Scene (folklore)

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A scene is a social network in the form of a recreational socialization space that is condensed by people's common interests, beliefs, preferences or tastes .

Word origin

The word “ scene ” in the sense of this term is more recent. Greek σκηνή, ancient Greek skené , the hut, the tent 'is originally only a structural part of the theater , later a stage in the more general sense, then a section (elevator, curtain) of a play. The meaning of “that what” or “where something is happening” for subcultural circles and their activity did not emerge until the late 1960s and is likely to be of Hamburg origin. For the “jazz and fun musicians” of Hamburg, which included Otto Waalkes and Udo Lindenberg , there is the expression “ Hamburg scene ”. 1973 the city magazine Szene Hamburg (Klaus Heidorn) appears. In 1977 the word was declared the word of the year in Germany - the second such choice after rebelliously in 1971.

The term is closely connected with the Anglicism insider (English for "member, affiliate, initiated") "participant in a scene" - literally "the one who is within". Bohème can be viewed as a conceptual historical precursor (French from Middle Lat . Bohemus “the bohemian ”, “gypsy”), out of date for the artistic circles of the Belle Époque .

As a result, the expression, “staging”, originally also from the theater language in the sense of performance practice and choreography of the performances, now means “to present oneself”. “Scene” also loses the subcultural annotation and becomes an expression for the public life of high society , the celebrities .

Usage of the term today

Since the 1990s, the concept of the scene has been understood to mean a network of people and groups of people who community through a common aspect of life. A scene in this understanding is a “form of loose network; a network in which an indefinite number of people and groups of people involved come together. "

Scenes are modern instances of socialization that enable the mostly young actors to create an identity more easily. From this point of view, scenes have to interactively build up and stabilize the socializing function, identity, competencies and relevance hierarchies permanently (ie beyond the period of the scene communitarization).

“[The origin of the scene formation lies in] the search for clarity, for clues, for cognitive security in an increasingly confusing situation. People counter the constantly threatening chaos with simplistic structural concepts. Scenes, everyday aesthetic schemes, [...] are attempts to orientate oneself in a social reality that is difficult to understand. "

- Gerhard Schulze quoted from Klaus Janke and Stefan Niehues

Scenes like this arise "where people voluntarily develop common interests, values ​​and leisure activities or simply find the same consumer item beautiful."

Scene structure

Scenes can be chosen and entered 'voluntarily', they are global and socially open. There are no standardized memberships, no restrictions on participation and no provisions for or against joining or leaving. Significant for the creation of a common cultural basis in the form of supraregional, national or even global scenes is the increased mobility and interactivity of those involved in the scene since the 1980s.

Hitzler and Niederbacher describe scenes as cloudy, fog-like structures that, when viewed from the outside, have clear structures, but when viewed from the inside, there is uncertainty about one's own position in the respective scene.

“As a result of these structural properties, we understand scenes as prototypical forms of society for individualized and v. a. of juvenile people in societies in transition to a 'different' modernity. Its prototypical character is evident on the one hand in the fact that the number of original scenes is steadily growing [...] and on the other hand in the fact that togetherness in conventional communities is increasingly taking on symptomatic elements of post-traditional communalization.

- Hitzler and Niederbacher: Life in Scenes.

Socialization room

Scenes are considered to be modern institutions of socialization, which in second modernity are gaining importance compared to traditional socialization institutions, such as church or political organizations, youth associations, clubs, training centers or the family. In these traditional 'socialization agencies', values and identity patterns are therefore less sought after than in the respective scene. Even though the scene is primarily a form of socializing for young people, today it can no longer be reduced to the adolescent phase of life. Increasingly, there are also adults with age who "have a youthful understanding of themselves (in the sense of a cultural interpretation pattern that is connoted with ideas of creativity, spontaneity, dynamism or communicativity, etc.").


