Urban tribes in the passage of time

When the boom of social networks was just beginning, an act of intolerance arose that is still in the memory of many: the confrontation of urban tribes in Mexico.

In 2008, a call began to circulate on the Internet inviting other urban tribes to “exterminate” the emo community. The notice was spread through Facebook, My Space and YouTube where the main objective was to attack any person linked to the emo scene.

The aggressions began to occur in different states of porno the Republic, especially in Querétaro, where the National Council for the Prevention of Discrimination (Conapred) reported the agglomeration of more than a thousand young people in the Plaza de Armas to attack the emos.

Similarly, in the Glorieta de Insurgentes, in the then called Federal District, young people identified as dark, metalheads, skatos, pachucos, skaters and punks staged an aggression against almost 200 emo youths that finally ended due to police intervention.

The rise of these aggressions put in the media milf spotlight the issue of urban tribes, a socio-cultural phenomenon, which usually occurs in adolescence, when people seek to define their own identity, but at the same time demand a sense of belonging, to be part of a social group where they feel safe, motivated and in a comfort zone.

Specialists in sociology and anthropology agree that the aggressions against the emo movement were a clear sign of the intolerance, machismo and discrimination experienced by minorities in Mexico.

Others pointed out that the call on social networks was issued by Catholic, conservative and political groups, as a way to discredit the movement of any urban tribe and some claim that it was a smokescreen to disperse the attention on the political and economic situation of the country that year.

Due to these various theories, days later, the anti-emos, especially darks and punketos, filled the Mexico City subway cars to go to Insurgentes, unfurl a white flag and sign peace among all the urban tribes because they no longer wanted to be victims of discrimination.
Urban tribes in time

Urban tribes or subcultures appear in the world since the 50’s, most of them arise through a social historical movement. These groups coincide in specific social demands. For example, hippies demanded peace in a time of war, punks opposed the political and economic system, while emos sought equality.

At first, some urban tribes were associated with gangsterism, but over the years they were classified according to their lifestyle, musical tastes or simply fashion.

In Mexico, the boom of urban tribes occurred in 2008 with darks, cholos, goths, metalheads, skateboarders, skaters, punks and emos, but over the years more were added to the list: floggers, chacas, hipsters, rockabillys, otakus, cosplayers, lolitas, etc.


  • Pachucos: They emerged in the forties due to the border interaction between Mexicans and Chicanos. Their main characteristics were a taste for swing, danzón and mambo.
  • Punks: The punk style was the symbolic heart of the eighties generation, which had a greater following among certain young people. This youth culture was the first to insert itself into an identity that manifested its rejection of the social and cultural system. Spiky and colored hair, denim and leather, boots and chains symbolized the rejection of the system.
  • Cholos: This subculture had its origins among Mexicans in the border area of the country. They have an exaggerated aesthetic: bloomers, baggy t-shirts, tennis shoes and porrfilm, sometimes suspenders and bandanas.
  • Darks / Góticos: Their members listen to gothic rock. They wear dark clothes and have marked preferences for death and related themes.
  • Metalheads: Their appearance is similar to gothic or dark, but their main difference is that they have a predilection for listening to or playing music related to the metal genre or any of its variants.
  • Skaters: These young people are known for skateboarding, especially skateboarding, and some are also known for their graffiti or graffiti. Their clothing consists xxx of baggy clothes, baseball caps and large-soled tennis shoes.
  • Skaters: This urban tribe is a hybrid between skaters and those who like ska music.
  • Emos: Their name comes from the emotional accent they put on everything they do. The emos are people with a sad attitude, they wear black and tight clothes, as well as dark makeup around the eyes and bangs around the face.


  • Chakas: These are young people under 22 years of age who combine urban music with the use of religious accessories. Most of them are reggaeton lovers, in addition to having bizarre tastes as far as their wardrobe is concerned.
  • Hipsters: This group includes young people who tend to move away from the trends of the moment and profess a pro-nature thinking. They do not have a particular dress pattern, but they are perceived as bohemian style individuals with vintage accessories.
  • Rockabilly: Its name comes from the combination of two musical genres: rock and roll and hillbilly. Rockabillys are characterized by using attire, hairstyles or makeup typical of the 50’s or 60’s, such as pin up style on girls.
  • Otakus: This urban tribe originated in Japan, and groups people who are fond of Japanese comics (manga), Japanese cartoons (anime) and video games.
  • Cosplayers: It is a derivative of the otaku subculture; they usually replicate the clothing of manga, anime or video game characters of their choice. This practice is called cosplay (costume play), and is very common in thematic events or movie premieres.
  • Lolitas: They are an urban tribe native to Japan, but in America they have also gained popularity. It consists of groups of young girls who dress to look like a “flesh and blood doll”.

Do urban tribes still exist today?

Despite the passage of time, urban tribes have not completely disappeared. However, most of them have had a strong decline, which is attributed to the aggressions and discrimination suffered by these groups, as well as to the disinterest that arose among their own members, either because of boredom or emotional maturity.

Currently, new “subcultures” known as mirreyes, rockers, reggaetoneros, lobukis and godinez have been identified, although their designation is due more to pejorative terms that society attributes to certain social sectors whose habits or personal tastes coincide.

Even so, there is a debate among specialists, since many point out that an urban tribe is not the same as a nucleus of youth identity.

The main difference is that an urban tribe has established guidelines, such as a dress code, a common political or social ideology and some rules of coexistence among its members, while a youth identity core refers more to a group of young people whose identity coincides in the way they dress, have fun, musical tastes, etc., although they often do not get to live together in person.

For example, in recent years, youth has been divided by “taxonomy of generations”, such as millenials, centennials, generation z, or baby boom, whose interests are no longer primarily to obtain a sense of belonging, but tend to be more self-centered and seek a direct personal benefit, rather than belonging to a group.

