The straight edge movement

Straight Edge is more to many adherents than just music, more than posing at a show: yet determining just what sXe is beyond the style andmusic is difficult. Straight edgers are a very diverse group whose members interpret and live the movement’s core values in a multitude of ways. In many ways, subcultures are individualistic, heterogeneous entities.Social movements are typically distinguished from subcultures by their more formal structure, lesser emphasis on style, and focus on political change. Movements are organized, last for a specific period of time, and typically work for change from outside the political system.The sXe movement has no headquarters, holds no meetings, and keeps no membership list. There is no charter, mission statement, newsletter, or formal set of rules. The movement recognizes no leaders, collects no dues, gathers few resources, and rarely challenges institutionalized politics. Yet sXers around the world agree on a set of fundamental principles of the movement and act accordingly. The core values of clean living, positive attitude, resistanceto social pressures, and community transcend national boundaries, despite Straight Edge’s complete lack of bureaucracy. At the heart of sXe,punk rock, and many other youth cultures is a quest for individuality and individual expression. Members define themselves against a mainstream society which enforces conformity, crushing individual thought and action. Straight edgers do not “participate” in the movement in ways scholars typically think of movement participation: strikes, picketing, signing petitions, lobbying, writing letters, joining and/or maintaining an activist organization, civil disobedience, and other common avenues of social protest. Bound loosely by a guiding collective identity and united in theircommitment, sXers customize their participation to meet their own interests and needs. Commitment to a meaningful identity is fundamental to a variety of forms of participation.

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