In this article a detailed description is given of the subculture of a group of socially-excluded boys in The Netherlands. The relevance of some classical theories on youth subculture is assessed for understanding the lifestyles of today’s disadvantaged youth, especially in a developed welfare state. The subculture of the boys is not only an adaptation to their disadvantaged position, but is also an autonomous factor in its reproduction. However, whereas in the 1970s, according to Willis, the subculture of resistance prepared the lads for lower-class jobs, nowadays these boys derive their identity, hopes and masculinity mainly from industrial manual jobs of the past. Four factors are distinguished that are relevant to understand the boys’ lifestyle choices: considerations of prestige among the boys, their relations with dominant institutions, the relations between the boys’ age groups and the reactions of relevant adults to the behaviour of the boys.