Welcome to the VICE UK Census
In which we get to know the UK through the people in it.
Photos: Chris Bethell
The days of subculture are over. What's the most recent one you can remember? A proper subculture, with a name and an aesthetic and a Daily Mail story about the genuine threat they pose to the children of the UK. Emo? New rave? Both of those are at least a decade old, put out to pasture in long-forgotten Myspace photos. There's nothing, is there? The Evening Standard tried to make "cutesters" and "New Lad" happen, but understandably they never really caught on.
Mind you, just because young people no longer fall into easily divisible brackets, that doesn't mean there are no identifiable social groups – you just need to look a little harder.
What many have understood as an age of mass-conformity is in fact an era of complex and overlapping social, political, cultural and religious allegiances. Experiences are shaped by party memberships, born from Facebook pages and ritualised in the workplace.
Over the past couple of months VICE has been speaking to people, aged anywhere between 13 and 30, from all over the United Kingdom. We've been asking them about their interests, their routines, their beliefs, their hopes and their fears. We've asked them how they feel about themselves, how they feel about each other and how they feel about the country they live in. From each group, we've invited one person to be photographed.
Think of these groups less as labels and more as lenses. The point of these articles is not to prescribe categories; instead, they're designed to profile the countless ways in which young people across the country see the world. How do city workers view contemporary Britain? What do kids obsessed with expensive trainers think the future holds? What, when you really get down to it, is life like for a goth in 2017?
This series seeks to give specific communities and groups the chance to talk about their lives in their own words, finding out what's important to them and painting a portrait of the UK through the lives and experiences of its young people.
Read the first instalment – Streetwear Kids – here.