Sociologists refer to subcultures as groups that reflect values, tendencies, interests, and activities that fall outside of the norm. We are likely familiar with subcultures as they have been profiled in notable feature films, on television shows, and in advertising and marketing campaigns. One of the most important ways in which subcultures have been introduced to us is through documentary film. Documentary filmmakers use the evocative and personal medium of film to express some of the insights that would otherwise be lost if we were to merely read about subcultures. Here, then, are 10 outstanding documentaries about subcultures.
10. Trekkies and Trekkies 2
Roger Nygard's Trekkies (1997) and Trekkies 2 (2004) offer a unique look at Star Trek fandom. His first film focuses mainly on the U.S. Trek scene, while Trekkies 2 illustrates the many instances of Trek fandom from around the world. Nygard's interviews with Trek fans show us the deep and personal connections that they feel with the legacies of the Star Trek world and its creator Gene Roddenberry. What is most significant about the films' expressions of subculture is the sense that we get that its members are not nerds, geeks, or people who need to "Get A Life" as William Shatner once famously joked; they are often dedicated people who take their oaths to the Federation seriously and who are involved in many noble social causes. In the end, Nygard's two documentaries humanize the misunderstood Star Trek community.
Scott A. Lukas has taught anthropology and sociology Lake Tahoe Community College for sixteen years and in 2013 was Visiting Professor of American Studies at the Johannes Gutenberg University of Mainz, Germany. He has been recognized with the McGraw-Hill Award for Excellence in Undergraduate Teaching of Anthropology by the American Anthropological Association (2005), the California Hayward Award for Excellence in Education (2003), and a Sierra Arts Foundation Artist Grant Program Award in Literary–Professional (2009). In 2006, he was a nominee to the California Community College Board of Governors. He is the author/editor of The Immersive Worlds Handbook (2012), Theme Park (2008), The Themed Space: Locating Culture, Nature, and Self (2007), Fear, Cultural Anxiety, and Transformation: Horror, Science Fiction, and Fantasy Films Remade, (co-edited with John Marmysz, 2009), Recent Developments in Criminological Theory (co-edited with Stuart Henry, 2009), and Strategies in Teaching Anthropology (2010). His book Theme Park was recently translated into Arabic. He appeared in the documentary The Nature of Existence and has provided interviews for To the Best of Our Knowledge, The Huffington Post UK, The Daily Beast, The Washington Post, and Caravan (India).