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A subculture is a group of people that exist within a wider or mainstream culture and which have a distinctive set of values, political ideals, fashions, tastes in art or music, lifestyles, rituals, religious or spiritual practices, social practices (use of narcotics, for example) or sexual practices and preferences. Many of these distinctive features of subcultures often get transferred to the mainstream culture often for commercial gain, which is then interpreted by the subculture as exploitation or "selling out".

Some subcultures show hostility towards the mainstream culture and are thought of as countercultures. For example, the counterculture movement of the late 1960s and early 1970s led by the Hippies in the United States and United Kingdom rejected the dominant materialism of Western culture, fought against the Vietnam War and for civil rights, gay rights and women's rights, but also exhibited their own subcultural practices: psychadelic rock music, use of marijuana and psychadelic drugs like LSD, pop art, interest in spirituality, astrology and occult ideas.