Introduction. The creation of the State labour reserves in the 1940s was accompanied by the formation of a specific socio-cultural environment that, to date, remains practically unexplored. At the same time, many elements of the subculture were quite distinct from the official image of a student formed by the labour reserves system.
Aim. To identify sociocultural markers, i.e. the most significant characteristics of the subculture, which make it possible to characterise the typical features of the official and informal portrait of students in the state labour reserves.
Methods. The study employed a subcultural approach that emphasised the commonality of intra-subcultural worldview foundations that perform a “fastening” function of integrating students of state labour reserves into a single and sustainable education. The study used: 1) historical-comparative and historical-system methods aimed at reconstructing the image of a student of the state labour reserves; 2) the synthesis of macro and micro approaches to historical research aimed at identifying the behavioural practices of an individual in a social group; 3) sociological research methods that allow revealing the content essence of the markers of the portrait of students, identified on the basis of the analysis of various sources (official documents, egodocuments, works of fiction, visual and other historical sources).
Results. Indicators are proposed for the reconstruction of the “formal” and “informal” portrait of students in the system of state labour reserves (1940-1950s) through the use of four categories of socio-cultural markers (socio-demographic characteristics, cultural values and mental characteristics, behavioural practices and appearance), allowing to recreate the image of students as representatives of the youth subculture in a more succinct manner.
Scientific novelty. The basis for the reconstruction of the socio-cultural portrait of students of the state labour reserves in the 1940s-1950s is presented in the optics of markers of “formal” and “informal”.
Practical significance. The results of the study can be applied in the study of the evolution of the system of vocational education.