Scenes have a thematically specific framework. They can therefore be traced back to a central theme, which can be understood as a community aspect of the scene and which the scene-goers have focused on. Oriented on this subject relating habitualized similarities between the in-crowd in setting preferences and actions. The topics vary in the respective scenes. B. a music style, a worldview, certain consumer goods or a special style. Scenes therefore offer young people in particular like-minded friends who, in an individualized society, can hardly find them in traditional socialization institutions. The community is voluntarily chosen by the individual based on a focus of interest and corresponds to personal preferences. Thus scenes have the function of a community of beliefs. "What [...] all scene-shaped structures have in common is that they hardly convey (all) areas of life and life situations overarching certainty or claim to be binding". Although scenes can be entered simply through the underlying interest in the central topic and in the scene, full participation can only be achieved through the "acquisition and competent application of typical cultural 'know-how'". This complete appropriation and application thus also includes the temporary and local area beyond the scene and also takes place in 'private' everyday life.

The importance and creation of similarities

The communicative creation of similarities can involve a comprehensive appearance. The assurance of commonality, however, can also be strongly coded. Sometimes even in such a way that it only contains symbols that can be recognized by those familiar with the coding, such as the X in the straight-edge scene.

In a scene, the individual actors do not necessarily know each other personally. They act in their existing groups , but some of these are networked with other groups and open to other groups and groups in the scene. Meanwhile, the groups and their individual actors see themselves not only as a separate group, but also as part of the scene. Through communication and interaction with other scene actors in the scene, the actors also define themselves as part of the scene. This communication and interaction between the groups can be reduced to scene-specific impression management .

“While communication intensifies within groups, it is comparatively low between the groups. Nevertheless, it is precisely the communication between the groups that makes the scene. "

- Hitzler and Niederbacher: Life in Scenes, p. 20

The existence of scenes is linked to the constant communicative creation of similarities (symbols, signs and rituals) on the part of the scene-goers. Through these commonalities created, the scene-goers make sure that they belong to the scene. In this way of reassurance, on the one hand they collectively generate the scene and on the other hand their social position in the scene and in society. "Above all in this sense, a scene can be understood as a network of people who share certain material and / or mental forms of collective (self-) stylization and who stabilize, modify and transform these commonalities communicatively." Scenes are constituted by carefully chosen externalities, which are subordinate to the catalog of values ​​of the respective scene. Thus the community-creating symbols, signs and rituals are charged with the values ​​of the scene and represent the catalog of values ​​of the respective scene. The "X" of the straight edge scene or the ring of the O in the BDSM scene are meanwhile heavily coded scene signals. Other signals can be generated by certain brand names, items of clothing, costumes or hairstyles, among other things.

Beyond a few scenes, which “strictly and exclusively determine the lives of their members”, scene actors are usually only temporarily involved in a scene event. Education, family, job and other scenes also take up time. During the time of this commitment to other areas of life, the awareness of belonging to the scene is only subliminal. Therefore the we-consciousness is sequentialized for and in a scene.

Social rooms and networks

Supraregional meeting rooms are often special events such as the Wacken Open Air for the metal scene .

As a recreational socialization space, a scene also requires social spaces and times. Primarily, specific meeting points are understood as such social spaces. These meeting places can be formal or informal. At the meeting points, on the one hand, the culture of the scene is manifested and reproduced, on the other hand, the subjective feeling of belonging to the scene is established here. Since scenes exist as global phenomena, the scene-goers are mostly only familiar with the local to regional meeting places. Cross-regional meeting points are usually less familiar. In contrast, events can have a supra-regional, national or international character. These organized events include various entertainment offers that are “compiled or synthesized according to aesthetic criteria typical of the scene, which ideally results in an interactive spectacle that is usually accompanied by the claim to offer the participants a 'total' experience”. In most scenes, especially with regard to these events, there is a tendency towards commercialization, which often emanates from the scene-goers themselves. The organization and design of events, scene-specific meeting points, virtual platforms or scene media, etc. also serve the scene-goers as a space for experience and development. In particular, social, creative and organizational skills are taught here. From this development, regional 'organizational elites' can develop, which structure scene meeting points and produce events. These 'organizational elites' fulfill the function of a scene motor in the scenes. In addition to the structuring and production activities, these organizers are most likely to network with other 'organizational elites'. In a scene, several networks with different central points are formed, which are primarily structured, produced and designed by the 'organizational elites'. Scenes thus “consist of several networks, which of course are in diverse, partly direct, partly mediated contacts.” Scene-goers, groups, actors and organizational elites are therefore in a loose association with no clear boundaries to one another or to the outside world.

"It is precisely such a blurring or such openness and permeability that defines scenes."

