Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Urban Tribes in Madrid | Madrid travel blog

Madrid urban tribes

Urban tribes are not new, but a very fashionable tendency. In fact, they date back hundreds years: concretely to the 18th century in Madrid, where there have been some references identifying them in paintings by Goya or Atienza.

Urban tribes are made up by groups of people – usually young, with a distinct common identity: the same aesthetic codes, the same identity symbols, the same rules, the same language, the same music… A whole ideology! We can find them in any Spanish city, but they are usually concentrated in the big cities like Madrid or Barcelona.


There are tribes with many different ideologies: right-wing, left-wing, non-political or against globalization. Some of them are nearly extinct, and others in full expansion. But all of them are ruled by it own ideology. It is estimated that in Madrid alone there coexist more than fifteen tribes. They usually meet in central, commercial or nightlife areas.

There are some people who associate urban tribes with violence. In fact, there are some of them which are linked to incidents, brutal attacks and social problems; but not all of them conform to these assumptions. Many of them are inoffensive, because they don’t pursue a political ideology, but they share the same aesthetic or musical tastes.

Madrid urban tribes list:

Skin Heads: they were born in England in the 60s to combat nationalism. Soon they diverged into two groups: the extreme right-wing and the extreme left-wing, and which became strong enemies. In Spain they sympathize with the extreme right-wing, their figures and their symbols. They are a violent, xenophobic and homophobic group who wants to eradicate these collectives. They share the same aesthetics, which the most representative point is their shaved hair. They wear nylon jackets, Nazi emblems and military boots with steel toecaps.

Gothics: they were born in England between the 70s and the 80s. They share the same style, musical and cultural dark tastes. Their aesthetic focuses on the colour black: Both their clothes and their makeup are black. Their favourite music styles are the Gothic rock and death rock among others. They love death and everything associated with obscurantism, but they are not a violent group. On the contrary, this tribe pleads for the tolerance and the diversity.

Punks: they are known as anti globalization groups. The Punk was born in the late 70s in the UK. The punks are an anarchistic group: they are against capitalism, neoliberalism and consumerism. As with other tribes, they share some specific music and fashion styles. They wear used clothes, mostly black (combined with other explosive colours). It is usually broken, patched and adorned with logos of punk bands and anti-repression slogans. Normally they have shaved hair with a mohawk or coloured crest which denotes social status. Their favourite musical bands are The Ramones, The Clash o the Sex Pistols. Experts consider them genuine urban guerrillas because of their continued fights against the police.

Bakalaeros: they have as common hobby the Bakalao music. They have a similar style to the skinheads, but they wear their hair like a mushroom, a bit longer on the top and shaved on the sides. In addition, they prefer sports shoes to military boots. They are not violent, but they usually take drugs to support the hard pace of the “Ruta del Bakalao”.

Heavies: beyond their devotion to heavy music, this tribe has its own way of dressing, its own jargon, and even its own symbols. But a real heavy bases its attitude in a strong camaraderie sense to its social group and in a devotion to heavy metal music. They wear black t-shirts with their favourite music bands emblazoned on them. A distinctive symbol is their long hair. The former images of heavy metal followers, anti-social and dangerous drug taking addicts are now buried in the past.

Emos: this tribe has recently emerged with a great force, especially among the teenagers. Usually dressed in black, with painted lips and eyes, they look very androgynous. They are usually depressed and hate life in general, which to them is worthless and meaningless. The “emo” term comes from ‘emotional’. It originated in the 80s hardcore and punk music. Their present songs have added sentimental, sad and suicidal messages. They are not dangerous to other people, but maybe they are to themselves because of their suicide tendency.

Rappers: they love rap and hip-hop music. They have a peculiar style: they wear wide, baggy clothing, sports shoes, peaked caps and earrings. Many are linked to the graffiti world and they consider themselves artists and the city walls are their canvas. They usually have their own greetings and special handshakes.

New Mods (“Poperos”): this is a large group of young people which can be found in the nightclubs of the major Spanish cities. They are middle class people without a common ideology. Each one professes its own ideals, but they share the same dress sense – they love the 60s and retro clothes especially tweed suits, etc. They also have a love for the same music.

The urban tribes have always been there, along with and social trends and movements. Some have gained a reputation while others have lost it, but they have never stopped existing. They are a reflection of what they love or what they hate and of their own instincts. Travel to Madrid and discover them! Rent Madrid Apartments for the best accommodation.

If you belong to any other tribe leave us a post and we will write about it!

Posted via web from barcedona's posterous

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