What group defines themselves by a rejection of the mainstream: Hip hop fans. The word cultural can be defined, at least theoretically, as a society’s standard for determining what is just and right in public life. In public life we include race, sex, religion, national origin, age, and disability. A hip-hop fan is one who consciously chooses to reject and mock everything mainstream while accepting that culture is just and necessary.
So, what group defines themselves through a rejection of the mainstream?
The group is cultural pluralists. They believe all aspects of public life are just and necessary (e.g., sexual minorities, lesbians, Jews, disabled people) as long as they don’t contradict each other. That’s a very nice way to describe some cultures, isn’t it? Or, put another way, cultural relativism regards what’s “right” as much as it regards what’s “wrong.”
Let’s use an example from The God Delusion. Jerry, agnostics, rejects modernity as an intrusion on his psychic territory. He also regards religion as a tool for controlling his emotions, which he calls “the crutch of freewill.” Here, Jerry’s position is not dependent on any set of absolute criteria; he just doesn’t participate in the prevailing culture, so he is not a member of the chosen few.
But, of course, Jerry is part of a very specific group: a cultural minority
According to the book, he belongs to what the cultural left identifies as the culture that “cherishes tradition above all else.” For the cultural left, cultural differences are not important, so long as everyone stays within the cultural boundaries established by the group. Thus, Jerry’s position is not cultural relativism, because he does not respect and attempt to understand other people’s differences. Instead, he relates his own personal beliefs and actions to those of the cultural majority, whom he sees as being virtuous.
A cultural minority, then, might be defined according to the criterion of universal human rights: the group’s members are to have the same cultural status and freedom that everyone else enjoys. Those who do not adhere to that standard cannot belong to that group. This group’s members are thus deprived of cultural privilege. It would be wrong to say, then, that what group defines themselves via a rejection of the norm depends on a set of criteria independent of the nature of the group itself. Such a view is not possible since no such group exists.
The fact is, then, that what group defines themselves via a rejection of the norm does so dependent on the nature of the social grouping to which they belong
In other words, it is dependent on the group’s culture. Groups can have different cultures, and each culture can contradict the others. Thus, a cultural minority might reject certain norms of another culture, even though both groups could still be members of a common cultural norm-the norms that, in effect, define the relationship between the two groups. This is why groups can vary in terms of their cultural norms, and why the definition of what group is a cultural norm can vary from one group to the next.
Thus, a social norm, or, more correctly, a cultural norm, is something that a group generally does and feels as if they do
A group’s members share a commitment to that social norm, but they also have differing expectations of how that norm should affect the way they act and feel. Thus, if the norm that a group admires is under attack from within their own group, that group may reject the attack on its norms, feeling as if its members have been unjustly accused of undermining the group’s moral character.
To avoid this problem, groups should always attempt to identify the social norms to which they are committed, both individually and collectively. When a group forms a social network, it is sometimes easy to tell what group the members perceive themselves to be committed to by the way they behave. For instance, a group that identifies as gay may often behave in ways that are in line with that community. However, a group that identifies as Muslims may often behave in ways that are not consistent with that community. Thus, it is important for groups to define the nature of the relationships they are looking to form within the larger context of their groups. Finally, when a group forms a social network, it is important for groups to look out for each other, especially when encountering members who are acting in ways that do not comport with the group’s communal norms.