- Hitzler and Niederbacher: Life in Scenes, p. 24


In contrast to the term peer group , a scene comprises an entire network of actors and groups and thus more than a direct reference group. In addition, the actors in a scene can differ in knowledge, ability and decision-making powers with regard to the scene, while the term peer group presupposes the principle of equality.
In contrast to class , stratum or status ( social milieu ), a scene is not in a hierarchical relationship to other scenes, but the various scenes are conceived side by side; In contrast to social theories of class, class or status, which deal with a vertical structure of society, the model of the scenes deals with a horizontal one.
In the sociological demarcation from the subculture , the aspects of communalization, albeit of immanent importance, are only selective and not encompassing life, so that the norms of the main culture also remain. Nevertheless, in colloquial usage the terms subculture and scene are often used synonymously.

See also


  • R. Hitzler among others: Life in Scenes. Forms of young people's community today. Leske + Budrich, 2001, ISBN 3-8100-2925-4 .
  • Harald Keller, Reiner Wolf (Ed.): "Hyde Park" -Memories. An Osnabrück music club and its history (s). Oktober Verlag, Münster 2011, ISBN 978-3-941895-16-4 .

Individual evidence

  1. a b c d e f g h Klaus Janke, Stefan Niehues: Really crazy. The youth of the 90s . 4th edition. CH Beck, Munich 1996, ISBN 3-406-37481-6 , pp. 17-23 .
  2. Christopher Twickel: Shops, sheds, bars . Edition Nautilus, 2003, ISBN 3-89401-425-3 , pp. 5 f . Quotations from : Christopher Twickel: Szene Hamburg → Quotes: The concept of the scene. In: The single generation. Or: the generational debate and the single society. Bernd Kittlaus, July 7, 2005, accessed January 28, 2009 .
  3. Quoting literally Twickel: shops, sheds, kaschemmen . 2003, p. 5 (quoted from Kittlaus, 2005).
  4. ^ Translation of LEO , January 28, 2009.
  5. a b c d e f g h i j Ronald Hitzler, Arne Niederbacher: Life in Scenes. 3rd, revised edition. VS Verlag 2010, ISBN 978-3-531-15743-6 , pp. 15-31.
  6. Ronald Hitzler, Arne Niederbacher: Life in Scenes . 3rd, revised edition. VS Verlag 2010, ISBN 978-3-531-15743-6 , p. 15.
  7. Ronald Hitzler, Arne Niederbacher: Life in Scenes . 3rd, revised edition. VS Verlag 2010, ISBN 978-3-531-15743-6 , p. 16.
  8. Ronald Hitzler, Arne Niederbacher: Life in Scenes . 3rd, revised edition. VS Verlag 2010, ISBN 978-3-531-15743-6 , p. 14f.
  9. Ronald Hitzler, Arne Niederbacher: Life in Scenes . 3rd, revised edition. VS Verlag 2010, ISBN 978-3-531-15743-6 , p. 21.
  10. Ronald Hitzler, Arne Niederbacher: Life in Scenes . 3rd, revised edition. VS Verlag 2010, ISBN 978-3-531-15743-6 , p. 17.
  11. Ronald Hitzler, Arne Niederbacher: Life in Scenes . 3rd, revised edition. VS Verlag 2010, ISBN 978-3-531-15743-6 , p. 18.
  12. Ronald Hitzler, Arne Niederbacher: Life in Scenes . 3rd, revised edition. VS Verlag 2010, ISBN 978-3-531-15743-6 , p. 20.
  13. Ronald Hitzler, Arne Niederbacher: Life in Scenes . 3rd, revised edition. VS Verlag 2010, ISBN 978-3-531-15743-6 , p. 17.
  14. Ronald Hitzler, Arne Niederbacher: Life in Scenes . 3rd, revised edition. VS Verlag 2010, ISBN 978-3-531-15743-6 , p. 22.
  15. Ronald Hitzler, Arne Niederbacher: Life in Scenes . 3rd, revised edition. VS Verlag 2010, ISBN 978-3-531-15743-6 , p. 24.
  16. Ronald Hitzler, Arne Niederbacher: Life in Scenes . 3rd, revised edition. VS Verlag 2010, ISBN 978-3-531-15743-6 , p. 24.