Finally, as a society it would be important to understand that adolescents need to have their own identity and urban tribes can be a means that is part of that search, not without paying attention to the practices that young people may adopt, since some social groups can be a bridge to delinquency, drug addiction, alcoholism and other problems.

The passage through an urban tribe can be temporary, but for an adequate emotional maturity it is always necessary to have a good education and the accompaniment of a stable family that knows how to educate the youngest and instill positive values for their good emotional development.

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Gothic adolescents suffer increased risk of depression and self-injury

Adolescents who identify with the Gothic subculture may be at increased risk of depression and self-harm, according to a study by the University of Oxford (UK).

The research, published in The Lancet Psychiatry Journal, found that 15-year-olds who considered themselves Goth were three times more likely to be diagnosed with depression and five times more likely to self-harm at age 18 than adolescents who identified with other urban tribes. Even those who were not fully integrated into the Goth subculture were about twice as likely to develop depression.

Although other urban tribes, such as skateboarders, were also associated with depression and self-harm in adulthood, the highest rate was found in Goth adolescents. In contrast, young athletes were at the lowest risk.

The main author of the study, Dr. Lucy Bowes, pointed out that this is not a causal relationship, but that “some young goths may be more vulnerable”. Another of the study’s authors, Rebecca Pearson, from the University of Bristol (UK), said that “seen in another way, the number of young people who identify with the goth subculture may represent at-risk groups who feel isolated, excluded or stigmatized by society”.

The study analyzed data from the UK Avon Longitudinal Study of Parents and Children (ALSPAC) to select the more than 3,000 research participants. The young people had to fill in several questionnaires about depression, self-harm and about the different urban tribes they could identify with, such as jocks, skateboarders, rappers, nerds or posh kids, among others.
They do not follow the rules

One of the possible reasons why teenagers join the Goth subculture is because it is a community that does not follow the established norms. Pearson has explained that this urban tribe “welcomes marginalized people from all walks of life, even those with mental health problems.”

Thus, identification with the Goth subculture can be an indicator of depression and self-harm in adulthood, despite the fact that there are other factors that influence such as emotional and behavioral problems, psychiatric disorders, bullying and the mother’s mental health.

For his part, the professor from the University of Glasgow (United Kingdom) stated that “physicians should show interest in the Gothic subculture in adolescents” and “monitor and assess the risk of self-harm in young people”.

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The day emos and punketos faced each other in Mexico City; what was the reason?

In the mid-2000s several urban tribes emerged, among them the emos, which was formed by teenagers who were characterized by dressing in black with tight pants, belts with studs, in addition to using black eyeliner on their eyes which were covered by a fringe. Besides them, there were also the punketos, an urban tribe that, like the emo, wore black clothes and boots, as well as Mohawk hairstyles. The rivalry between both groups led them to confront each other on one occasion in Mexico City.

It was the year 2008 where you could see in the streets teenagers who were part of the urban tribe called emo, in those years you could hear on the radio and on TV music channels bands like My Chemical Romance, Pxndx, Fall Out Boy, Good Charlotte and many others that were in the taste of the emo.

On the other hand, the punketos, who were mostly made up of punks and darks, were also in their heyday.

Little by little, the emos attracted attention and more and more teenagers joined the urban tribe, but at the same time that they gained popularity, they were attacked on social networks where they received messages against them, this through platforms such as Hi5 or Metroflog, social networks that today can be compared to Facebook and Instagram.

Due to the attacks they were receiving against them, the emos decided to organize a meeting in one of the places that every weekend was visited by many of them, the Glorieta de Insurgentes, a place where emos spent their time listening to their favorite bands or practicing with their skateboards.

Through the Internet, a meeting was organized where emos were summoned to attend to make a call and ask for respect towards them. The day of the meeting arrived, at three o’clock in the afternoon, members of this urban tribe began to arrive at the Glorieta de Insurgentes. Although everything looked like it was going to be a peaceful demonstration, this did not turn out to be the case.

According to a report made by TV Azteca, a small group of young people belonging to the urban tribe of the punketos arrived at the place, although they were fewer than the emos, this did not prevent a confrontation between the two sides.


The punketos arrived at the Glorieta de Insurgentes to provoke the emos, who, tired of receiving violence against them, did not hesitate and began to attack the other young people throwing bottles and any object within their reach. Police officers arrived at the scene to try to calm things down, something they initially succeeded in doing.

As the minutes passed, the punketos were joined by metalheads and goths, who also attacked the emos with insults, so that once again and before the failed attempts of the police, the urban tribes clashed. On this occasion, the brawl between the urban tribes generated chaos in the Glorieta de Insurgentes.

Although the police also arrived at the site, who together with members of the police tried to stop the fight between the two urban tribes, nothing worked. At the Glorieta de Insurgentes, several young men in tube pants and bangs could be seen defending their ideology by throwing various objects and even kicking anyone who stood in front of them.

The confrontation was so big that some media even arrived to cover what was happening. The fight between emos and punketos seemed that it was not going to end, however, something managed to calm the blows and aggressions.

A group of krishnas, a group of people from a religious movement, entered the Glorieta de Insurgentes amidst praises and a call for peace. Before this, the confrontation ended, so little by little the youths entered the Insurgentes subway station.

Fortunately, another fight between emos and punketos did not happen again, but the confrontation caused surprise among Mexicans, and there were even some who laughed at the brawl.

Over the years, the emos disappeared, however, there are still many people who comment on social networks that although they no longer wear the characteristic clothing of the urban tribe, they still listen to the favorite bands of the emos and remember that time of their adolescence.

Categories: News