal fans of the eclectic rock band "Grateful Dead" are collectively known as Deadheads. A sociologist examines Deadhead subculture through a theoretical framework based on the ideas of social theorist Georg Simmel.
Persistence of the Subculture (03:31)
Deadhead subculture has continued to exist since the 1960s partly because the Grateful Dead symbolize the cultural revolution of that time. Early in their history the Grateful Dead and their fans interacted in specific ways that built a strong community.
The Parking Lot: A Portable Community (04:00)
The Deadhead community gathers, interacts, and sets up camp in parking lots at Grateful Dead concert venues. Vendors with various motivations sell food, clothing, and a myriad of other products in "the parking lot."
Freedom and Order in the Subculture (02:46)
Deadheads express a belief in personal freedom by using drugs and bucking mainstream social norms. Deadhead gatherings draw close police scrutiny but the Deadhead community also works to police itself and generate order from within.
Norms and Values of the Subculture (04:43)
Deadhead norms, values, and beliefs differ widely from those of mainstream society. Cooperation and individual freedom tempered by personal responsibility characterize the subculture. The drugs Deadheads use tend to be those popular in the 1960s.
Ticket to Paradise (03:16)
Deadheads often show up at concerts without tickets; altruistic members of the subculture distribute tickets to many of those who cannot afford them. For Deadheads a Grateful Dead concert affirms membership in the subculture.
Studying Popular Culture (03:36)
Social theorist Georg Simmel proposed that one social form does not exist in isolation of its opposing social form. A study of the Deadhead community reveals that social forms exist in a delicate balance within that subculture.
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